by Raul Risso

Having attended the recent LX Peruvian National Show and First World Congress of the Peruvian Paso Horse held in April of 2005 at the Mamacona Fairgrounds in Lima Peru, we were impressed with the number of many new exhibitors and the record of 745 participating horses. The "aficion" in Peru is growing, no question about it. The efforts of the ANCPCPP are paying off in Peru as the whole country has turned the PPH into a symbol of national identity. We owe this to the thirteen breeders and aficionados that founded it in 1947 and to the rest of the people who have led it since.

The Outcry
It is unquestionable that the PPH has earned prestige and presence in the diverse equine world outside the frontiers of Peru. It is also a fact that in foreign countries it must compete with other breeds. This is the basis for people's concern, worried about certain weaknesses that shorten the useful life of a considerable number of our horses. Breeders and aficionados from different parts of the world who attended and spoke at the past Congress held in Lima expressed this unanimously. This outcry cannot be ignored and it is necessary for the Peruvian Breeders and the ANCPCPP to address this issue.

The Challenge
It is not a matter of copying other breeds that are stronger and have a longer lifespan. Alfredo Elias once put it into words, claiming that "our horse is not the strongest nor the prettiest but, because of it's pesos, it is unique in the equine world". In general, trotting breeds are stronger than the gaited ones and within the latter; the PPH has the additional physically demanding attributes of rear end extension and termino. Furthermore, the Peruvian is required to carry his head steady and motionless. Since the creation of the ANCPCPP there has been great progress in the criteria that guides our breeders but we have overlooked several aspects. Many people take Show Results as their only guide on who they breed their horses to. There, I believe we have wrongly been giving excessive priority to the extension of the rear end over the supreme virtue of the paso llano timing. The referred demand was accentuated with the appearance of the descendants of Sol de Oro V and Caramelo in particular, only 43 years ago. There is a photograph at the headquarters of the ANCPCPP in which Caramelo ridden by Alfredo, distinguishes himself by his royal head carriage over other horses and riders amongst whom is Fernando Grana.

The Influence of Caramelo
Caramelo introduces the overbearing requirement in the breed that is to produce horses that will continue to have extension in the paso llano but with a more refined, elevated neck and head carriage. There is a change in the center of gravity and the horse, similar to an outboard motor boat, carries more weight on the hindquarters. That is the irreversible situation we confront. I find that the PPH of today requires a very particular rear end that will perform towards that function with a much stronger loin area than before necessary, a long inclined croup that provides angulations at the stifle and a slightly sickled hock along with strong, flexible but not "squishy" pasterns of medium length. With the strength of such a loin and good angulation the horse glides and drives supplied with well-defined joints and ligaments. This is easy to define but hard to get all in one package.

In general, the rear end of our horse today is not sufficiently solid to be able to travel with the carriage that the introduction of Caramelo brought us. If we consider that since it's conception it takes from 4 to 5 years for a mare to procreate we will understand that 43 years is nothing in the evolution of any breed of horses. Here and there I have been confronted with some individuals that 'break down" at an early age, more so in their rear ends, an area that as Jose Miguel Morales puts it, we should deal with.

In raising animals many problems are solved by a having a broad genetic base. In Peru, where our breed began, we have been limiting the available bloodlines and instead have concentrated on only a few. Bloodlines that would provide such diversity have been lost, forgotten or sold to foreign countries. Thus we assess from several articles written by Roque Benavides, published in the "Made in Peru" magazine. From statistics elaborated from horse show results, Roque proves us that Sol de Oro V and more recently Sol de Paijan his descendant, are in a great portion in the line of ancestors of a great many in the breed today. And from the maternal side, Eduardo Risso in an article published by the 2005 Anuario of the ANCPCPP, titled "The importance of Broodmares" sustains that 10 mares alone are predecessors to more than 96% of the descendants of Sol de Oro V, of 91 % of the Regional and of 93% of the of the Sol de Paijan. This is not a flattering situation.

The Breeders Response
The majority of the horses quoted by Roque and Eduardo have come to us through Alfredo Elias (AEV) Anibal and Lucho Vasquez and Jose "Pepe" Risso. (JRM) Years ago Fito Matellini, a Caramelo fan traveled extensively through the valleys and "quebradas" of the Ica and Nazca valleys from which Sol de Oro V would have come. He and others that followed got a hold of some good animals. Fito unfortunately did not persevere in his breeding program as he was knowledgeable and had a saying about breeders that "are born, grow up, develop, become vain and then, they disappear". Not so Anibal Vasquez, the father and my brother Pepe as they nurtured their breeding programs from outside blood.

Pepe bought La China a descendant of Zanero. She and her offspring were bred to Dictado a present from Carlos Parodi. Later Pepe bought Sol de Oro (?) Joven from whom he got the stamp that his horses still portray. From Regional he got Redoble and Sol de Paijan, gave him Predilecto and Mariscal. From the Vasquez family he got Granadilla the mother of Resplandor. Pepe Musante gave him Pirinola whom he bred to Palomo and got Palomilla the dam of Soraya, granddam of Retorno. From Nazca he got Quebranta the dam of Quinela. Bred to Mariscal, Quinela produced Profesora Laureada in Central America and with Redoble she gave Prolija, the dam of his Laureada Legendaria.

There was diversity in the blood of Carlos Parodi's La Limena, the mother of Mantequilla, and other Champions all coming from Piloto. Years later these two stallions left their mark in the USA. From Hugo Nieto In Ica, Jose Antonio Onrubia bought Cynthia and Raul del Solar took Domingo to the US where he became a legend. Also from Ica, bred by Hugo Gotuzzo La Murga came to the US and became a cornerstone at Gene Pepe's ranch leaving her daughter Cabala for Tony Hudtwalker to grab a hold of in Peru a refined, solid mare, and the mother of Senera. Jose Miguel Morales also got from Ica a Gotuzzo mare he named Sombra and Surena the mother of the proven sire Magistrado. Samuel Gleisser in Pacasmayo, inherited Flor de Canela who was the grand dam of Guadalupana and bred to Piloto gave Pilota, the dam of Marfil a good sire in Ecuador. In Arequipa, Roberto Gallegos owned Japonesa the dam of Vicuna and grand dam of Sabandia a National Ch of Ch. Carlos Fukuda bought Cholita de Cacho in Cajamarca and got very good offspring amongst whom was Ananda. Peter Koechlin bought from Fito the grey mare Marinera coming from Anibal Vasquez the father, to become the grand dam of his National Champion China Chola. In Lima, Juan Manuel Rizo Patron took the time to explore into the valley of Pativilca and got a jewel, a petite mare from an ancient bloodline Reina de Galpon, the mother of La Chunga and Triana, both sold overseas. In 1980 with good advice from the Vasquez brothers I had the fortune to acquire Feria Cayalti who, bred to Sol de Paijan gave me Galileo a National Champion and Fantasia, Laureada in the USA at the age of sixteen.

In recent years Enrique Rizo Patron and Manuel Acuna have had success with descendants that Julio Peschiera had out crossed from the original bloodlines coming from Fernando Peschiera. Another Fernando, Bustamante combines stallions coming from AEV with the mare Esmeralda bred by Morocho Rossell in Cajamarca and obtains Abadia and Suprema, solid, refined mares with added size. Similarly, Eduardo Risso started his breeding operation with two mares from Victor Castro in Ica carrying bloodlines from AEV. Crossing them with stallions from his father Pepe, Sol de Brujas is grand dam of Solariega, a good strong mare and, Dona Leli is the dam of Genovesa, a Laureada in the USA. Jose Miguel Morales and Tito de Azambuja brought us back greys with two excellent offspring from Soy del Peru a stallion bred by Jose Risso Jr, and the mares Cereza and Sensacion Cayalti.

There are a lot more breeders that set us an example, but I have no room in this article to quote on their contributions. Just let me say that there is no reason to become alarmed, abundant genetic material is available. It is a matter of finding bloodlines that have been lost, forgotten or sold to foreign countries. Breeders with vision will find them. It will be a long process of continuous selection and culling but absolutely necessary. Perseverance, money and above all dismissing our vanity are essential in order to stay on top in this endeavor of breeding the PPH.

The ANCPCPP's Response
A positive amendment has been established at this last Nationals in Peru whereas the first and second place horses of each class have to necessarily participate in the subsequent Pisos and Conformation Classes in order to qualify for their Championships. It's more demanding on the winners without taking away the right for others that have placed lower in competing for these two awards.

By the same token, in the face of a longevity problem, I believe that the Peruvian Association has the obligation to "raise the bar" and set new goals by requiring that our future National Champions prove it. The following proposal would be valid from here on, respecting the rights earned by the present champions. The horses that would be competing for the Champion of the Year titles would be adults, more than six years old. With the present attendance and subdivision of classes that exist today there will be a place for several Championships to be applied equally for mares, stallions and geldings:

Best at Halter, Best in Bozal, Junior Champion Under Saddle and finally, ratifying his or her qualities, Champion of the Year. Only the latter would pass on to compete for the Champion of Champion titles. Therefore our candidates for the Laureado award would not reach that goal until a minimum age of nine years old. There would be Six New Championships between mares, stallions and geldings, Best Bozal and Junior Championships Under Saddle; all of which would bring more splendor to the Show. Our expectations would rise and exhibitors will keep their best horses in order to achieve the even pricier Championship of the Year. Consequently the PPH would have more value.

My proposal is not a revolutionary one. It is a reform that I respectfully enter. It is not a change but a higher requirement. It would be a serious and formal response from the Peruvian Association when confronted to the outcry from the breeders and aficionados around the world that was revealed at the First World Congress recently celebrated. The task, hard as it is, belongs to the ANCPCPP.

Raul Risso, a well renowned breeder and judge, resides in Louisiana with his wife Lauren and their herd of Peruvian Horses. For more information about Raul, visit thier website:

Last updated by Laura Mesia Aug 12, 2008.

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