I just spent my weekend at the 2007 Love Language Leadership Parelli Tour. This time, I even got my husband, who is not that interested in horses, to go with me. He was impressed and interested for the entire time he was there.
Pat and Linda Parelli not only teach people how to develop great relationships with their horses they put on a great show as well. There is not much more fun than watching a three year old jumping out of her skin with excitement as she watches a pair of miniature horses race around an arena at liberty doing things you’d think impossible, such as leap over barrels that are higher than their heads.
Apparently most people think the Parelli program is about training horses. It isn’t. It is all about training people. I think I was more fortunate in that by the time I went to my first Parelli event I’d been a professional horseman for nearly thirty years. I knew who was being trained and it wasn’t the horses.
For thirty-five years I kept searching for something I just knew had to be out there. Something I’d dreamed of since I was a small child sitting on a fat paint Shetland being led around a small pen. My dream was to have a loving respectful relationship with my horses. And for thirty-five years that dream eluded me.
Twelve years ago sitting out in a field on a cold, damp, windy, miserable day I re-discovered my dream. There I watched as a Parelli certified instructor took a group of some of the most dangerous horses I’d ever seen, some of the most clueless people I’d ever met, and in two days bonded them into the partnership I’d been told over and over again was impossible.
I must confess it looked a lot easier than it turned out to be. I bought equipment offered for sale, and still have it because it is good stuff, a book explaining the Parelli Horse Man Ship program and went home to the four horses that lived with me. I began with Bel, a Section B Welsh mare, I’d bought for my daughter to show. She’s a cute little red roan of impeccable breeding and was fairly well trained by anyone’s standards.
Two hours after putting the Parelli halter on her I was in tears, something that had not happened to me since my teens. This business of playing games with your horse was a lot harder than it looked when an experienced practitioner was guiding a person through it. I am nothing if not persistent when it involves horses. I kept at it and eventually reached the point where I have a whole barn full of horses who will mob you to be first when it comes time to be with a person. As for Bel, well she isn’t fairly well trained anymore. She is the pony most people only dream of owning.
Pat and Linda Parelli work diligently to improve their programs and presentations. Now it is much easier to learn how to use what they’ve created. It is easier to develop that wonderful partnership with a horse. And more and more top horsemen are joining the parade. The tour demonstrates, once again, they are on the cutting edge of creating the bond so many of us dreamed of having with our horses when we first read The Black Stallion or saw Trigger and Roy Rogers on TV.