History, nobility, luxury; these are the characteristics that have made the Peruvian horse one of the most sought after breeds in the world, and the passion of the Figuerola family for many generations.

Manufactured by 500 years of selective breeding, the Peruvian horse traces its history to 16th century Spain, and is of Iberian and Andaluzian descent. During the Spanish Conquest, horses were brought from Spain to South American to aid the conquistadors in their conquest of the New World, the land of the Incas. These horses had to be able to travel long distances without exhausting their riders, and had to be brave and confident in battle. The result was the creation of a breed of horses that were smooth gaited and had excellent temperament.

When the period of conquest ended, the horses in Peru were used primarily for transportation among the vast sugar, rice, tobacco, coffee and cotton plantations. Once again, the smooth gait and willing disposition of the Peruvian horse was ideal for the haciendados that traveled long distances across the vast plantations. Over time, the breeders in Peru kept the Peruvian bloodlines pure, and bred selectively for gait, conformation and temperament.

In the late 1960’s, harsh Agrarian Reforms ravaged the breeding programs of Peru. Many of the best breedstock was either destroyed or exported to North America. Although this led to the establishment of successful breeding programs in the United States, the affair nearly wiped out the Peruvian population in its home country. The last few decades, however, have seen a resurgence in the popularity and reputation of the horses in Peru. The Peruvian horse has since been declared a cultural heritage in Peru, and has also become widely popular throughout the world. Its smooth ride and beautiful appearance make it a favorite among the entire family, from children riding their first horse to expert riders competing for the lauded Champion of Championship titles.

Appearance and Conformation

The Peruvian is a horse of beauty and refinement, and its physical characteristics all reflect the strength and elegance of the breed. It is medium sized, usually between 14 and 15 hands tall, with almost even rations of girth, leg and back. The neck and head are of medium size, with a small muzzle, oblong nostrils, dark skin, and medium length ears with fine tips curved slightly inward. The loins are broad and well muscled over the kidney area, and the back is medium to short in length. A low set, quiet tail is preferred, as is a deep barrel. The quarters should be strong and of even roundness and width. The horse’s chest is wide and well muscled, and the rib cage is well sprung and deep. In every aspect, the horse should have an appearance of strength, elegance and refinement.

A true Peruvian should be beautiful to behold. The color of the coat varies, and is often black, gray, brown, bay, palomino or chestnut, with solid colors being the most desirable. The mane and tail are abundant. Dark expressive eyes are also preferred, adding further beauty and elegance to the Peruvian.


The characteristic that makes the Peruvian horse truly unique is its ambling four-beat gait. Whereas trotting horses have a vertical bounce that tires out the rider, Peruvians have a smooth gait that allows them to be ridden for hours on end. This smooth, harmonious gait that is considered the essence of the breed, and is most desirable among breeders, riders and aficionados of Peruvians.

The Peruvian’s signature gait, paso llano, is an isochronous lateral gait, meaning that it has four equal beats and is performed laterally. This natural four-beat footfall (left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore) is entirely natural, and is performed without any special devices or training. The smooth gait of the Peruvian horse makes it able to travel vast distances without losing strength or tiring out its rider. This unique gait, combined with brio, make the Peruvian the most pleasurable horse in the world to ride.


The word brio refers to the complex temperament of a horse that makes it such a pleasure to ride. It implies vigor, courage, and determination. A horse with true brio is confident and proud of its ability, but willingly places all of its abilities in the service of the rider. It is this willingness that causes the horse to give you everything you could want, and then more.

Brio (roughly translated as “spirit”) is the heart and soul of the Peruvian horse, and gives great determination. Even when traveling great distances or when met with challenges, the horse gives everything it has to the rider. In this way, brio makes Peruvians much more pleasurable and enthralling to ride, and gives them an unparalleled spirit. Like the war horses of the conquistadors and the long distance horses of the Northern Peruvian plantations, modern Peruvians exhibit a boldness and willingness to serve that makes them unlike any other breed of horse.

The ultimate in equestrian luxury, Peruvian horses are desired for their smooth, comfortable ride, as well as for their legendary heritage. To ride a Peruvian is to experience a horse of unparalleled smoothness and generosity of spirit, a horse whose elegance combines with temperament to achieve the ultimate in comfort, luxury and performance. For the discerning horseman, the Peruvian horse is the epitome of equestrian luxury.

FIGUEROLA Peruvians invites you to explore our Mare and Stallion Collections or visit our sales page for more information.