Parelli Natural Horsemanship is one of the most popular horse programs ever conceived. Hour 2 of this week’s radio show is a classic interview with Pat and Linda Parelli in which they give us a behind-the-curtain peak at how their system developed. They talk about their teachers, their struggles and those “ah ha!” moments when their understanding reached new levels. Of the many interviews I’ve done with them, this is one of my favorites.
I got my first glimmer of understanding about natural horsemanship from a demo Pat Parelli did about 13 years ago. I can’t say I’m a Parelli student in the technical sense, but since that day I’ve certainly studied their work, attended numerous events, and even bought a couple of their horses. I’ll admit, I’ve had special access. Friendship aside, I think they have a lot to offer, and if I had to sum up their strengths up in one word, it would be organization.
There is no doubt that Pat Parelli is a fine horseman, but that isn’t what makes him a key player in this modern revolution in horsemanship. It’s his ability to communicate intangibles in ways that people understand that makes him important, for at its heart, this revolution is really a revolution in communication.
So much about reading and riding horses comes down to the feel of the moment. How do you teach that to someone? It’s akin to describing a sunset to a blind man. Yet, somehow Pat has done that without oversimplifying or diminishing the wonder of this creature. Furthermore, he’s managed to put the concepts in an order that makes them comprehensible to the student. In other words, he’s given this swirling mass of ideas organization. No small feat.
Then along comes Linda, who has taken Pat’s work to still higher levels with her own contributions to both the substance and the presentation. Make no mistake. Both are important if you want to be engage and empower students.
Is the Parelli system right for everyone? Probably not. But it’s a Godsend for beginners looking for a step-by-step, enjoyable, safe, and effective approach for working with their horses. Plus, among the tens of thousands of Parelli students, there is a sense of community that is hard to come by. And that, my friends, ain’t hay.
I hope you enjoy the interview.