I've been with Parelli for 9 years. I started out with it when the carrot stick was a new thing, and right when Pat changed the snaps on the lead ropes (he used to use bull snaps which I hate lol). This was BEFORE the OLD Level 1 came out, the one with VHS tapes. He only had instructional VHS tapes that weren't really that helpful b/c he used horses who already knew everything.
I've seen Parelli (the organization) grow to an amazing thing. The DVDs are absolutely wonderful in the amount of information you get and the quality. Pat has a saying, "Good better best, never let it rest, get your good better and your better best." He takes that principle and applies it to the growth of the organization....they are "improve-aholics" you could say. He and Linda realized that with the OLD Levels packs they were, unintentionally, making students goal oriented, direct lined, critical monsters...it was very task oriented (yes indeed it was) and when the person got to, say Level 3 (especially in the riding areas) you would see a lot of ear pinning and displaced behaviors from the horses, and a lot of stiffness from the person (physical and mental tension). Pat and Linda noticed this, so they did research on how people learn and deal with fear, etc. etc. and came out with the NEW Levels packs (minus Level 3). It was more in depth, focused way more on horse psychology and really hit home key points for success. I, as an advanced Level 2 student at the time with my first horse, found some holes in my Level 1 foundation. Once I fixed that, my success went way up.
So being "improve-aholics" they listen to their student's feedback and ideas, as well as their challenges and what would make things easier. That's where you see the Liberty and Horse Behavior pack (which is FABULOUS!), the Success Series, all that.
The Patterns were a huge hit. That's basically Pat's blueprint for any horse's foundation for performance....personally my horse and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! lol. I suggest that to anyone coming into the program. It keeps you interesting for your horse and really helps advance your skills quickly.
People wanted more....they voiced that they wanted to see, exactly, what Pat expects of us at certain stages in our development as horseman. So now they've released their BRAND NEW Levels packs which is Levels 1-4. I do not have it yet but I have friends who do and they say it's brilliantly done. I believe it.
I personally have loved watching Pat and Linda grow in their own personal skills. Pat has way more finesse than he used to (he was always pretty darn amazing to begin with) and it's an inspiration to me to look back and see the huge changes Linda has made.
I love the changes the program has made. It really sets students up for success and helps them feel very supported. It's an extremely positive program and the majority of people you meet (especially at a Parelli tour stop) are so amazingly positive, happy, friendly, supportive...it's a true sense of family at a tour stop. For me at least.
Pat and Linda themselves are not the ones in charge of prices. That is Mark Weiler's doing. I do not like the man at all. I met him at the Celebration last year and he comes across as very arrogant....IMO it was a mistake for Pat and Linda to give him 51% of the company. He has helped, no doubt, spread the word of Parelli and all that stuff, but that doesn't make me like him. Pat is not out for money. If you hear him talk at a tour stop, and really, truly listen to him, you can feel the love he has for horses and his students. He does this to help horses and humans come together in a partnership, that is his passion. I have personally had a lesson with Pat, last year at the Celebration when my horse and I participated in the Savvy Spotlight, and he was a phenominal teacher. He knew exactly what needed to happen, what I needed to do, and what he showed me has completely changed my play session with my horse, on the ground and riding.
I know this is an old post, but I just discovered this forum and became a member today.
I love your answer here, Spirithorse. It's so great to praise and be open-minded. I have seen the old DVDs and loved them. I've just purchased the set of new DVDs - the Four Savveys, and am really looking forward to watching all of them to re-evaluate what I've been practicing for 22 years. I've just started on the first Disc.
My only problem with any of these - and it's MY problem, not Parelli - is that I am a Left Brain Introvert, and I have to force myself to pay attention, so I don't miss anything. LOL
I also follow Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, and find that combining Parelli methods combined with Hempfling's body language really puts me in balance emotionally as well as calm mentally and physically too.