Please, if I may I would like to ask a very genuine question and I'd also like to request that it be a civil discussion on excessive white in the Peruvian horses of today. Personal preferences and long standing traditions are involved and I know it can sometimes be a heated topic. I am not at all trying to start an arguement, I am just trying to learn something that I have not yet found enough information on my own to feel satisfied with my conclusions.


  None of what I'm about to say is based on any proven facts that I have, but only based on what I've seen, and been told. Traditionally, Peruvians in the showring as well as the breeding sheds are preferred to have minimal white markings. Broken star, strip, snip markings, and low (if any) white markings on the legs, and no body white patches. I have noticed most male horses with excessive white are geldings, and most mares are lower priced that those with minimal white. Indicating it is a flaw or an undesired triat.


  However, within the past several months I have seen an increase in large blazes, even extending to the bottom lip and chin, high and trailing/tracing white on the leg(s), and even some with some body splashes. Roan gene aside. I have read of a historic Peruvian breeder in Peru who had a herd of Peruvians that were well known to have the excessive body white. From what I read, he was well respected, and had very good horses. Though, I have also read that many did not approve of the excessive white and frowned on it in the show ring.


  I, personally have no problems with the excessive white as I feel it has no true bearing on the quality of the horse itself. White, neither the presence of nor the lack of has anything to do with the gait, pisos, conformation, or brio of a horse. It can, occasionally cause the conformation to look different to a quick glance or uneducated eye. It can also cause an unknowing eye to confuse the breed at a glance with other "spotted" breeds. However, nicely placed white can enhance the appearance of the movement of a horse. Meaning, if you see conrtasting white legs on a dark horse, your eye can be drawn to leg movements a bit more.


  I would like honest opinions on your views of "excessive" white in our beautiful breed. It may be a silly question to many, but learning something more about the breed can never be a bad thing. Thank you all so much for your time and consideration.

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Hi Kim,

I totally agree with your comment on (let's call it enhanced) white. It does not seem to have any effect on the desirable qualities. Like you, I have asked the question many times and have never gotten a fully satisfactory answer. One answer that I have gotten that explaines why many people stay away from the enhanced white is the traditions of the show ring.

This does not only pertain to white but to a number of coat colors and the justification for this too escapes me. Hopefully others on this site can help educate us.
The type of white that you refer to in high stockings and body markings are a form of the color pattern sabino. Generations ago, the military wanted horses with a uniform look, with white markings frowned upon. People raising horses with possible sales to the army, accepted this standard and thus it was passed on to more people and to breed standards.

In observing new registries starting on color that was not registrable in existing registries, there certainly are people who want white markings on horses. For a Peruvian registry to limit colors is to limit marketability and/or encourage a new registry to start up.

Now, limiting white for health reasons is a whole other story ie sunburned muzzles on unpigmented skin. The aging grays and melanomas..... which may get back to the reasons behind military preferences.
sometimes i am the judges escort for the local shows about here.

one judge from peru, a follower of the granas, the most important judges in the show in the first thirty years, to my face did say that a serious breeder would not breed roans; and grays were just this side of acceptable.

the granas did have a color preference, from what i have heard, and since the first wave of imported horses to the usa were from the north, which included grays and roans, from pucala and casa grande (and cayalti)- when the native judges would come over, there was much confusion as they ignored the magnificent colored horses and use solid red horses as the champions. thus throughout the 70s and 80s, many great colts were gelded due to their color.

it is still prevalent to this day. there was a pretty roan horse in a junior class this last show i stewarded. one of the judges looked at him, and remarked, "is that a purebred". after the class i heard the name of the horse and told the judge that actually, he was of his own father's breeding.

i find that the arguments for or against color and excessive white are ludricrous. we have too high a cull rate in our breed, we have had alot of issues with longevity and some with strength, and yet, color is a big issue in the judging of our horses.

i love horses of color, but i mostly love great horses. lets concentrate on breeding these, and our market will take care of itself, no matter what judges some committees pick, think about this issue.

better yet, tell these people to not pick judges that think color matters, and then participate in those shows.

As usual, Carlos, you cut right to the chase. The old cowboy saying "you don't ride color" is especially significant in our breed where the ride is what we're looking for. I have no facts to back me up but my gut feeling is that the breed has lost wonderful genetic material simply by breeding for or against color and or white markings and not evaluating breeding stock on strength, temperment, heart and gait first.
I have acquired a lovely filly of really great bloodlines (Soberano and MSR Romanesco). She's chestnut -- and with a great white blaze, and four equal white stockings. It's not excessive, but is a bit of white. Neither her sire nor dam, nor grand sires and grand dams showed nearly as much white. BUT she has their conformation, their gait and their brio -- which is to be greatly desired. And she's a thinker (which I really like). To me she is gorgeous with all her chrome, but she's really a got a great Peruvian heart. And given the discussion, I think it will be interesting to see how she does next year in halter class.
The only reason that Peruvians don't like excessive white on their horses is because they prefer a solid body color. High whites on the legs are not desirable especially if they start from the hoof...the explanation is because a white hoof is "weak" in comparison with a dark hoof. Why is this?...because the melanin pigment is missing in the white hoof. That make them more prone to chips or hoof problems.
from what ive heard people dont like white because in peru they are more likely to get sun burn and rashes from being out in the sun. personally i love white on a horse it adds character to there faces. and it really does make them stand out in the arena.
My own personal opinion is you do not ride the color of the horse, you ride the conformation and the quality of the gait of the horse.  The beauty in our horses comes from brio, the beautiful fluid gait, and the temperament of the horse.  The Peruvian horse in the past has been traditionally punished for excessive  white and some judges still may carry that prejudice.  In the American market, the fastest growing breed is the paint breed, therefore, I do not think if all all qualities of the horse being equal that excessive white should be a disqualification.  We just do not want to breed for color and breed for the breed standards which are clearly stated in many books written by the Breed Associations for conformation and gait standards.

I realize this is an old topic, but I've thought about it myself quite a bit.

In my opinion (which I realize matters only to myself) the sabino markings are just a reminder of the Spanish blood in our breed and should not be considered in the show ring unless excessive.  The problem with placing an maximally-expressed sabino is that other exhibitors may think the horse was used solely because the judge preferred the coloration.  In years to follow, more and more white will be seen in the breed, likely at the cost of conformation, gait and temperament.  It has happened in other breeds with other aesthetic traits.

Yes, our breed is severely culled.  But with the introduction of AI, SS and FT, I hardly think it's a threat to the longevity of the breed.  

I don't know...  one of the things that drew me to the Peruvian shows was the traditionalism.  All the riders dressed the same.  All the tack the same.  No shoes.  An even playing field that focused on the horses alone and not how fancy things could get.  How many other breeds still show that way?


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