Pat Parelli - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-28-2019, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Virginia
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Pat Parelli


Please excuse me for asking; I understand that this is a controversial topic that has been trampled to death.

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Mr. Parelli is doing a clinic near me this mid-October. Should I go, I will only be auditing, not attending. I have heard of him, but I do not know him or his methods. I am doing a lot of research about him and his methods both on and off the forum. I was wondering what your current opinions are on him and his methods. I know I won't agree 100% with anyone's training method(s), but it could still be a good learning experience, or in the very least, a "what not to do." However, not to sound arrogant, I feel like I understand (most) horse hierarchy, (some) horse psychology, and basic ground-work. If he is just going to talk about what I already know, I feel like it would be a waste for time and money. Again, it could also be a good learning experience to reaffirm what I already know. If not, it could be an opportunity to see and hear about the different beliefs from other people believe on such matters. Though, I can get that on this forum, too....

He is also offering a "Parelli Certified" certification. I have trained some horses professionally (simply as in getting paid) before, and I really like it. However, since I am young and uncertified, most people think I am ignorant and sketchy. My parents think it would be a good opportunity to have a big-name trainer's certification with my name so I could get (back) into training horses professionally - at least before I decide what to do as an adult. Do you think his certification means anything?

How much do clinics cost? I was wondering if it was worth the price.
$ 107.72 x 2 (tickets) = $ 215.44 for parking, seating for a night talk, and attendance at a one-day event.
$187.29 x 2 (tickets) = $ 374.58 for parking, seating for a night talk, and attendance at two-day events.

I don't know much about clinics but that kind of seems like a lot to me...?

Thank you for your opinions. They are appreciated and will be considered.
Imperial Black is offline  
post #2 of 16 Old 09-28-2019, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
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1. Parelli certification will drive some people away, as in many horse circles his practitioners have a bad name and his marketing program is seen as a scam which preys on the ignorance of beginners. However, I can't say what percentage of potential customers this is. I don't know much about him myself, except how much sneering mentioning his name arouses. My guess is that he didn't get famous by having no talent at all, though.

2. Auditing is in my opinion almost always a better option than spending money on a clinician you aren't already familiar with and like.You can always pick up a few tips and tools, often more of them than if you were focused on your own horse. You can also watch how he treats the students, how he talks to the audience, who gets attention and who doesn't, what things he ignores, how horses react to him, all sorts of things, and form judgements uninfluenced by how much money you've invested.
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-28-2019, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
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I would avoid someone who said they were Parelli certified. I don't like his approach to horses and find him too gimmicky. I'd assume the same would be true of someone he certified. Just my vote.

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post #4 of 16 Old 09-28-2019, 01:00 PM
Green Broke
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I'm not a fan. But one can almost always learn something. Have you watched any of his videos? Might give you a clue as to deciding to spend a chunk of change and time or passing.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-28-2019, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Virginia
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Yes. I have watched some of his videos. Thank you.

I am fairly certain that we will not be going to his clinics. I think he understands horses, but I don't agree with his training method(s). When you add in the costs, it does not seem like a good decision for me at this time. Though, I would like to continue receiving your opinions.
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-28-2019, 03:58 PM
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My daughter and I will be attending a one-day Parelli clinic that is going to be held where we board. I feel like I know enough about horses and my horses in particular that I can sift out what I don't like from the clinic, but I am enough of a beginner that I think I will learn something also. And honestly a large part of it is we're trying to be supportive of the lady who is bringing the clinic in.

We already audited a half day clinic that this same lady led. I do agree that it seems aimed at first-time horse owners who don't understand their horses, or who are maybe even afraid of them. The thing I really didn't like is that they focus a lot on their "steps" and "levels" but not so much on actually reading the horse or developing your "feel." I guess for beginners who really have no clue about how to read a horse or where to even start working with their horse, it could be useful. But personally I prefer to take every horse as he is, figure out where he's coming from, and work with him in whatever way is best for the two of us, on that day.

As a horse owner I would hesitate to buy a horse that was Parelli trained, and I would not view Parelli certification as a positive thing in a potential trainer. I am not overly fond of a lot of his methods, and he also has some idiosyncratic cues that I wouldn't want my horse to learn, or me to have to learn.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-28-2019, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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I attended one of his clinics some years back. I THINK he was sort of newly married to Linda, who was the big push in getting his marketing on the right track to be a money making machine.

My granddad gave me my horse training foundation; I went to see what I might learn since the clinic was only 12 miles from my farm.

At intermission my friend went down to the arena where the vendors were set up.

I went up to the Mezzanine to see observe the activities in the practice arena from the mezzanine window.

Imagine my surprise when I saw One Mr. Parelli giving his horse a spurring and a jerking on the bit, the horse did not deserve. Even an inexperienced horse person would have known that horse was needlessly and hurt fully getting jerked around. Especially after the stallion had put on a beautiful Liberty performance, minutes before in the main arena.

That means I have no use for Pat Parelli, even after all these years. Nor do I have much good to say about any so-called NH trainers. I don't like their methods, plain and simple. However, very few people were privileged to be mentored by a grandfather whom we always joked cared more for his horses than he did his wife, so some folks have to start somewhere, I guess.

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post #8 of 16 Old 10-01-2019, 05:47 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2016
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@Wakinthewalk - There's more than one video on youtube where people have quietly filmed this sort of thing going on behind the scenes with Parelli. Sadly.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #9 of 16 Old 10-01-2019, 06:34 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: middle of nowhere
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I watched him jerk the face off his black stud horse IN A SPADE BIT behind the barn at an expo... I wouldn't walk across the street to watch one of his clinics. They're geared toward middle-aged women who are afraid of their horses, and it's far to gimmicky. Go audit the clinic, but I wouldn't bother with a 'Parelli Certification' as it will send most horse people running the other way. Most knowledgeable horse people avoid Parelli-trained horses like the plague. Any mention of Parelli or 'seven games' in an horse ad will send people elsewhere--- at least those that aren't other Parelli followers.
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-01-2019, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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Is that quoted price for AUDITING a clinic? if so, that is enormously expensive. You can audit a Buck Branaman clinic for about a fourth that cost.
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