By: Danielle Rosia
If you’re looking for a break away from the city and the typical Stampede activities this weekend, in less than an hour you can take the scenic drive South on Hwy 2 to Claresholm for the July 11-13 Wild West Classic Peruvian Horse Show. You’ll find the Claresholm Ag Grounds just on the right hand side where you can watch the beautiful Peruvian Paso’s compete for the title of “Champion of Champion”.
If you make it down, here are a few quick facts to help get you for your first time watching the beautiful Peruvian Paso’s.
The Breed: Originating from Peru, the Peruvian Paso is a hot-blooded horse used to check on the livestock throughout the mountainous terrain. One of the most loved traits of the Peruvian is their temperament (brio) which is their presence and willingness to please.
Tack: They are shown in the traditional Peruvian tack. The headset consists of a halter, tapa ojos and bridle. Attached to the saddle is a crouper to keep the saddle from sliding forward, a tail piece called the guarnicion which is more for show and retruncas. The retruncas are the pieces of leather that hang down by the horses back legs which were originally used to help keep the sugar cane out from between them.
Showing: At the Peruvian Horse Shows, the horses are judged on a variety of different elements ranging from their natural gait, conformation, willingness, responsiveness, and presence to name a few. Aside from in the Novice classes, they are not allowed to have any shoes on that could “enhance” their gait, with the Peruvians, it truly is all natural.
What to look for: You may get dizzy watching the horses go around the ring trying to figure out how the judge is making his decisions if don’t know what to look for.
-Gait: which is called “paso llano” this may look slightly different depending on the conformation of each horse. Until you are used to watching for the gait, try to listen for a distinct, even set of 4 beats as the horses pass by you one at a time.
-Reach: watch for how much reach the back legs have. Until your eyes get used to watching for this, try standing at the rail and look down at the feet as they pass you by.
-Willingness: how willing and smooth they are at handling various maneuvers: back up, side pass, cones, figure 8’s, etc is also important.
-Speed: along with willingness, how they handle different speeds while remaining in gait will be something to watch for.
Now that you’ve got a starting point, you’re ready to watch your first Peruvian show! Intermingled with the more competitive classes, we will also entertain you with some novelty ones such as the “Champagne Stakes”. This one really demonstrates how little bounce these horses have… we’d hate to waste even a single drop!
We have been raising Peruvians here at “New Horizon Peruvian Horses” for over 25 years and as you can probably tell, we love our breed! We are always more than happy to visit and answer any questions you may have.