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Central States Peruvian Show


By Shelby Louwerens

The Central States Peruvian Horse Club held their 45th Anniversary Show at the Paul Battle Arena in Tunica, Miss. on May 18-19. The show featured 44 different classes, including Bozal, Equitation, Breeding, Pisos and Performance classes. The judge for the show was Ed Houston, who has judged horse shows since 1976.           
Awards were given for first through fifth place in each class. The grand prize, which went to the winner of the Ultimate Horse Award, was a Peruvian show/trail saddle and Peruvian Head Set, valued at over $2,000.

The Peruvian Paso, not to be confused with the Paso Fino, is known for its distinct gaited rhythm known as pisos, with “termino,” a desirable swimming motion in the forelegs. Unlike the Paso Fino’s short, quick gait, the Peruvian Paso is judged based on its long forward strides. Pisos is the Peruvian’s natural gait, and termino is a trait that is desired in the breed, though discouraged in a Paso Fino. The Paso Fino and Peruvian Paso are such different breeds that the only real similarity they share is the word “paso” in their name. For the Peruvian Paso, there are two distinct divisions that qualify for championships and showcase their breed-specific qualities.

For the Peruvian Paso, the two major divisions are Breeding and Pleasure. The Breeding division showcases a Peruvian’s inherited qualities.

“In the breeding division, we look for horses’ skeleton structure, muscle tone, function and form,” Houston said. “A good horse in the Breeding division is between 14-14.2 h, has a low tail set, horizontal front shoulder, and vertical pelvis.”

Several subclasses under the Breeding division include Halter, In Bit, Under Saddle and Luxury Gelding. This division is the only one seen in the Peruvian’s birthplace of Peru.

The Pleasure division, an American creation, is more complex for both participants and judges. The judges are called to base their scores on not only the horse, but of the equitation and performance of the rider as well. While in the Breeding division the horse is only required to move in two directions around the arena, the Pleasure division requires that the horses are capable of making proper balanced circles, figure eights and stops in a calm, collected manner.

“I look for smoothness, fluid motion between horse and rider. It needs to be a calm horse,” Houston said. “Most important is the gait.”

The rider is also judged, based on having a balanced, quiet seat and hands that maneuver with seemingly effortless control.

The Pisos class is based entirely on the Peruvian’s gait, the most distinct aspect of the breed, termino, and smoothness.

The results of the Peruvian Paso Central States Championship are posted on: For more information on Peruvian show classes and judging, go

For more information on the difference between Peruvian Pasos and Paso Finos, go to:

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