Natural Horsemanship – Parelli Style

As an inexperienced home hobbyist I have understood from the get-go that I would need to acquire a lot of practical knowledge to start my own riding horse. This is a commitment I spent a lifetime hoping to be lucky enough to make. On our ‘Horseman’s Journey’, Mu and I have spent time with the thoughts and practices of a variety of experts in equine training through books, disks and clinics.

The 4 "Horseanality" Archetypes - Original Painting avail. on Etsy

The 4 "Horseanality" Archetypes - Original Painting avail. on Etsy

Recently Mu and I attended a Level Two Clinic west of Lexington, featuring Parelli 3 Star Instructor Jesse R. Peters based out of Ohio. There are many nuanced pathways towards ‘natural horsemanship’, a phrase coined by Mr. Parelli sometime after his own  journeyman’s accomplishments impressed and initiated mentorship experiences with Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt and Ronnie Willis. Since the early 1980’s,  Mr Parelli has made a name for himself as a charismatic proponent for teaching people how to train horses safely and sanely with not a little bit of showmanship. Besides being personable, his methods work! An impressive rider and trainer himself the true gift of his talent lies in his ability to train others to apply the methods he’s embraced or invented. His wife, Linda Parelli, who has gone a long towards making Pat’s lessons accessible to distant learners through books, disks and online resources.

An Intention Extender

An Intention Extender (sold - but you can order your own!)

The icing on the cake for any Parelli enthusiast is to convene with the like-minded during a clinic usually conducted by a professionally certified Parelli Instructor. Though perhaps more of a freelance attendee, I enjoyed my experience being immersed in the Parelli Community for two days and learned to see through some of my own past mistakes, observe horse behavior from a new perspective (using the Parelli ‘horseanality’ chart) as well as observe and practice some of the gentle arts of the Seven Games a series of activities designed to lay a foundation for all subsequent interactions between horse and rider.

5 Interactive Zones (avail. on Etsy)

5 Interactive Zones (avail. on Etsy)

I appreciated Jesse’s talents as a communicator to both people and horses and celebrate the experience with a video I created using footage a clinic auditor and I snagged while participating. The mood of the piece is somewhat ethereal because it is with great reverence I hold such interactions between horses and humans. I find aspects of this hobby of mine to hold within them opportunities for great self-awareness and even inter-species  enlightenment.

The Goal: Partnership!

Besides Parelli, Mu and I have explored and embraced a variety of methods that help bridge gaps in our natural abilities to understand one another. I’ve observed and studied the horse training methods of John Lyons, Chris Irwin, Monty Roberts, Linda Tellington-Jones, Sally Swift, and Pat Parelli from the national level. From my local resources I’ve worked with Susanna Thomas (now Director at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center), Todd Waronicki (Head of Riding Instruction at the KY Horse Park) and Rosemary Taylor who runs the Sunburst Horsemanship School a mile away. I’ve also made a layman’s study of applied animal behavior my entire life and am a happy practitioner of Karen Pryor’s clicker training methodology.

Balanced Partnership Click to enlarge

Balanced Partnership Click to enlarge

A wonderful resource for the collected consideration of natural horsemanship concepts and practitioners is: Miller, Robert M. and Rick Lamb. Revolution in Horsemanship Lyons Press, 2005.

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11 Responses to “Natural Horsemanship – Parelli Style”

  1. LOVE your website! I audited Jesse Peters’ clinics Fri-Mon, AWESOME! So nice to meet everyone…..horses and riders were awesome! (Lately, my favorite word when it comes to PNH). Thanks for sharing your thoughts in such a delightful fashion. Judy Robin

  2. Caroline McCoy Says:

    That was a great video and beautifully edited, showing a great deal of what goes on at a Parelli clinic. You managed to capture some good “understandings” of the PNH idealogy and horse/human interaction.

    I especially am impressed at your entire website. Great job. Your drawings are great!! Have you sent them into PNH? I would think they would love them.

    Good luck on your journey. I myself am about to be certified Level 3, it has been, and will continue to be, one of the most exciting things I have done in my life.

    Here is my L-3 Freestyle Audition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xCTZ0H-04A

  3. AWEsome Carline! You GO, girl! You are my new heroine!!! AND you’re giving me tons of inspiration to stay the course. Thanks for writing!

  4. Michelle Walsh Says:

    Love the video – I coordinate the clinics for Jesse Peters in Michigan and would love to link this video on a website that I am currently building for web based clinic coordination. When you have a moment please contact me via e-mail. Thanks Michelle

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