Part Two: Brother Judges:
To understand the popularity of this man, the affection that
was felt for him even when he occupied the thankless and controversial
post of judge, one needs to know something of don Antonio, the
man. His greatest attributes are his unassuming manner and his
remarkable sense of humor. His always seems to have his feet
on the ground and his priorities in order. There is a story about
him that illustrates this quite nicely.
Antonio and his brother, Fernando, were world class polo players.
Antonio had a handicap of 5 and Fernando 6, the highest in Peru.
They played on many outstanding teams together. The best teams
they played on represented the Grana family Hacienda, Huando.
One year they won every match in Peru except one, and over the
years Huando won many important national and international prizes
including the Prince of Wales Cup which was presented to they
by the Prince, himself. Perhaps the most memorable competition
that the Huando team ever entered was the first Pan American
Games in 1951.The games were held in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
before 20,000 spectators at the largest polo club in the world,
and teams entered from all over North and South America. In those
days it was typical for the members of a polo team to travel
to distant competitions and buy their horses locally. The Mexican
team was so determined to win this particular competition that
they arrived some two months ahead of time to buy their mounts
and prepare them. Antonio arrived 3 days beforehand, and had
to buy 14 horses for the Huando team before the first game. One
day at the polo club a member of the Mexican team, practicing
the intimidation that has always been part of contact sports,
approached Antonio and during a conversation announced, "I'm
not afraid of anything. I've broken every bone in my body at
one time or another playing polo."
Antonio's lightening response to the Mexican Macho was so typical
of him. Without batting an eye he said, "How silly. It isn't
necessary to break your bones to play polo."
Incidentally, the Huando team won.
Don Antonio focused his efforts as judge on saving the gait of
the Peruvian breed. In order to do this, he had to almost overemphasize
the importance of the gait at the expense of other qualities.
He was most certainly not unaware of the many other characteristics
necessary in a good Peruvian horses. Once when a certain breeder
arrived at one of the shows with two enormous, coarse and completely
out-of type mares, don Antonio, upon seeing them pass during
the prueba funcional* said to a friend, "Those mares are
very nice, but I think the owner has forgotten something."
"What is that?" asked the friend.
Several of the most knowledgeable men in Peru, including no less
an authority than Jose "Pepe" Musante, Sr. consider
Antonio to have been the best of all the non-professional trainers
of the last quarter century at least. No other gentleman trainer
is regarded as having been his equal though several came close.
Don Antonio's teacher was Huando's master trainer, Solomon Guerrero.
Antonio has fond memories of Guerrero, and he particularly remembers
the pains the man took to teach him Peruvian equitation.
Antonio has always been an avid sportsman. He enjoys many varied
sports, and hunting is high up on his list of favorites. He was
also a more than acceptable golfer, having been a member of Peru's
National Senior Golf Team. In 1971, he represented Peruvian international
competition for golfers over 55 years of age in Colorado Springs,
Colorado, against teams from all over the world, including Hawaii,
Japan, China and India.
When he announced that he would no longer accept the post of
judge for the National Championship Show, Antonio suggested that
his brother, Fernando, would make a suitable replacement. Don
Fernando had the qualifications for the job. He was intelligent,
cultured, sophisticated, eloquent and an accomplished lifelong
horseman who knew many breeds and many equestrian forms from
polo to working with fighting bulls. He was named to cojudge
with Alex Zatak and Miguel Sarria in 1958 and 1959. Then from
1960 through 1968 he teamed up with Carlos Luna de la Fuente
and Carlos Gonzalez to judge. In 1969-70-75 and 76 he was the
sole judge. During the years he worked with cojudges, don Fernando
was unquestionably the dominant personality in shaping the breed.
In this regard he had inherited a task that was well started
but far from complete. The breed and the breeders still needed
direction. In terms of gait, breeders now shared a common set
of criteria. But in regards to anything beyond that, very little
was clearly established. The vast body of knowledge which existed
was almost entirely empirical. Breeders and trainers knew what
they knew from experience and experimentation. But the scientific
method had not yet been employed with its gathering of data,
its arranging of facts and systematization of knowledge, its
studies and comparisons, and its theories and verification thereof.
Two men were principally responsible for bringing order, logic
and the scientific method to the study of the Peruvian horse.
One of these was a foreigner, Luis de Ascasubi from Ecuador.
The other was Fernando Grana. Grana began to classify the knowledge
of the breed in a technical way and was one of the important
contributors to a new "national" vocabulary which helped
breeders from all over Peru discuss their ideas with one another
in terms that all could understand. He also focused the minds
of breeders on their breed's weaknesses and helped to standardize
the diverse criteria of breeders all over the country. Before
don Fernando's influence began to be felt there were some people
who understood the Peruvian horse but couldn't explain it. Others
tried to explain the breed but didn't really understand it. One
of the first who could do both in great depth was Fernando Grana.
Until don Fernando's appearance on the scene, most "aficionados"
in Peru flew by the seat of their pants. There is one famous
anecdote that will illustrate what the state of affairs was in
those days. During a social gathering of breeders at the Hacienda
TamboInga, Carlos Parodi and Ernesto Carozzi began to have a
disagreement about how a horse moves when "cuarteando".
In a certain sense it was a strange argument. Don Carlos was
among the better riders in Peru and had taught countless horses
to "cuartear". "Tito" Carozzi spent little
time training horses, and would have seemed to be at a tremendous
disadvantage. As the evening wore on, neither would let the argument
die, so convinced was each that he was right. Fueled by a few
drinks, the disagreement became more and more energetic. Finally
the two men wound up on all fours, each one showing his version
of whether the inside hind leg steps in front of or behind the
outside leg when a horse is "cuarteando". It was then,
while they were both on hands and knees that the argument was
finally settled, for both men could then clearly see that "Tito"
was right, the inside hind leg steps across the path of and in
front of the outside hind leg in this maneuver. It was a rather
unexpected end to the argument. Don Carlos was bested by a man
who had nothing comparable in the way of experience in riding
horses while "cuarteando", and probably could not have
taught a horse to do so. But "Tito" had watched horses
"cuarteando", and he - better than don Carlos - knew
exactly how the horse did it. Into this time and place came a
man named Fernando Grana, a man who was logical above all other
things and who always thought very carefully before he presented
During a conversation many years ago, a particularly respected
old time breeder was explaining to a large group of listeners,
including Fernando Grana, that there were "stallion gaits"
and "mare gaits," and that each sex had a correct and
distinct way of moving. Shortly after wards, while discussing
which parent gives a foal which of its characteristics, the same
speaker explained that, "The mare gives a foal her gait."
Everyone present was accepting the lesson without question, except
Fernando. He saw the obvious flaw in the logic of the speaker,
and he pointed it out by saying, "In that case, sir, stallions
would have to give birth to stallions."
The Peruvian breed in its homeland has been basically shaped
by two different races of people, the Italians and the Spanish.
The majority of the breeders in the Lima area were Italians.
In Lima the breeders' names were Musante, Parodi, Carozzi, Isola,
Risso, etc. Without over emphasizing stereotypes, they were men
of more emotional natures than the breeders in Peru's provinces
who were more often of Spanish origin, with names like Elias,
de la Borda, Ruesta, Aspillaga, Onrubia and Grana. The combination
of the romantic, flamboyant Italians and the colder, more analytical
Spaniards with their calmer, more logical, more practical natures
created a very interesting system of checks and balances. Neither
of the groups alone could have done what they did together. The
Spaniards would not likely have given the Peruvian breed its
romantic side, and the Italians would probably have neglected
to do things such as Fernando Grana did for the breed.
Among the most important things that don Fernando did as a judge
was to preside over the change of "eras" between the
years when the horses from the north dominated the National Show
to the time when the horses from the south became preeminent.
Don Fernando remembers that moment well. He describes it by saying,
"The moment the de la Borda horses came to Lima, they were
a hit. They had so much brio that they collected themselves automatically,
and they had something about them that attracted everyone's attention."
For Fernando the horse that most typified the characteristics
of the de la Borda horses was Caramelo about whom he says, "That
eye catching thing that Caramelo had caught everyone's attention.
Then and there they decided it was indispensable and should be
added to all horses in the breed."
With the coming of the southern horses, there was the same sort
of controversy that goes hand in hand with the upsetting of any
vested interests. The breeders from the north felt that the breed
was being changed. The breeders from the south felt it was being
improved. Time has proven that the breeders from the south were
correct only twenty years after they screamed "foul"
the important breeders in the north, without exception, have
improved their horses with massive injections of southern blood.
As don Fernando points out the qualities of the southern horses,
such as their incomparable brio, had always been admired by breeders
in Peru, but they were not seen nearly as frequently before southern
sires such as Sol de Oro (V) made their contributions to the
breed. In other words, the coming of the southern horses did
not change the existing standard of a good Peruvian horse. Rather
this event brought the entire breed closer to the existing standard
of the "ideal" horse.
As he guided the breed into the 1960's and '70's, don Fernando
was guided by a very sophisticated notion of what should be done.
To quote him, "Function determines beauty. A bulldog and
a greyhound are both beautiful, but they are different because
they were bred for different purposes." The rewards for
a man like don Fernando are often of a personal nature. He still
remembers with satisfaction when Anibal Vasquez, Sr. came to
him and said, "I owe it to you, don Fernando, that I have
good horses because you gave me such hell in the show ring for
so many years that I learned at last. " Anibal's words constitute
a meaningful tribute from a man whose opinion is very important
to a man who did a great deal for him and for the breed he loved
so very much.
Another long time breeder, Fernando Peschiera, had words of praise
for both of the Granas. Of don Antonio, he said "I consider
him to be one of the horsemen in Peru who in his life best knew
the essential characteristics or our national horse, those being
to carry the rider comfortably over long, difficult journeys
with elegance, smoothness and brio. He was a traditionalist and
a very conservative man. He was also a confident and judge who
helped form the Peruvian Paso horse. I hold him to he one of
my best friends." Of don Fernando, Peschiera says, "Fernando
Grana was very knowledge about our breed and had an extraordinary
ability to guide us in the correction of the defects in our breed.
He was always able to maintain the right balance among all considerations
during his judging. He was a loyal and sincere friend."
Note: Fernando Grana also made some very significant
contributions to the breed during his two terns as President
of the ANCPCPP. These shall be discussed in detail in a later
article in this series. For now the reader will be offered two
final tidbits of information about don Fernando's many years
as a judge. In his opinion the most controversial competition
he ever judged was *Mantequilla vs El Cid. The most difficult
was Jimena vs Alhaja.
"Pueba Funcional" has been a part of the Peruvian National
Championship Show for many years. it is a requirement that all
horses to be shown under saddle and in the bit travel a certain
distance on a track prior to entering the classes in which they
will compete. The distance to be traveled varies with the sex
of the horse, with geldings being required to travel the greatest
AUTHOR'S POSTSCRIPT: The preceding article was written
in 1981. At that time I did not even dream that it would he published
after the death of Fernando Grana. However, in rereading the
article, I believe it is a fitting memorial to one of the Peruvian
breed's most important men. I hope that his family and friends
Go to an Interview with Senor Fernando Grana