Parelli - The Truth
I have read so many comments about Parelli, mostly about it being expensive, taking too long, dangerous, good for beginners etc etc. Well, the truth is far deeper than anything I have read. I have spent the past 8 years dedicated to this more than anything else in my life. I have spent way more than 20 hours a week, for over 8 years, studying, watching dvds, playing with my horses, taking numerous clinics, and even spending thousands more dollars to travel great distances to attend clinics in Pagosa, at the hub of Parelli. What a waste of 8 years and thousands of dollars. If I can keep at least one person from making the same mistake I made, the time and money I spent will have been worth it.
People claim that Pat and Linda have been caught up in the corporate end of things, as though they were victims, and had no say in the choices they made. WRONG! They knew who Mark Weiler was and they know who Sara Johnson is (the new Cheif Operating Officer) and they signed them up, with open eyes. Mark came to Pat and Linda with his plan, which was to go after the rich only! That was why their prices went so high. OOPS, the plan did not work and business began going badly. They had to make some drastic marketing changes, not for the good of the horse or their students, but only to convince you to buy more products and line their pockets. Mark Weiler has actually had the guts to apologize to the Parelli team and take responsibility for their initial downfall. Then, along came Sara. Sara was Clinton Anderson's marketing Guru, the one who managed all of his products. I wish I could tell you how they managed to get her, given that Pat and Clinton are enemies but I guess you should keep your enemies close, right.
Anyways, it has been said that Sara models her bad behavior after Pat. Pat treats people very badly and Sara does to. I have heard her called Bitch more times than I can count. What amazes me is that people keep tolerating it. Oh yes, that is because people don't know about it. I wonder if Sara will also model having an affair like others at Parelli. Pat and Mark, I think you know who I mean.
Parelli rules with fear. Instructors especially, are not allowed to tell the truth. I encourage you to find some ex-instructors for more information and to validate what I am telling you. Oh, buy the way, I am an ex-instructor and that is why I am free to share. What I mean about them ruling by fear is that if an instructor speaks up, their membership is terminated. No questions asked, no money returned, no thank-you's for the blood sweat and tears. Fear is a powerful motivator and rather than putting the relationship first, Parelli puts the fear of "god" into its instructors to behave.
Speaking of God, all students (future instructors), when taking the Fast Track, are expected to follow the acronym: WWPD (what would Pat do?). Pat Parelli ithinks of himself on par with Jesus. The phrase "What would Jesus do?" (often abbreviated to WWJD) became popular in the United States in the 1990s and as a personal motto for adherents of Evangelical Christianity who used the phrase as a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus through the actions of the adherents. If that is not enough evidence of how egotistical this man is, I don't know what else to tell you.
Instructors are also trapped into spending more and more money, year after year. Licensing fees are now up to $1400 annually (last year it was $1100, the year before $900). When will it stop. All that gets you is the legal right to use their logo and to put your name on their website. Woo Hoo! After the licensing fees, then come the insurance fees, the continuing education fees....oh yes, instructors are obligated to put in time teaching at the campus, all at their cost, unless you are a higher level instructor, then you get some pay for it. Although you are not available for teaching your own students. Don't forget attending tour stops, Savvy Conferences, Instructor Conferences. They tell you it is voluntary, and then they have you submit all of your Parelli related activities in a monthly log....oh yes, big brother is watching. If you do not submit oodles and oodles of activities, they treat you lesser than. Good luck obtaining a scholarship, something they advertise continually. Or, unless you know someone at Corporate. I know an instructor who received a 100% scholarship because he knew Ann Kiser, not because of any qualifications. I guess the adage of "who you know" applies at Parelli as well. The unfortunate part of this is that this man could afford to pay the fees, while others, who were not given scholarships, could not.
And Ann Kiser was supposedly one of only 3 paid employees of the new Parelli Educational Institute, along with her husband, and Lori, who would run the show. How come Ann is no longer with Parelli? How come Parelli continually loses their best peolple and instructors? Did Ann too have a run in with Sara? I know of a higher level instructor who is considering leaving because of her run ins with Sara. Sara was the one who chopped me. Who else has been her victim.
Now lets talk about the Fast Track. It is 4 weeks of little instruction, that is supposed to accelerate your learning to Level 4. What a joke. The first day, is a 1/2 day, because of orientation, the next 3 days are testing, and the last day of the first week, you meet with mentors and put up a plan for the following week. The last week there are only 4 days, because one day is graduation and leaving the premises and within this four days are a couple more days of testing. The other two Fridays are also meet with mentor days and so, you get approximately 9 - 10 days of actual instruction. Hmmmm, how interesting. You should look up the cost of those 9 days.
Then there is the "Refining Level 3/4" course. That was the final straw for me as I could not take their deceptions any more. The course listed numerous tasks and concepts that we would be covering that really are a part of Level 3 and 4. I needed some official scoring to continue teaching as an instructor (more on that later) and with what they advertised, I was quite certain that the few things I needed to tweek and add would be covered. Let me see, I was after flying lead changes, positive expressions, light responses etc. What I got was, tying knots, tying the halter, throwing out the 45' line (on the ground) and winding it up again. All Level 1 and 2 tasks. We also go numerous video clips (mostly unrelated and comical), not to mention breaks that were 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. This course was run by Tina Giadano and it was run badly. There was no acceleration of Level 3 and 4. I asked for my money back, numerous times, and was flatly refused. And Parelli has a policy that all instructors are obligated to give a 100% refund if a student is dissatisfied. I was dissatisfied. Finally Sara (the COO) told me that her decision was final and that I would not get any money back and that my emails would no longer be responded to, by anybody. So I decided to post on Parelli Connect that I was dissatisfied by their decision and that Parelli did not follow their own policies. Sara cancelled my membership, right then and there. I think she was looking for an excuse to do so and she found one because the truth is not allowed to be posted.
I found out afterwards, from someone who used to work at Corporate, that it is common policy to falsely advertise so that more people would enroll. Usually the people who enroll are lower level students and so team leaders will then teach to the majority of who show up, regardless of what they are supposed to be teaching.
As I mentioned earlier, the Fast Track did little to prepare students for accelerated horsemanship or becoming an instructor, which is what you needed to pass in order to be accepted into the instructor program. And yet they eagerly took student's money, those that passed and were willing to pay the fees, allowed them into the instructor course and subsequently allowed them into the field. Well, guess what, for the first time in Parelli history, calls were coming in the the instructors were not very good. What a surprise. Parelli's plan to rectify the situation, take away the ability to teach until all 1 and 2 star instructors had achieved their Official Level 4s. There was no grand-fathering for people who had already paid and had already been teaching. And then they had the gall, to claim that WE had adopted a "Victim Mentality" because we complained about it. Parelli does not care about people, only money. I can cite so many examples of poor treatment that I would be here for days. Please believe me. There are others out there who can validate the things I say. Just ask around.
I read one post from someone who was surprised that Pat never mentioned Ray Hunt. Actually, he has, but not very often. The thing is, Ray Hunt hated Pat Parelli. There are many people who knew this and I am surprised the writer, who Ray visited, did not. I believe that Tom Dorrance also came to the end of his rope with Pat, but Tom was a gentle, quiet man, who would not publicly denounce Pat. Most respected clinicians out there today have no time for Pat Parelli and his rudeness, his constant need for attention and his greediness. These clinicians are about the horse and how you can get on the best with them. If you want some names, let me know and I can make some recommendations on where you can accelerate your horsemanship. (I will not use the term natural horsemanship anymore because it too has become overused. What is the most natural thing for a horse to do in the face of danger....to run! So what is natural about asking them to keep their feet still? What we are wanting to learn is safe and confident horsemanship, not natural horsemanship. And following the Parelli method will cost you greatly in blood, sweat and tear, and lots of money. Way too much money, for very little return.
These are comments from people that I personally know but I will not use their names for obvious reasons:
I learned more from Janiece in 3 days than in 10 years of Parelli.
I learned more from Jonathan in 5 hours than in the "4-week" Fast Track (in Pagosa)
I learned from Buck Brannaman that Parelli had taught my horse to be dull.
I learned more at McGinnis Meadows, in 5 days, than I learned with Parelli in 5 years.
My own experience, I learned more in 8 months of studying under wonderful horsepeople than I learned in 8 years of Parelli, at only a fraction of the cost.
I have heard from other people that there is more back-stabbing and criticizing in the Parelli program than anywhere else. I have experienced this first hand. 5 Star Canadian instructor Don Halladay came up to a new instructor and warned her to stay away from "his" students. How is it that he can claim ownership over people. Oh wait, isn't that what Parelli stands for, ownership of people?
So, all of that aside, what about the methods. How come when the original program was out (in VHS format) very few people completed and many dropped out. Marketing had to make changes and much was eliminated and then Linda became the central focus, and Stephanie Burns and the program became all about fear. Then the complaints came in that the program was no longer Pat, but Linda. So, marketing had to make changes again and bring Pat back. This time, they took out almost everything and have given you a very bare bones product, with a cheaper price, so that you would be convinced to buy it, perhaps actually get through it, buy more, get through more, buy more.....and on it goes.
The changes were not about what was good for the horse. The basic principals of how to deal with horses has never changed so why has the program changed so much. Not because of what they want you to know, but because of what can be sold to you. Do you not see how you are only pawns and wallets. If you want to learn about your horse, develop a relationship with your horse, and accelerate your horsemanship, please study elsewhere. You will be grateful that you did. I regret that time and money I gave to these people for they did not care about my journey.
Please, copy this entry, send it to everyone you know. I want this to go worldwide. I want people to know the truth. And this is only a fraction of what has gone on. If you have more info, add it and pass it on. Lets stop this before other people get ripped off!
There are many who are in Parelli who speak positively about it and I used to be one of those. I wore blinders and used to judge others for not "getting it" like I did, and a few Parelli friends around me. Funny thing is, these same friends are also studying under the same people that I now study under and are also finding their horsemanship accelerating. Those of you who are for Parelli, you just don't know what you don't know....Yet!
I used to be Parelli, and then my brains came in!
Wow. I never really followed that Parelli, Clint Anderson, or any of those. To me theyre just people with different techniques that dwell in "natural" training. Nice to know other peoples opinions too! But theyres always going to be leaders and followers in this world. Most people follow Parelli because they don't know where else to turn for leadership.
Wow, you're really bitter about the Parellis, aren't you?
I've known for years the Parellis were just smoke and mirrors, expensive gadgets, and had a cult-like following, but I don't begrudge them making money.
If people are going to get their panties in a wad about being taken for suckers, they should be angry at themselves. Nobody forced you to give up your money to follow them, and now that you've become disenchanted you want to take them down? Sorry, but they're still allowed to make money as long as people are willing to buy what they're selling.
You finally figured out the scam. Good for you. But there are others who think the system works, and they should be allowed to continue without harassment from the disillusioned.
I'm not a big NH person for this reason: it's gone corporate. It's not a one method fits all deal. In my experience NH trainers and people (regardless of that methods founder) have looked down on other training methods as being cruel and such. I forget which trainer it was but he preached and argued against bits at all and made a fortune on his bitless bridle.
IMO 'Natural Horsemanship' is reading your horses language and understanding what works for him in addition to being a good and fair rider. It's not about how much groundwork you do (though that's important too!) or about how you get the result that you do (not allowing cruelty here lol). Or for that matter what equipment you do or do not use. It's ultimately about your connection and ability to read your horse. JMHO (I'm in no way saying NH is wrong by the way! It's a form of training and I'm not going to condemn its practitioners by saying their cruel or can't train a horse. I'm using my post in the context of extremists and people only out for coporate gain! ;-) )
I think you hit the nail on the head with Parelli OP
What I seem to be learning is that the higher the levels one attains the greater the arrogance. Just because one attains instructor status doesn't mean one can teach. When a horse will jump a barrel or picnic table, and jump thro a hoop when does it turn into common circus tricks. When a horse learns something, it's there for life and there's no point in doing these things repetitively or the horse's brain shuts down. We need to step back and decide which challenge we can offer. My opinion of the use of any type of whip is of some mental stress to the horse. Why does PP teach that the spot that was tapped must now be rubbed. It doesn't make a lick of difference to the horse whether it's done or not, in fact the horse would rather the stick took a walk.
I'm certainly not a big Parelli fan, but I suspect you'd influence more people by discussing specific training shortcomings than a screed about ego & money.
As Speed Racer said, you are really bitter aren't you? You didn't really stop following Parelli because you saw that he was nothing more than a marketing genius, but because they pissed you off. And of course you now want to get back at him.
I'm not sure how it took you 8 years to realize that his program is about money, not the horse and really no more than crap for beginners - all I had to do was read about his methods and take a look at his website to realize it was worthless. All the "natural horsemanship" trainers, PP, CA, whoever else there is (I don't exactly follow NH trainers) are about making money and they are all very good at it.
Props to them for their marketing skills. There is a huge world full of soft-minded people out there just waiting to give away their money.
I think Parelli has it's place. Years ago I got the book "Natural Horse-man-ship" ($40 or so - not breaking the bank) or whatever it was called that Parelli had written. To me, it did explain things in a different way. I was a kid and new to horses so explaining how yielding, circling etc was important to appeal to me, and taught me a bit, a new perspective. I don't know if Clinton was around back then, but there wasn't much internet, so you could only read what you could buy in your local saddlery. So Parelli and Roberts for NH, then other traditional riders for dressage/showjumping etc. I remember they had Monty Robert's books in the library and I read them all, learning about herd dynamics, signals - stuff that had never been taught to me in riding lessons. From each of those I took some things on boards, forgot the rest and moved on.
That's the way I view these horse training philosophies, I read them, understand them, maybe try out some of what they propose. If it works for me in practice then I take it on board. I'll spend $30 - $50 on a book, which I think is reasonable, and that's that. I've never blindly thrown myself into a trainer spending thousands of dollars into the training. I've never closed my mind and just followed one, even as a 12 year old kid I knew that wasn't the way. That the way to becoming good at anything is learning from a variety of sources.
You decided to go out and spend thousands of dollars on following this man. The people who follow him are people who just want the answers to everything neatly packaged up, rather than working it out for themselves. Thinking critically, analysing what people say and do, it's harder. It's easier if you just follow one person, one philosophy, all the work is done for you.
Now, eight years on you've worked that out. There is no point being angry. Parelli did not make you do this, he merely offered a service that you decided to purchase and use for eight years. What you learned would never be redeemable for a material sum, they were experiences that you must have valued to continue it for eight years. Now that you are dissatisfied with Parelli doesn't mean that your experiences have less value.
As to his personality, the personality of his staff, it's hard to know. He's marketed a persona, and likely that's all it is. So what. Celebrities do it all the time. Whether he is or isn't a nice person doesn't matter. Whether they "rule by fear" or not doesn't matter. They're a private organisation that sells courses. They can do what they like. They sell a product, nothing more. They're not going to always get along with you, they're not going to always do what people want. Yet for eight years you followed them loyally, so they can't be so bad.
Forget your anger, and move on. It's not worth being upset. Rather than speaking badly of the system, encourage people to read around and make up their own mind.
Best of luck!
My honest opinion about this...
I think this was you being taken advantage of and now you're angry about it, and rightfully so,, but what you're doing is making YOU look childish, not them.
When it comes to training, my philosophy is this:
There is no one method that works for every horse. Different training techniques work differently on different horses, so with that in mind I think that almost all training methods have their place. Is there one trainer out there that has it all figured out and can box it up and sell it? Nope. I don't believe that for one second... but I do believe that there are valuable tips and tricks that you can learn from a lot of the "big names" without having to buy into their bull* pyramid scheme.
I know you're upset and it sucks that you went through a crummy experience, but instead of being bitter about it, why not be thankful that you have experienced an "awakening" and just leave it at that?
I Know someone who uses parelli training on the horses she works with. My bf can train a horse to do just about anything in 2 months Yes they are green but they just need miles. She wont even ride them until she had done about 6 months worth of ground work, driving, lunging and playing the games. It works for her but it takes forever. She is not strictly parelli so that may be her saving grace but I would never have her brake a horse for me, Id like to ride it sometime within the first year. Clinton Andersen's methods work a little quicker but Im not for hitting my horse with a stick, she has been beaten enough in her life and 'taping' her with a stick dose not seam like something I want to do. The constant disengaging of the hind quarters has caused my horse to lose her 'engine'. She used to be able to dig in her back legs and go, now she dose not. And my horse is not the only one with that issues for the same reasons. I fallow no trainers like they are training gods. Gimmicks work to an extend and I will not buy into any of them. If it works Ill use it.
I Best friend's dad was a trainer for many years. He trained horses of all breeds but preferred western horses, mostly QH and paints, but he has worked with gaited horses, english horses and track horses. He laughs at parelli and says he has never seen more people get hurt then by him and his teachings. Ill stand by him on that as all but one parelli person I have seen has had their horse send them to the hospital. I have no love for the man, and It seams I have more reasons not to now.
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