This little mare was pretty and quick. By the way, I bought one of those cool shoo-fly hanging things that goes on your cinch, like the one hanging from the saddle in the picture below. I got the one with flaxen hair to match the rawhide accents on my saddle and headstall. Using this mare as a lead, Pat maneuvered two other horses around the arena through a variety of obstacles.
Linda Parelli was amazing. Her 17 year old Dutch Warmblood was equally amazing. Linda rode her horse bareback around the arena, jumping him over picnic tables and barrels. After a few rounds of this, she brought her horse to a stop, only to have him spook at something in the crowd, perhaps the applause. She slipped, lost her balance, and hung sideways from his neck. The horse stopped and waited while she righted herself. She chuckled about it. It was a real moment and it was refreshing to see that even Linda Parelli can be caught off guard.
One particularly interesting part of the event was when they brought out four Parelli horsemanship practitioners, to do demonstrations of what the average person can do with Parelli techniques, both on the ground and on the back of a horse. The Paint horse on the right is owned by a certified Parelli instructor. This horse cantered up to her on command from across the arena, and lay down so that she could mount.
This 20 year old girl has owned her 11 year-old Arabian since it was a yearling, and has been doing Parelli with him for 5 years. They had an amazing connection and watching her with her horse was like watching them perform a dance.
The final event of the day was when Pat worked with a "problem" horse that was brought in for the event. This was a 11 year Arabian gelding that although ridden a lot, had a tendency to spook at little things while on the trail, such as a rock. Within an hour, Pat had this horse walking through barrels, over a tarp, and was bouncing a huge exercise ball off of it's back. It had balked and spooked at all of these obstacles at the beginning.
No event would be complete without: shopping! During every intermission, this part of the Expo center was where everyone congregated. I did my fair share of contributing to the Parelli's bankroll. I purchased a ground kit which included: a Horsenality DVD, Seven Games DVD, Liberty DVD (games off of a line) a carrot stick, Savvy String, Halter, and the 12 ft. line, all in a Parelli tote bag. However, besides these purchases, what did I walk away from the day with? Before seeing Parelli live, I had watched maybe two of his shows on the RFD channel. My mom had learned some Parelli from her former instructor. My mom is a first-time horse owner and has only owned her gelding for 10 months. I have been impressed with the many games they have learned together. But I had never really jumped on the "Parelli bandwagon," so to speak. I believe in natural horsemanship, and I enjoy reading and watching a lot of different well-known trainers that use similar techniques in their training and riding. However, after seeing Parelli, I became excited about the three tag lines on the rubber wrist bracelets all attendees received upon entering the event: 1. Live your dream 2. Reveal Your Horse and 3. Discover your potential.
I began to realize there is a lot more that I can be doing with My Boy. And with myself, as a horsewoman. I enjoy working with my horse on the ground as much as riding. But lounging is so boring (both of the Parelli's poked quite a bit of fun at lounging, actually.) Learning and playing the 7 games will be a new challenge for us. As a teen aged horse, it will be good for My Boy to learn something new. It will keep his mind as fresh as his body. I think most attendees probably walked out of the Expo center on Saturday feeling inspired and wanting to hurry home and work with their horses. I know I did. Unfortunately, I was a long way from My Boy. This event was in central Oregon. Which by the way, is absolutely beautiful country.
My parents and I were ready to find a ranch and relocate! I would like to get your opinions. Have you seen a Parelli event? What did you think? What do you think of natural horsemanship in general? Do you use natural horsemanship techniques or follow any particular horseman?
P.S. No cowboys. Well, they were there. But I was too busy watching and learning to pay much attention. Sigh. Maybe next time.