Peruvian Paso Horses
When Mark and I met, it didn't take long before we discovered that we had a common interest. We both wanted to eventually have a living situation that included horses in our lives. We originally had quarterhorses in mind, but after seeing a local news clip about Peruvian Paso horses that were to perform at the San Mateo County Fair, we decided to go see them. That started it all. After some research, we were convinced that we had found "our" breed of horse. With their lateral four-beat (non-jarring) gait, Peruvian Pasos are easy on their riders' backs. This turned out to be a God-send, as much later, a work-related back injury and a subsequent neck injury, made Peruvians, the only breed of horse that I could possibly hope to ride. We immersed ourselves in all aspects of Peruvian Paso horse culture. We joined local and national breed organizations, we rode in parades (we were the 2-time California State Champion Matched Pair parade team) and we even went to Peru in 2005, to see the traditional approach to breeding, training and raising these beautiful animals. We have bred our Peruvian Pasos and had our herd up to 9 Pasos. These days, our Anatolians occupy much of our time, so our Paso herd is down to 7. We do however, find time to ride our horses around our 110 acre ranch ans we continue to marvel at our horses' spirit and intelligence.
English Shire Horses
One of the largest horses in the world, the Shire originated in the 'Shires' of England and is a descendant of the Old English Black Horse whose ancestors were the 'great horses' of mediaeval times. It stands up to 19 hands, and may be bay, brown, black or grey in color. An immensely strong, big-barrelled horse, with long legs carrying much feather, it nevertheless has a fine head in comparison to its overall size. Despite its great size and strength (an average Shire will weigh 1 ton and is capable of moving a 5-ton load) it is the gentlest of horses and is a good worker in agriculture and as an urban draught horse. With the ever increasing mechanization of the twentieth century, the Shire and other heavy breeds, could easily have been allowed to die out, but fortunately there has in recent times been a great revival of interest in these magnificent animals. No show classes are more popular with spectators than those for the 'heavies'. Shires still work the land in some parts of the country and several brewers use them to pull drays in the city streets.