|Several years ago prior to the Peruvian Paso
Breeders Guild Show in Odessa, Texas, a pre-show press
conference was held at the luxurious Radisson Hotel. A
group of Texas Breeders brought three Peruvian horses to
liven up the proceedings for the television cameras,
radio deejays and newspaper reporters who were on hand.
After the horses had been unloaded, a reporter
approached Joan Box, who had brought one of them.
"The interviewers and photographers are all set up
and waiting for the horses in the lobby," he announced.
"Inside the hotel?" Joan asked quizzically. Mentally
she pictured the double set of glass doors and the
stairway that led down to the lobby.
"That might be a problem."
One thing led to another, and Joan's group decided to
give it a try. The horses walked through the double
doors, down the flight of stairs and into the lobby with
"Are they staying in the room next to mine?" one man
asked. "I sure hope so. They have a lot better manners
that the people who were there last night!"
The little publicity stunt was designed to attract
attention, and that it did … in more ways than one. The
reception area was soon full of people looking at
something they most certainly hadn't expected in a
hotel lobby. Among the spectators was a wide-eyed group
of tourists from Japan.
The press conference lasted an hour, and the horses'
behavior was perfect. In fact, The Peruvians were so
good that hotel officials invited them back again for
the following year's pre-show press conference.
The event ended with a round of enthusiastic applause
from the lobby full of spectators.
Answering the question that must be foremost in
everyone's mind: none of the three horses made a mess of
any sort in the hotel lobby. However, no one is in any
way claiming this to be a hereditary characteristic
Once the horses were outside, one of the Japanese
tourists was offered a ride; and immediately a line
formed. The Japanese weren't the only people who wanted
to try out the smooth-riding Peruvians. Everyone who
wanted a ride was accommodated. Not too surprisingly,
traffic slowed down on two nearby freeways as motorists
did double (and triple!) takes.
The amazing thing was that all three of the
participating horses were show horses, and two were
Champions. Those who saw them in the show arena a few
days later were treated to high-stepping,
fire-breathing, show-stopping excitement. Watching them
in competition, it was hard to believe that the same
horses had calmly walked inside a busy hotel and then
given pony rides to tourists on a crowded sidewalk. I
know of few breeds where this would be typical of high
performance show horses.
Peruvian Paso horses are so beautiful that it's easy
to assume they're hothouse flowers. Lynn Kinsky of Santa
Ynez, California, met a number of people who made that
mistake when she began riding Peruvians in NATRC (North
American Trail Ride Conference) sanctioned rides.
Lynn had been breeding Peruvians for ten years, but
normally her stepdaughter did most of the riding. One
day Lynn decided that she,
herself, was going to do a lot more riding. She applied
to join a Peruvian Paso demonstration group and was told
-- politely but clearly -- that her riding horse, a
gelding named El Sinchi Roca, wasn't quite good enough
to represent his breed in front of the public.
"After Sinchi and I had been laughed at one time too
many, I decided to take my own path," Lynn remembers. "I
started riding … and riding … and riding. A fellow at
work had been urging me to get involved in
distance riding, and I took his advice. Before long, I
decided this was an activity where Sinchi could do a
very nice job of representing his breed."
So Lynn began a career which has so far seen her
complete over 50 NATRC rides! She describes NATRC rides
as being: "in effect a 'road rally' on horseback, rather
than a race. It's an activity that basically
simulates what the Peruvian horse was originally bred to
do, and the fact that Peruvians are incredibly
comfortable is a big bonus for the rider!"
"From the beginning, the NATRC old-timers were
extremely helpful and courteous," she remembers, "but it
was easy to see that they didn't think Sinchi would last
out his first season."
Sinchi did better than that. He became the first
Peruvian Paso to earn a 1,000-mile award, and he has
logged a total of 1,710 miles at the time of this
writing. Four different years, he was 5th in the
year-end standings for the Open Heavyweight Division in
Region 2 of the NATRC. On the way to his best-ever year
in 1993 -- and in strong contention for a National
Championship -- Sinchi was kicked by another horse and
suffered a broken foreleg.
The foreleg was pinned; and thanks to expert
veterinary attention, it eventually healed well enough
that Sinchi returned to competition; but the long
recovery period had taken its toll. Sinchi never quite
returned to his previous form and was subsequently
retired at 16 years of age.
"He's now my pleasure horse, my parade horse, the
horse that gets ridden by ranch guests, the 'teach other
horses that trail obstacles are O.K. horse', as well as
the horse I use for ribboning and timing two NATRC rides
for which I'm the trailmaster," Lynn reports.
Lynn meanwhile began using her breeding mares for
"I make it a point to compete with my breeding mares
in NATRC, as a way of determining their strength and
temperament before using them to create the next
generation of horses," Lynn says.
To date, the most successful of her mares has been
Cori Ocllo. In the only year she competed, Cori was
fourth in the annual standings for the Open Heavyweight
Division in Region 2. Since then, she's produced
three foals. At 15 years of age, Cori still has a long
list of duties (besides producing foals!) on the
Kinsky's Rancho Libertad. Another of Lynn's mares, Pisco
Cereza was first place among Novice Junior Horses at
her first NATRC ride, and her full sister Rosa Blanca,
logged 180 miles during her first year in NATRC
Lynn is the kind of person who likes to continually
challenge herself; and during the coming year, she plans
to expand into endurance races where the distances are
longer and the pace faster. Her immediate goal is to
have Rosa Blanca complete at least 300 miles in AERC
(American Endurance Ride Conference) sanctioned rides of
50 miles or more. If she does this, Rosa will become the
second Peruvian horse to qualify for registration in the
EHRA (Endurance Horse Registry of America). Her
sire, Domecq, was the first.
"Even though endurance rides are basically a race,"
Lynn advises, "my goal is to accumulate high mileage …
not to be first across the finish line … not that I'd
mind if I found myself at the front of the pack
some day! My greatest thrill has come from pushing my
horses to new levels and then seeing them meet the
A classic example was the time Sinchi needed an
emergency shoe repair during an NATRC ride. While his
shoe was put right, he fell 15 minutes behind schedule
with six miles of rocky riverbed in front of him.
A fellow competitor offered to help Lynn make up the
lost time. Being a veteran of the Tevis Cup 100-Mile
Ride, Lynn's "helper" knew quite a bit about covering
ground in a hurry.
"Let's go," she said, putting her Arabian into a long
trot despite the hazardous conditions in the riverbed.
"I was a totally timid rider," Lynn recalls, "but
that experience helped to turn me into a rider who
remains cautious but can handle almost anything."
Going at high speed through the boulder fields was a
new experience for Sinchi, too; and he was a bit clumsy
at the beginning.
"I was sure we were going to break our necks," Lynn
reports. "I guess Sinchi came to the same conclusion
because I actually felt him increase his concentration.
Suddenly we were flying along without a misstep,
and when we reached the next checkpoint -- 45 minutes
later -- we had made up the lost time! It was wonderful!
I never had that kind of thrill doing circles in a show
Lynn reports that a strong bond develops between a
horse and rider team as they put the miles behind them.
"I hadn't realized how horses react to the long hours
together until my mare, Cori Ocllo, had her first foal
after doing a number of NATRC rides (and all the
requisite training) with me," Lynn says. "With her
previous three foals, she'd been extremely protective,
going through a great deal of trouble to try to keep me
away from them. With her first post-NATRC foal, I found
the foal immediately after it was born, sat down, took
the foal in my lap and began cleaning it with a towel.
Cori just gave a little nicker and started her cleaning
activities at the other end. I see only one possible
explanation for this sudden development of trust by
a previously standoffish horse, and that's the bond we
formed while facing the trail together. That same thing
has happened with my other horses, too; and for me this
relationship -- all by itself -- is well-worth the long
hours in the saddle."