Peruvian Paso Working Cowhorse

“Philosophy; the Love of Wisdom, better still, the other way around.” David E. Bates MD.

Early this year one of the organizers of the National Peruvian Horse Show called me to ask if I could bring one of our Peruvian horses to Fort Worth in October and “Do that cow horse demonstration that you used to do. We want to show that Peruvians can do more than just go around and around the arena smoothly.”  I replied that the horse who used to do that had died, and all I had were a bunch of young, very green Peruvians. I told her I’d see what I could do.

Sorting through half a dozen colts and fillies, I settled on one chestnut gelding. He was a little bigger than the others and though green and a bit spooky, I’d ridden him in the pasture checking cows and fences. He was also pretty smoothly gaited. Interestingly his name was the same as his predecessor – Alejandro!

We started a program of daily work and he caught on fairly well. He learned to gallop (not easy for one as well gaited as he) and he learned seat bone, leg, and rein cues enough to do the Peruvian reining test called the enfrenadura. He began turning on his own and actually laying his ears back in response to working the cattle in the the arena. He even dealt with the use of the lariat rope. I felt he was ready, so I called in to say that we would do the demonstration.  We loaded Alejandro and two of our Corriente roping steers in the trailer and headed for Fort Worth in the middle of October. Saturday night arrived. Our demonstration started with Peruvian music and a version of the enfrenadura.  I was wearing the traditional Peruvian hat and poncho covering typical cowboy clothing and tack.  At a break in the music I removed the poncho and sombrero, revealing the traditional cowboy garb beneath, donned a cowboy hat and rode toward the gate to petition for the cow.  When the two steers trotted into the arena, the crowd’s reaction was beyond my expectation: a low inhalation of breath and a murmur rippled across the stands.  The music changed to the rip roaring country song “The race is on” by Sawyer Brown.  Alejandro moved the steers, split them, worked them “down the fence” and then circled them in mid arena to a standstill! The steers then proceeded to bring the show to a standstill with their own grandstanding performance—refusing to leave the arena! Two more horses and about half a dozen “feet people” later, the two steers finally  informed us of which gate they desired to be let out and we gladly complied! All in all, whether or not it was classy or informative, it was sure fun, and got a good crowd reaction! And as of yet, I haven’t yet been excommunicated from the Peruvian Club or the John Justin Arena!

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