Yes, I have been involved in Parelli for awhile. I got into it when I was 12, so I really didn't "start doing Parelli" for a few years...but I knew the very very very basics of it. Once I really started studying it and getting serious is when I started making progress. However with school, lots of moving, lack of facility, and life in general got in the way of my progress. This is not an excuse, I don't make excuses, it's just straight fact. Once I actually had the time (but not facility) to focus on my horsemanship my first Levels horse started going blind. Even through all that we were still playing in Level 4 ground work, Level 3 riding. That's when I got Arie. Are you familiar with Arie's past? It was pretty bad. He was pushed VERY hard in eventing training and still goes to that "dark place" every now and then, hence why he still becomes unconfident with jumping (with a rider). He jumps 3 ft. without a rider and never refuses. He has come leaps and bounds since I got him....he couldn't even walk over a ground pole confidently when I got him.
I might not be competing YET, but I do plan to because Arie has loads of potential. I just have a different way of getting to that goal than some people :) Do I think I've gotten my moneys worth? You bet. Just because I'm not in the show ring YET doesn't mean I'm not successful. Each time I work with a new horse, or advance a horse's skills, I am successful because I've done it in a way that works FOR the horse and that has put my principles before my goal. In turn the horse offers me more try, more play, more obedience, more heart. Parelli is not natural for people. That's why a lot of people don't like it. It's uncomfortable and can challenge people's comfort zones as far as what they think they knew about horses....a lot of people don't like change. However in order to become "balanced" we need to be open and willing to all these things....we need to be open to learning.
IMO Parelli outlines a great pathway to success for those of us interested in performance. All the skills I practice with Arie online, at Liberty and riding Freestyle I absolutely feel the difference when I finally pick up the reins and ask Arie for more. I DO expect a lot of Arie each time I work with him, if not our sessions don't go well. He NEEDS to be challenged....I NEED to take him to the limit (mentally) but not over the limit. That's how I keep his mind with me. Otherwise I'm boring. Horses like my Rango, who was a total extrovert, was easy in the sense that he was always ready to go, ready to try, naturally very playful, LOVED attention....where Arie can go between introvert and extrovert, needs a reason to do what I'm asking, can take or leave attention from me, is very independent and dominant and still battles negative opinions of people. He is VERY challenging and he has pushed me to learn more and to become who HE needs me to be....not a certain mold, but who he as an individual needs me to be as his leader. It's completely differernt from Rango. The biggest reward with Arie has been seeing his play drive come up. He's so playful now and WANTS to play with me which is HUGE for him. The smallest, seemingly insignificant things are the huge successes with us....but those small things are the foundation to the "fancy stuff" that we will eventually do.