The Basics of Peruvian Paso Horses
Gaited horses are gradually gaining popularity in the horse community. Gaited horses such as the Peruvian Paso provide riders with a smoother ride and are known for having good temperaments. These horses are a popular choice with older riders or riders who's physical health problems, such as back and leg pain, may have been keeping them out of the saddle.
The Peruvian Paso is a medium-sized horse breed, known primarily for their unique four-beat paso llano and sobreandando gaits, which are performed in place of the trot. The paso llano is a slower, more ambling four beat. The sobreandando is faster and can be used to cover a significant amount of ground in a fairly short amount of time. The Peruvian Paso's gait is naturally occurring and should not require special training to accomplish. These gaits are smoother than the trot and do not jar the rider.
What Can a Peruvian Paso Do?
Peruvian Paso horses can perform virtually any task that a non-gaited horse performs, with varying degrees of success. The factors that limit a horse's ability to perform and excel at a specific event are often physical. Athleticism, talent, conformation and disposition all play large roles in any horse's capabilities.
Can Peruvian Paso horses compete in reining? They certainly can, however, the amount of success a Peruvian Paso will have in reining competitions will depend on the skill of the horse, the skill of the rider and the venue in which the team is competing. The North American Peruvian Horse Association and a number of smaller breed association chapters host horse shows specifically designated for competition using Peruvian Paso horses. Reining classes that occur in these shows are the most likely place where Peruvian Pasos can thrive at the sport.
On a larger scale, Peruvian Paso reiners have their work cut out for them. American Quarter Horses and breeds that are similar to the Quarter Horse have dominated reining for most of the sports history. Many times, reining competitions and Quarter Horse events go hand-in-hand. Judges who are unfamiliar with the Peruvian Paso's unique movements and gaits may penalize horse and rider teams for their less traditional performance and style. However, that is not to say a Peruvian Paso cannot succeed on the worldwide reining circuit. It will depend almost entirely on the horse's individual talent, training and rider's skill level.
Teaching a Peruvian Paso horse reining techniques can be quite a challenge. However, detailed experience from a professional trainer can help even the novice horse rider.
Training a Peruvian Paso to Rein
Horse training s a challenging, ever-changing concept. Training methods often vary widely from one trainer to the next and training methods that work on one horse and rider may be a complete loss on another. The most important part of training any horse to rein is finding an experienced professional horse trainer who specializes in the discipline and who's teaching style matches the horse and rider's learning style.
Even the most experienced riders, and even most trainers, have trainers or colleagues who offer assistance and perspective from the ground level. Trainers can often spot a problem that the rider may not be aware of or may have lost track of while focusing their attention on a different issue. The ideal reining trainer for a Peruvian Paso will be someone who has experience with both reining and Peruvian Pasos. Ideally, the trainer will have several other students working towards and succeeding at the same goals that a prospective student wants to accomplish.
Factors that Affect Reining Success
An important issue in determining how can Peruvian Paso horses compete in reining is the likelihood of the individual horse and rider's success. Novice riders commonly overlook the individual horse and rider team's realistic chances of success at the discipline. Reining is a challenging, fast paced event that requires riders to have a certain level of experience and talent in order to succeed. Reining horses are well-balanced, quick moving athletes with good conformation. Horse and rider should be well suited to one another in both personality and skill in order to succeed in reining competitions.
While it is possible to train any Peruvian Paso horse to rein, it is unfair to ask a horse who is poorly suited for the task to attempt to train and compete in an event. A slightly clumsy horse with less than perfect conformation may be a wonderful trail mount, but attempts to teach a horse who is physically less capable of performing certain movements to perform those movements often leads to frustration and discouragement for both the rider and the horse. A good trainer will be able to tell a rider if their horse is well suited to the event, and can assist in selecting and purchasing a Peruvian Paso reining prospect that stands a good chance at becoming a successful reining competitor.
Rider capability is also an issue. Reining is a fast sport requiring lightning quick precision and skill. Even the best reining horse will not succeed if the rider is off balance, can not guide the horse through the pattern properly or simply does not have the skill level to adequately compete. Once again, a good trainer can help sort these issues out ahead of time and work to correct them during lessons and training.