Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Higgins, TX. YeeHaw!!
The Parelli program started out (years and years ago) as a decent program for newer or inexperienced people to start to learn how to read a horse and understand them a little better. However, it has evolved into this circus act with a big price tag. It is not about truely understanding your horse and accomplishing harmony so much as it is about seeing how many tricks you can get your horse to do and how impressive they look to people that know even less than you do. I am a long way from an expert but I have a pretty decent start. Most of what I know, I learned from my Dad, who successfully trained show and non-show horses for decades in many disciplines from reining, working cow horse, WP, roping, trail, and even trained a jumper or hunter here and there. He can turn out a calm horse that will win a junior reining class in 60 or sometimes 30 days if the horse has a good mind and sound body. Many years ago, he was asked to put on a 'clinic' so that people could know how he accomplished his "amazing feats of horsemanship". He talked to a crowded arena for about an hour and afterward, many of the people came up to him and called him liar and fraud because he had wasted their precious time. He didn't try to sell gimicks, he didn't say "Get this halter and lead and you will succeed". He simply talked about his philosophy and how he really did things. He told them that you can ride a horse the first day of training and teach them to neckrein and sidepass in a week, help them to collect themselves and move properly in less than a month if you just learn how to read them and push them just a little bit. You don't need 30 days of groundwork before introducing the saddle to build a connection with your horse and pushing them out of their comfort zone won't hurt them or freak them out.
People who don't understand horses want to believe that they are terribly complicated creatures because they want a reason why they don't understand them. They want to believe that training a horse has to be this big complex mathematical equation that has an answer 3 pages long and takes months to solve even the simplest part of the equation. In most disciplines, it will take years to have a horse completely trained but you can bet that 99% of the trainers in those disciplines don't spend a month just letting a horse run circles at liberty in the roundpen or make them jump over barrels with their noses in the air and back hollowed out. People want to be involved in something that makes them feel like they are part of the superior group and because they don't understand the true mechanics of the horse, they are drawn to the flashiest display. Kinda the same reason that rednecks are drawn to beer cans and bass boats. All "OOOOH, pretty.......shiny" on the outside but they don't stop to think that inside its nothing more than fiberglass or brain cell killer. And of course, the old understanding that the most expensive thing absolutely must be the best thing because it's the most expensive, right? Their whole program is teaching novice riders how to "train" their horses but 99.9999% of the time, novice riders have no business training a horse to do anything. I had been riding for 15 years on different kinds and levels of horses before I jumped in and trained my first one from scratch. And 'lo and behold, I screwed it up. I still screw up occasionally but I am learning under the watchful eye of someone who knows **** well what I need to be doing and can correct me right then and there if I am doing it wrong. That isn't something you get from a DVD or a chat room and that's why so many of those horses aren't travelling correctly or responding correctly. If a problem pops up and isn't discussed in the little TV training session, it's just "In just 3 weeks and for just 29.95, we'll have a DVD out to you that will help you solve said problem". They fail to mention that if the solutions on that DVD don't fix the problem there are 3 or 4 more DVDs that are guaranteed to work.
They count on catching the eye of the ignorant and uninformed with fancy tricks and matching tack and coaxing them to spend nearly every penny they earn on gadgets and gimmicks and DVD's with a guarantee that they will become master horsemen. I have browsed the Parelli site a couple times just trying to figure out what the big deal is and for the prices they charge to get all the stuff it takes to create a bracey, unbalanced horse, I could probably send a horse to train with Shawn Flarida and get back a world champion reining horse (in half the time).
Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/