There is one tomorrow in Port Clinton, OH. . .I won't be able to make it, but am curious about him after seeing some interviews with him recently.
I like the fact that he doesn't emphasize gait as much as foundation stuff. I always kind of felt that way. . .that no matter what a horse is intended for, it needs a good foundation before moving on.
However, a lot of people I've found myself surrounded by. . .especially in the gaited community. . .focus so much on gaits, and going fast and smooth, that they don't take the time to teach their horses some pretty basic concepts.
I'm talking REALLY basic, like steering and stopping. They just put a harsh bit in the mouth and ride flat, open trails where they won't have to do much steering.
They sneer at things like "dressage training" or ground work, and sometimes I cannot blame them because so many trainers in other disciplines kind of alienate gaited horses and their owners. They don't know what to do with horses that don't trot or jog, or they go so far as to say that gaited horses are for people who "don't know how to sit the trot," or some other snide comment.
And gaited horse owners alienate themselves from those other disciplines because of all the fears and rumors that "making a horse do that will ruin the gait." I have friends with gaited horses who refuse to canter them because they insist it will ruin the gait. Never mind that their horse canters and plays all over the field during turnout. . .they're convinced that riding a horse in anything but a four-beat gait will ruin it. So, that leaves me to wonder if it's more of a rider issue than a horse issue.
I may look into Whitesell's program a little more, just to satisfy my own curiousity about how he manages to bridge that gap that has developed between gaited horses and "the rest" of the horse world.
"Parelli horsemanship is just like painting by the numbers. You need absolutely no skill. You just put this color here and this color there, and when you're done, you have ... a mess no one wants." mp