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Old 02-28-2011, 06:51 PM
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mrose_s mrose_s is offline
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Default So I need to ask... Parelli

Whats the deal? I read enough fuglyblog to understand she is NOT a fan of it.

The woman that trims our horse's feet agists here now, she's helping us with their feet and get my mum back into riding (Lets just call her C). She's into Parelli, at first I was a bit leary because I had heard some pretty negative things about it. She gave us some DVD's to watch featuring Linda Parelli and we sat down and watched some of them and just went "wtf is she doing"
One featured her chasing a horse with one eye around in a circle with metres of rope everywhere under both their feet. We as people couldn't undertsand what she was aiming at let alone the poor horse.

We asked C about it and she did agree that Linda tended to be a bit clueless.

Anyway, I decided I'd just try to look at it objectively and see how it went, we're always her when she's with our horses and we can tell when they are stressing.
I'm impressed with her, I don't know if what she's doing is strictly Parelli anyway because I don't know much about it but I have seen some interesting things.

I think when Steve was here he frightened Malibu int he float the first time she went in by backing her out without a ramp and she got frightened, Mum was furious that he even loaded her without her being there.
Anyway, they took both our girls up to a nearby indoor arena a few weeks ago, C came out a couple of hours early and bought both girls up to practice loading Malibu a few times and getting her comfortable, she spent about 20 minutes guiding her in and ended up bringing Lucy up first to give her some confidence. Malibu got used to it very quickly.

But I think the most interesting thing I've seen is that since Lucy has had a bit of this sort of work with her she's suddenly come alive. When I first met her she had a look in her eyes like she wanted to cry, she had come away from her herd of 15 and was alone, she would barely graze for the first 18 months or so, it was only after we got Malibu that she perked up a bit and she's still always been really aloof with us. I think we have been the first people that have been really kind and fair with her, even Steve once said "Arn't you worried she'll get dangerous if you don't dominate her?" and he was probably the nicest home she's had in her long life.
Anyway, since C has been here and helping us do a bit more with her in a different way to what she has been doing she's suddenly a different horse, she hunts Malibu away so she can come and get attention from us, she has a new light in her eyes and seems so much less shut down.

I dunno, I just thought I'd post this here and get some opinions and ideas from Chazzers. I don't have a real question, I just wanted to see a discussion on this.

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Old 02-28-2011, 07:14 PM
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BostonBanker BostonBanker is online now
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Well, this is a horse topic, and of course you know horse people never have strong opinions on anything

My short answer is that I don't like a lot of the natural horsemanship stuff. It falls into sort of the same category for me as Dog Whisperer, in that I do think there are bits and pieces that are good - but they are the same bits and pieces you can find in almost any training "system", and some of those I agree with a lot more.

We had a Parelli trained instructor (level II maybe? Whatever the second level of it is that they can be trained to teach) work with a woman at our barn for a while, and I am not kidding when I say that it made me cry. The owner was an incredibly kind, loving owner who had gotten her first horse as an adult and got a very dear little paint horse who was definitely dealing with navicular issues. They spun that poor creature in tight circles so long he was head bobbing lame, and yet they kept waiting for him to "give in" or some such nonsense. The horse was "lunging" as I'm sure he's been trained to do his entire life, and "giving in" probably never occurred to him. He just kept doing as he'd been taught like a good little soldier. He could barely get out of his stall the next day when I went to do turnout.

I think that to consider natural horsemanship kinder than other methods is absurd; I think it can be incredibly difficult on them both emotionally and especially physically. It also teaches things that I do not particularly want my horse doing (although I realize that is an individual thing). My horse halts perpendicular to me on the lunge line; I do not want him turning into me ever, nor do I want him spinning away from me to swap directions. I do not desensitize him to the whip, because on the occasions I use it to back up my leg, he'd better not blow it off. And he doesn't ever walk directly behind me, because if it all hits the fan, I don't want him coming over the top of me!

I think the real answer is - find what works for you and your horse. Like anything else, learn every bit you can, and take what you can from it. For what it is worth, the only natural horsemanship person I've seen work and read some stuff from that I actually really liked was John Lyons, and I won't say for a second that I know enough to really "recommend" him. I saw a demonstration he did on teaching horses to "spook in place", and I dare admit I did a bit of his stuff with Tristan over that.

The one thing I like about natural horsemanship in general is that it does encourage people to play with their horses a bit on the ground. I got the same encouragement from clicker training though (poor Tristan - I didn't have a dog when I learned about it, so he was the test bunny!). He's got a dozen tricks up his sleeve, and, to the amazement of everyone who meets him, he's better boundary trained than most dogs; I can leave his stall door opened forever, set up grain out of sight, and he won't put a toe outside the stall - even when people stand behind him and push to try and make him wander out .

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Old 02-28-2011, 07:28 PM
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I love hearing about Tristan, I've been meaning to get out and do some clicker training, particularly with Lucy, she's so bright.

I suppose we just make sure we know our horses and use our heads, nothing I've seen really makes me cringe, I've seen her use rhythmic pulls on Malbu's halter when she's playing up when having her feet done, but considering she has a person sitting under her tummy at the time it is important she doesn't start fidgeting around and it does seem to calm her, before that she got a quick whop up the neck a couple of times in the early days and it just confused her and made her shy for a few days so that got given up pretty quick.

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Old 02-28-2011, 07:29 PM
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What BB said. The "special" carrot stick Parelli sells reminds me of Cesar's water, lol.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:40 PM
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Parelli is similar to CM. The Parelli's are awesome at making money, good at saying other people are all horrible, and not producing anything of note.

For me its not so much that what they do is 'wrong' its that they dupe people out of soooo much money. And never deliver. It doesn't even produce a useful horse in the end.

If I ever wanted lessons in marketing I would take lessons from them in a heart beat. For anything else I wouldn't' go near them for love nor money.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:42 PM
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I haven't seen much of Parelli's stuff, but I did once watch a video of Pat Parelli and I couldn't make it past the first minute or so. Him talking about 'if we can learn to act like a horse' made me vomit just a little. Makes about as much sense to me as getting on my hands and knees to sniff my dogs bum and honestly sounds like something that can turn dangerous.

The horses I worked with were all quite capable of learning to behave the way we wanted while I still acted very much like a human.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:47 PM
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All the Parelli videos I've seen they've looked like morons. The horses always look terrified. Reading accounts of people who have been to their performances are no better.

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Old 02-28-2011, 10:12 PM
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All the reining horse trainers that I've worked with won't touch a "Parelli" trained horse with a ten foot pole -- too much to unteach.

The ground work is o.k.; but so many people will Parelli their horses to death and never get on; then when they sell the horse when they are bored of playing the 7 Games or what-have-you, the horse has a really hard time finding another home; because he is useless.

I had my farrier come out one time to trim Taco and he's a bit of a tool; so when he decided he wasn't going to stand; he'd just lean on her -- she told me she'd work with him to get him to "submit" She stood there and swung a lead rope at him for about 10 minutes -- (he was supposed to move away) -- this was the horse I used to do Prince Phillip games on; lead 20 horse trail rides on and trimmed trees/picked up garbage from his back -- pretty unflappable dude -- the lead rope didn't mean anything to him. I suggested she just slap him in the belly open handed -- he'd get mighty respectful real quick -- apparently that was contrary to the principles of Parelli.


I think some of the exercises have merit, if done by Parelli himself; or someone who has a clue -- but too many people think they are doing the exercises well; but lack timing or follow through; and additionally at some point you probably are going to ask your horse to do rider+horse things, where I find the "games" lack.

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Old 03-02-2011, 08:34 PM
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I wouldn't necessarily lump Parelli in with Natural Horsemanship as a whole--I think that Parelli is in a group all by himself--lol. I see NH as a whole much like I see other training methods--there are pros and cons. I used to work at a boarding barn that hosted a number of NH workshops over the years, and got to see these methods up close. Some of the trainers were very good at what they did, others, not so much. I do like NH methods for groundwork especially.

As far as Parelli himself, I agree that he and CM are cut from the same cloth....

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