Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Peruvian Paso Test Ride

Multi-Champion Peruvian Paso gelding Diamante Del Monte MPR & me.
(my dream test ride that I was fortunate to take after meeting a lady at a show who knows Monte's owners)

July of 2005 was a special, real horse month for me. Along with turning 50 and having a fun getaway weekend and trail ride in the country, I also attended my first Gaited Horse Show in Puyallup, WA. The horses were amazing! There were Mountain Horses (Rocky & Kentucky), Missouri Fox Trotters, flat-shod Tennessee Walkers, Icelandic Horses, Gaited Morgans, and Peruvians, showing in all types of disciplines.

There I met a lady in the audience who owns a Peruvian Paso, but didn't have her horse at the show. I asked her a lot of questions about them, since I had read they are the smoothest horses to ride. The breed has a natural, lateral 4-beat gait that's like a running walk. Most horse breeds have a diagonal 2-beat gait (trot), which causes you to bounce a lot in the saddle. They are very hardy, used for ranch work and trail riding, with boundless stamina and energy. I've always wanted to try one out to test for bounce in the saddle and ease on your back.

Terry told me she would be at the Northwest Regional Peruvian Horse Championships in Monroe, WA the next day, and knew some people there that might let me have a "test ride" on one of their horses. So hubby and I went out there in the afternoon, watched the championship finals, and then met some people and horses in the barn. After the show, they let me ride one of their horses, Diamante Del Monte MPR, a former champion gelding.

He was very well trained, almost going on "auto pilot", yet responsive to what I asked him to do. They did have to give me some pointers on holding the reins differently than I've done my whole life, and also sitting more relaxed and back in the saddle. Any type of leg pressure will result in the horse responding in some way, such as turning, speeding up or starting up from a standstill. He was also very sensitive to whatever I did with the reins, so holding them at the proper level and distance from his neck was something I would need more practice at, but by the 4th time around the practice arena, I was told I was doing well.

It was really fun! An amazing experience not everyone gets the chance to have, and a good ride. If I had just known how to collect him better, it would have been a great ride.

Below are links to some web page photos of Diamante on his ranch in Bend, OR. He's a very dark bay, but not quite black. I was riding him with the traditional lightweight Peruvian saddle with bell stirrups, and a hand braided leather bridle. Very pretty!

(Click center arrow below to play video)

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