My name is Sue Giddins. (GUNSPRING PERUVIAN HORSES) 15 years ago my husband and I started an amazing journey, with Peruvian Pasos here in Australia, after my husband doing extensive study into the best horses, for a disabled woman who loved horses from childhood to work with. Peruvian Pasos were chosen. Knowing absolutely nothing about all aspects of horse care, handling and rearing we started from scratch.
We quickly learned there are few people willing to help you, and even fewer honest and open about the plusses and negatives in this breed.
We brought initially a part bred gelding Monty, ¾ Peruvian paso ¼ saddlebred an awesome horse, who is my husband’s riding horse because he is taller than most purebred pasos.
We fell in love with Peruvian pasos not only because of their gait but because of their amazing temperament. Yes, they are sensitive and sometimes a little highly strung, but they give you their total love, loyalty and devotion, if you earn it.Sue Giddins
We proceeded to purchase three mares Carisma a foal, Cortesana, Marisol and Caliente, and then VR Reina Real whilst continually studying these horses.
We made a trip to Peru, shortly after which was the best thing we could have done. Because on that trip we became friends (and I mean friends) with several long time Peruvian Paso enthusiasts and breeders from Peru and the states, who unlike people in Australia were prepared to share not only knowledge but sound advice, on what to look for when purchasing good breeding stock. So thus the journey begins.
We ultimately imported an American bred Canadian Stallion RTP Casino.(a) because we had never managed a stallion before and (b) we had never bred with one. This Stallion had done everything in Canada and the USA, and was 12 yrs old when we brought him here. His conformation was perfect and temperament also. His gait was good with the right rider (which we learned when a professional trainer rode him here in Australia) He could lock him in gait and he was a joy to watch and ride. The truth is most people here no matter how experienced a horse person they are have no idea how to ride these horses and bring out the best in them. Even though they can canter, the Peruvian trainers frown upon encouraging them from breaking their natural gait. It is not NATURAL to them.
Many people damage them in the way they train them, sadly. We have seen several horses broken down because of incorrect training. A one size fits all approach, and that is not so with these horses.
We were so excited to bring sound bloodlines into the country to breed our mares to. Produce other lines with sound sires. We incidentally purchased Capoeira BSN from Ollivayle Stud when the then owner Jorge De Moya passed away at age 18 to give him a good home for the rest of his life.
He left us a couple of months ago just short of his 30th birthday. What a character he was an amazing specimen of the breed.
Sadly we lost Cortesana at age 15, as her back end collapsed. The day I had had to put her down was one of the most heartbreaking days of my life. She was my favourite horse, and she knew it. I believe that was due to be a defect from her father, although that was never ascertained. Apart from once, we didn’t breed her because of her weak back end, once we ascertained her infirmity.
Caliente is now 19 going on 20 she is still being ridden by our grandchildren, she has had 2 foals, one of which we still have contact with, and she is doing beautifully as an adult horse being ridden regularly.
Marisol, has been our prolific breeder, three beautiful fillies all of who are doing very well also. Our first foal from Marisol, Alegra was sold to a woman in Queensland after a thorough vet check. All sound when she left us. And from photos I have of her at 2 plus she still was. But 5 years later I received a call from the woman asking us to take her back (reason given she was suffering greatly from the Queensland Itch) believing this to be true, I refunded fully her money before receiving the horse back. Imagine my horror when I receive her back with an exaggerated sway back. We immediately got vet checks on her and several equine masseurs and long-time horse people believe the horse had been injured probably by going over backwards at a formative age in her structural development. To this date we have received no recompense for our horse.
The upside to this part of the story is, we never planned to breed with her because we believed her back would not cope with it excess stress, but God intervened, once when our electric was malfunctioning Casino managed a visit to Alegra and what do you know 11 months later we find a baby colt running around in the paddock with her. Mum and baby both well. That was Alma Llanera.
The farrier Sylvie had said to me “Sue I think Alegra may have cancer with that huge lump on the side of her” two days later she delivered. What a miracle.
VR Reina Real produced a spectacular filly, which sadly died at 8 months old due to a horrendous accident, again broken hearted. And our pride and Joy Principe, now six who is a magnificent specimen of what a Peruvian Paso Stallion should be. He has sired two beautiful foal’s one filly and one colt. Both gorgeous. Sadly we lost Reina due to a severe fetlock injury, which despite our best efforts could not be healed.
We have had one more addition to our family and that is Margarita Sired by a 30 year Peruvian Paso enthusiast and breeder, Bill Horley’s Stallion Andiendo. He would be so happy to know Andy’s legacy lives on though his progeny.
Casino lives on at 27 still looking after his harem, and is completely sound.
Our friend having severe health issues asked us if we would buy her and look after her, and seeing, we had had her for nearly three years we accepted her offer. Another one I especially love. Kelli as I call her has had a spectacular colt by Casino now nearly 3, Raphael, and another colt who is 2years old Sombra, who has breathtaking movement, and body carriage. They have both been gelded and will make excellent riding horses.
Addressing the subject of DSLD. We have studied this disease, and in SOME but not all of the Peruvian horses it is a debilitating degenerative disease.
We believe, and always have, pursued, selective breeding with sound bloodstock albeit it limited. We love our horses, and would challenge anyone to dispute that they are well looked after, cared for, and loved wholeheartedly. Any decision taken is always with the best interest of the horse first and foremost in our mind.
All I can say is we have been blessed, and what a RIDE and journey which we wouldn’t change for the world. .