Peruvians are a pure Spanish breed and due to the geographical isolation of Peru, have had no outcrosses with any other breed for hundreds of years. They are descended from the Spanish horses brought to Peru by Pizarro. If you are interested in the history of the breed here are the links to a couple of good articles: History of the Peruvian Paso Horse by Adele von Rust McCormick. Ph.D. http://www.therapyhorsesandhealing.com/history.html
The Peruvian is a naturally gaited horse. That means that none of the gaits are obtained by training or any artificial means like heavy shoes, ankle chains, stretchies, etc. The gaits of the Peruvian horse are the walk, the Paso Llano (an even, lateral 4-beat gait), the Sobreandando (also a lateral 4-beat gait, but the timing is not even and the gait is faster), the Huachano (a true pace), the canter and gallop. Most Peruvians can (and do!) trot but it is not done under saddle.
The Peruvian horse is not a big horse, the breed standard is between 14.2 and 15.2 hands; there are some Peruvians that are smaller than 14.2, but very, very few larger than 15 hands. Peruvians generally have heavier necks than most horses of similar size, the tail set is lower, the depth of the body should be equal to the length of the legs, and the circumference of the back rib is larger than the heart girth.
The gait of the Peruvian horse is unique in that most horses display termino
. The front leg moves slightly outward as it moves forward (imagine the motion of your own arm if you were swimming). Some Peruvians have a lot of termino
, some don't have much at all. Many people confuse termino
with "paddling" or "winging" which are due to conformational faults. Termino
is a motion that originates in the shoulder of the horse - it is NOT due to any conformational faults. Unlike the Saddlebred the hind legs of the Peruvian should display little, if any, up and down hock action.
Here's a nice video of the gait. The lovely dark palomino has a lot of termino
. Just beautiful! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c08FxWkdzWE