Category Archives: Campaigns

Be prepared for the unthinkable, by thinking about it!

Today I went to visit the class at the Parelli Center here in Florida and spent an hour with them talking about their breakthroughs and realizations.  We ended the class with a great question and answer session.

As the result of one question I was able to tell the story of how I helped a student at our Colorado Center make a breakthrough.  She took part in our weekend Parelli Games days and everything went wrong.  She was upset, frustrated and now felt stuck.  She was afraid of things going horribly wrong again the next time and wondered what she had done wrong.

In talking with her I found out that she’d had great expectations of what the day was going to be like – she’d do the tournament tasks with her horse, have a lot of fun and really be able to show how well things were going.  But the opposite happened, everything fell apart and her horse went crazy.

So I told her what was wrong – she had been expecting the best and when things went wrong she didn’t have any strategies to automatically put into action.  She needed to do the opposite – instead of visualizing how perfectly and positively everything was going to go, she had to imagine everything going horribly wrong and in great detail.  She was shocked – how was that going to work?

Simple.  First of all you won’t be taken by surprise, and best of all you’ll know what to do if things start to go awry.  You see, you have to think about what could go wrong and then mentally rehearse what to do about it.

That’s what Pat and I do.  We think about the situation and then prepare for it.  We mentally prepare for every single stupid thing that could go wrong and by doing that we know how to avoid it or address it quickly before it turns into anything big.  Most of the preparation is done way before we get there – we work on ourselves and we play with our horses with the destination in mind and an awareness of all the potential problems along the way.

I once heard the expression that a straight line is nothing but a curve with a series of three degree corrections.  Same with horsemanship, you’re constantly setting it up, fixing it, preventing it… it’s not like sitting on a train and expecting to arrive at the destination without exerting any effort!  That’s why it’s called riding and not sitting… and it’s also why the pursuit of true horsemanship is an art.  That’s why this is way more than riding, way more!  It’s a mental, emotional, physical and philosophical journey of self discovery and growth.  I don’t know about you, but I LOVE this journey.  Every day I wake up and feel a sense of excitement about what I might learn today.

Naturally Yours,
Linda P.

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The Four Savvys

The Four Savvys is Pat’s blueprint for horses and riders over four levels and in four areas of study, both on the ground and riding. One of the best things about the Four Savvys is that you are less likely to overdo your horse with too much ground skills or too much riding. Instead, you get to balance the relationship both on the ground and on the horse’s back.

There are two ways to be on the ground or riding. On the ground, you can play On Line or at Liberty. You start on an actual line (we call it On Line) so you can use feel and guide the horse as well as keep him near you. It’s like working with a net!

When it comes to Liberty, it’s all about playing with no strings attached, so it tests your communication skills, body language and strength of the bond – all the things you try to build On Line first. I think one of the best things about having On Line and Liberty is that if you don’t ride or you have young horses that can’t be ridden, it gives you so many opportunities to have fun and develop a horse.

When riding, there are two distinct styles that we teach:  FreeStyle and Finesse. FreeStyle is all about riding on a casual rein, learning how to balance without hanging on the reins and giving your horse responsibilities such as don’t change gait or direction. It really teaches the horse to use his brain and not be a puppet. It’s relaxing and more fun, for both horse and rider.

Finesse is more about riding with precision and developing collection. You ride with contact and learn how to be particular, yet more graceful and polished as a rider. It also teaches the horse how to become more physically balanced and collected, using his back and hindquarters for power and engagement. FreeStyle makes you a rider; Finesse makes you a polished rider!

When I go to play with my horse, sometimes I only play on the ground – mostly at Liberty these days unless I take him jumping logs and moving out in the playground, but mostly I ride. So I’m playing in 2 or 3 Savvys sometimes. It makes it more interesting and I tend to get more creative, as well as more thoughtful about what I’m doing and where I’m going with my horse as we advance. And now that I am studying the art of riding with precision with dressage master, Walter Zettl, I find it more important than ever to keep a balance in the Four Savvys instead of getting over-focused in Finesse.

I’m often asked about logic and theory behind the Four Savvys because a lot of people think it’s cool to play at Liberty or to ride Finesse. Many times, people will want to start at the top with the most challenging things or it’s something they are really interested in so they subject their horse to it! I think Pat has it so well thought out, that On Line leads to Liberty, On Line and Liberty lead to FreeStyle success, and On Line, Liberty and FreeStyle lead to Finesse.  If you want to become a horseman, that’s the way to do it!

Naturally Yours,
Linda

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2009 HSUS Demo Horses

Pat and I believe that the best way to show how quickly and effectively the Parelli approach works is to use demo horses in our shows.  We teach the horse and our students the value of using love, language and leadership; when in horse-ville, we do as horses do rather than as humans do!

Throughout the 2009 Celebrations, Parelli partnered with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to a local pick rescue horse which Pat played with for three days. After each Celebration, the horse was put up for adoption. All horses at this year’s Celebrations have been adopted!  This was just the beginning of our partnership and it truly showed how the Parelli method can successfully be used to retrain rescue horses and make them a welcomed addition to any home.

There is so much we can do as horse-lovers to prevent abuse. Some horses are deliberately mistreated, but millions are unintentionally abused simply through lack of knowledge. I remember when I first went to one of Pat’s clinics, I could not believe that what I was doing to my horse was actually scaring him! I just had no idea; I only wanted good will for him.
There are simple basics to learn about these animals from a psychological perspective that is not common knowledge. Horsemen need to know what’s important to their partner, learn how to communicate on their terms and maybe there won’t be so many failed relationships. The horse is usually the one that gets the blame – “he’s no good, a problem, stupid…” – and yet when a that horse comes into our hands, or the hands of one of our students, miraculously, he is no longer a problem!

Click here to read more about our partnership with The HSUS.  Do you have an inspirational story to share about your horse?  I would love to hear about it.

Naturally Yours,
Linda

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2009 UK Celebration at New LG Arena at the NEC

We are so excited about our celebration in the UK this year!  We had the best time touring the US and meeting our fans and if that is a preview of what the UK will be, WOW is all I have to say!  One of the most exciting things about this year’s celebration is that Pat and I will have our top horses there. It is hard to show the relationship that we have developed with our own horses when we use others, so it is a real treat to play with our own animals. Speaking for myself, Remmer is so special to me. We’ve learned a lot together and he has taught me so much.  This is the third time our horses will make the trip, and most likely the last for Remmer and Magic.

It is an honor hearing how amazed people are with the connection we have. And when people see it and believe it then they know they can achieve it!  It has always been my dream to have the kind of relationship where your horse runs to you when he sees you… there’s so much love and connection, and yet you can really reach for the performance heights too. I would love to hear about your dreams with your horse and what you are doing to achieve them!

There is no other show that we do that has quite the same atmosphere as the UK Celebration. The LG arena at the NEC is an incredible venue and it was just remodeled – the pictures I have received from our UK team are stunning!  The show is an experience in itself – a specially constructed and lit arena, the sound, lights, video screen, and thousands of passionate horse lovers and Parelli fans from the UK and all over Europe! Needless to say, I get quite emotional when we first blast into the arena.
I invite you to join us for our only show in Europe this year! You can check out our website for tickets http://www.parelli.com/content.faces?contentId=189.

Naturally Yours,
Linda Parelli

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