Hi all, relatively new here.

I'm curious about training the Peruvian under saddle and how it differs, if it does, from training a non-gaited horse. 

I trail ride exclusively, but I do not have and never have had the financial resources to buy a finished trail horse. I even prefer raising and training my own horses, every horse I have ever owned I raised and trained from an untouched baby. I love the bond, the love and deep trust I have with horses I have raised from unhandled babies. And now that I have gotten a bit older, an old injury from a car accident is looking like I will need a Peruvian in the future ;). 

I have tried to research info on training Peruvians to see if there is a special technique to train them under saddle like there often is with a lot of other breeds of gaited horses. It seems like a lot of times there is a recommendation to hire a trainer who's familiar with Peruvians and I assume it may be because someone who does not know Peruvians may not be able to gait them correctly under saddle?

Would I need to hire a trainer to train the colt or would I be able to train him/her myself?

Views: 1202

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi!  My first Peruvian was a yearling that I purchased and I put him under saddle myself when I was age 46.   Working with him I recognized the differences between Peruvians and all the other breeds I had trained and I fell head over heels in love with this breed.


My background was hunter jumper and western.  Wanting to compete with Peruvians in shows led me to realize how amazingly complex it is to create a proper show horse.  The gait has so many variables and can be hard to feel under saddle.  Proper collection rivals upper level dressage.  I would say it has taken me years of riding to adequately work with gait and collection but I know that there is more to learn.  Those who have grown up with this breed are a wealth of knowledge.  But to finally answer your question, I think yes you can train your horse for trail riding and enjoy the process and bond that is formed.   I can say this, there is more than one right way to train a Peruvian.  I have ridden traditionally trained ones and they are great.  I have ridden non traditionally trained horses and they are great.  I have retrained horses that were started improperly or with violence, and it takes time, but they can be great too.


I have started 6 Peruvians entirely by myself and without a helper.  One of them was Me Llamo Altanero.







Hi Kym,

Though we are not trainers per say and are not much involved in showing we have been in the breed for 10 years and have seen a lot both here and in Peru.  Some of these horses are very intense and a foundation of trust goes a very long way.  My impression is that the more intense and especially the very strong ones will require a very gentle hand - rather than being collected or balanced or braced into gait - they will need to relax into the same.  The stronger ones can become over at the poll and hollow backed very easily. The video - if horses could talk - was recently recommended to me and it is great.  Above all - have fun for you and for your horse.  If it is fun for you - it will become fun for them.  Our web page is www.pvfequine.com 



Thanks to both of you for your reply.

Training a sensitive Peruvian shouldn't be harder than training a wild caught Mustang, lol. I have one of those under my belt, and he does display an extra gait sometimes. Never having a gaited horse before, I have no clue in consistently getting him to gait over trot. I've manipulated him to go faster with out breaking into trot and have succeeded a few times, but nothing consistent (and nothing nearly as smooth as the Peruvians gait). Funny thing though is when we are riding with gaited horses, he will just naturally gait along with them with no coaxing from the rider, lol. But riding him with non-gaiting horses or by himself, getting him to gait is hit or miss.

The big thing I notice about Peruvians is that they seem to prefer their gait to trotting. I've seen soooo many other gaited breeds trotting (or sometimes hard pacing) in the pasture, never seeing them go into their "natural" gait when running loose, but when I see Peruvians running free out in pasture, they always seem to be gaiting, even the babies. They truly have a natural gait and it seems like they would gait naturally under saddle without any huge effort on my part.

Just a thougth recommended by a friend that works - speed into a canter then gently slow back into an opportunity for gait.  Just as a point of information - most of our horses, babies and all "pop in and out of gait when running free.  We do the same under saddle.  Most of our guys (the stallions at least) like a good gallop for fun. We also like for them to be able to canter as well under saddle.  Makes a better all around athlete. The challenge and the fun is to try to create the bond where you can communciate "ok thats it!!!!! - that's the gait that I am looking for now.) As you know it is all about comunication! Have fun. David 

Interesting, I remember doing that with a Paso Fino that had not been ridden for over a year, I'd canter her, then let her slow down until she was gaiting. She had a lot of pent up energy all the time and wanted to go, go, go when she was first saddled. Sometimes I'd restrain her from cantering, but felt like a compacted ball of energy that could explode at any time. She never did, but she was just a dynamic ball of energy until she calmed down.

I read somewhere that in training a Peruvian under saddle it was best to do a lot of walk, walk, walk the first couple months under saddle to strengthen their gait, before asking for a gait.

That's also what I'd learned from other people who have been into the breed for several decades was to keep them in the slow paso llano walk for several months before asking them to speed up their gait or ask for anything different. I was also told to not allow them to canter when riding them or working them until the gait has a good solid foundation. They told me that the gait is like a switch, a neuropathway in the brain that only they have and until that pathways is well established to not allow anything else, the reason why I was told this is that if you have them do other things like canter that it can lessen the amount that they use the pathway in their brain for their gait and then it becomes smaller. I have met a few Peruvian's whose owners allowed them to trot and canter a lot because they didn't know any different and it was quite a bit of work to reteach them how to gait because it was not coming naturally for them any more. Also taking the time to help them build their strength by only the slow paso llano when first starting them is paramount. If you do too much too soon I think it could ruin them.

Hi Rhiannon,

I am also new here and have been riding TWH with hubby past few yars until I saw my first PP and have been fantasing over one ever since! Now  my very capable son is training my quite young (2and a half years old) PP stallion under saddle (slowly slowly) I will probably not ride him for several months) Anyway, my question is is it ok to et him trot when he is on the lunge? Also, sometimes when he is riding him around the menage he is also letting him trot...my son says that he needs the forward motion to teach him movement and to respond to the rider but I just don't want the trot to become too familiar to him. My son says that after he is well mannered and used to commands he will work on the gait (lots and lots and lots of walking first) What do you think? m I just being overly worried??

Thanks, Lisa

No offence, I would not begin riding a Peruvian or any other horse under saddle for long periods of times until they are at least four to five years old. It has been documented through veterinary science that the very edges of the bones in the joints and spine, in every equine, are soft until they finish growing close to six years of age. A lot of conventional trainers for race horses and the like get em started and begin putting the horses under strenuous work loads way *too* young as early as two and a half years old, it breaks them down, not just mentally, it breaks their bodies down way too quickly. As far as Peruvians, we didn't start Canella til she was almost six years old. I spent many many hours taking her out for walks with my arm over her back where the saddle would be using the lead rope as reins and teaching her all the cues for slow Paso Llano, med. speed Paso Llano, andstopping and collecting and lateral flexion. I did this with her for eight months to a year before getting on her back. Now I have put around 40 rides on her, we are still working at the slow and med paced Paso Llano, she already neck reins and moves nicely off minimal leg pressure and has begun collecting up.


The traditional Peruvian trainers I have spoken with say to not start them until between five to six years of age. And, to do *only* the Flat Walk slow Paso Llano for the first hundred rides or so to help them develop the rhythm of their gait. It was explained to me that the ability to gait is not only in the build but there is a neuropathway in the brain for that gait that other horses do not have. If you allow them to trot and canter then the stronger the neuropathway is going to become for trotting and cantering and the pathway they have for gaiting will become smaller and smaller where you will end up having to reteach them how to gait. Please don't be in a rush to get him started under saddle, it can ruin a horse if you start them too young, I mean their knees are not even done closing up until they are at least three years old. I would check with a vet to find out if the knees are closed up yet. One small accident and it can re-open their knees if they have just closed up.

Thank you Rhionnan

In theory I agree...your arguments are well said and certainly I will take them to heart. Problem is that my son is training my horse and unfortunately, living in Israel he will be enlisting in the fall to the army. I guess we wanted him to work wih the horse before he went and won't have the time later(army here is 3 years). Like I said before, he will be ridden slowly slowly and probably not out ot the menage until next year. I know it sounds like I am apologising, I guess I am but believe me I want to enjoy this horse (I feel so connected to him, he was born in our stable to my tennuvian mare) so I want to enjoy many years together on the trail and wouldn't want to hurt him. Our vet checked his legs and said he was ready to start him,slowly and carefully, which we are. Lots of groundwork, lungeing and walks in the menage. So thank you for your well-meant words, I will take them to heart and pass them on to my son.

I think it was Buck Brannaman who said if you want to do something fast it will take all day, but if you decide that it will take all day it will take you 15 minutes... in other words Patience patience patience.

All the best, happy trails


Lisa--I understand the time limit your son has and it sounds like he already understands a lot. I agree, take the time it takes, so that it takes less time later. This is why I made sure Canella could do everything on the ground before I got on her back! Patience is certainly necessary for doing things right with any horse :-) 

One of my main reasons why I love the Peruvian Paso's so much is because of my back issues I prefer not to canter or go fast as it creates compression on my lower lumbar spine. I love the smoothe gait and soft responsiveness my mare gives back to me when I'm riding her with light hands and an indepandant seat. Every Peruvian I have worked with was like this, equal give and receive and give back.

Hi again

Oh I am so looking forward to exactly what you describe!

I have broken ankles, fingers... had a horse fall sideways on me and broke my kneecap, but worse accident as 3 years ago when my tennuvian for some unexplained reason suddenly reared (we were just standing) I was taken so unawares that I fell backwads pulling her on top of me- well I didn't know what I  broke (ambulance ride and everything) LUCKILY just broke my arm in 3 places and fractured pelvis. I am almost 50 years young and want a horse that is smooth, quiet and dependable (will geld my PP in near future). We are going so slowly with Dante(Have a wonderful TWH to ride that is very smooth) so no hurry.

I am a great fan of natural horsemanship and companionship and hence the original question of allowing him to trot... Guy (son) says he has alot of energy and trotting and cantering on the lunge is a good outlet, that he has to learn to be a horse first. On the lunge he gets him to calm down and focus on what he is doing.The work on the walk will come later. When he rideshim he usually only walks and not more than 10 minutes. There is some sense to this,but I see he is working on his flexibility, that his body follows his head, that he responds to both verbal and physical cues. Looks like he is doing a good job. He gets mad when I tell him not to trot him haha.

I wish one day to join you and your mare Canella on the trail!

All the best, Lisa


© 2020   Created by Chris Austin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service