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Discussion Starter #1
Years ago I purchased this book: Amazon.com: Natural Horse-Man-Ship: Six Keys to a Natural Horse-Human Relationship (0024933747122): Pat Parelli: Books

Original publication date is '93, this is the '04 edition. This book is pretty good, I have to work a bit to find the "hot button" material subject to so many debates. I may be e-shot for typing this, but many parts read much like some of the Clinton Anderson material that shares a shelf with this book. There are solid descriptions of the techniques, helpful photos and illustrations, and the only Parelli-brand tool that sticks in my mind is the Carrot Stick. No Parelli rope halter, Parelli long/short lines, etc. The only issue with the philosophy laid out in this book that I personally have is that every horse must see every human in every situation as a predator to be feared... but I don't want to debate that point in this thread (if it can be helped). The 7 Games are there, plain as day to those who see, with the hows and whys, but without the shiny package and cute names. It's a "using" book of helpful concepts and exercises that I often read and review, with some interesting tidbits and food for thought.

What happened? Everything since Linda Parelli's reworking of their Level 1 Program is loaded to the gills with fluff and this Freud/Jung-esque psychoanalysis of animals which, by the Parelli's own assertion, cannot think like humans (predators). Logo-emblazoned equipment starts leaking out of the walls, floors, and ceilings.

I'm curious to hear (from both sides) whether anyone else has noticed the "shift" in the programs. Parelli users/trainers, do you approve of the change? Why do you like the new and dislike the old, and vice-versa? Anyone else have a similar dissonance going on between the old and new Parelli's? Was Pat Parelli "wrong" in the early 90's, or is it "growing"? Obviously they have had a net gain in business, but was anyone disappointed in the newer system?

I'd like to hear your opinions on this topic I've been debating to myself for a while now. :) Of course, at the end of the day, good horsemanship is good horsemanship, and the proof is in the pudding.
 

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First, I do want to say that PP is a very good horseman. However. I honestly believe that for him now, it is all about the money. People want to believe that horses are complex creatures because if people can't figure them out, then they MUST be complicated. If a horse trainer told you that horses were actually very simple creatures and you could get just as much of a connection and wonderful working bond without all the games, would you believe them? People are always looking for the new best thing and if something is expensive then is HAS to be good. I preferred his old methods that were practical and useful. His new program, to me, just screams silly circus act. But then again, when in a position like that, you have to come up with a new "gimmick" every year just to keep people interested.
 

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I LOVED parelli up till the point that they changed it SOO much and now I believe it IS for the money... I bought 4 pattern DVDs for $110 EACH and ALL that was in it was maybe a 5 mins of watching pat do each pattern.... I was MAD knowing I spent the money on something that I could have figure out my self!

Then they changed it again recently, people are saying it full of information but I dont want to risk a crap load of money for something thats not gonna help. But I miss the OLD levels. It had a lot more point to them.

But Im mixing parelli with traditional and my horse is enjoying have a confident owner back :) Even on grumpy days lol
 

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Was talking to a friend the other day that took a clinic from one of the 5 star instructors (Carol I believe but not positive which one), she said that Clinton Anderson was a student of Parelli's until he broke off (according to Carol). Now I highly doubt that Carol would lie, and I know my friend would not. And that would explain why there are so many similataties between the two...but there are differences.

I have been doing Parelli for 5 years...before the horsenalities came out...I have the old levels as well as the new. I am liking the new levels so much more. The old levels were so task oriented and nothing was said about the relationship. I find that the new levels have the priorities right...relationship first!

I was never a fan of the original levels but bought them because I heard good things....and still am not a fan of them. They were to point to point, and it really made me lack in originality for my horses.


HAF, of course buying them one at a time will be expensive...I bought all for $230 (or my fiance did). He bought the new levels for around $250 I believe. The DVDs are well worth it...and do note it's NOT Pat Parelli setting prices. I agree that some things are somewhat expensive, but they are quality items also. I've had my one halter since I started...about 5 years and other than fadded (it looks pink instead of red) it's in perfect condition.

I do 100% Parelli and my horses are great and loving every minute of them. They all gallop to me in the field (without calling) and I never have a grumpy day with any of my horses ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Was talking to a friend the other day that took a clinic from one of the 5 star instructors (Carol I believe but not positive which one), she said that Clinton Anderson was a student of Parelli's until he broke off (according to Carol). Now I highly doubt that Carol would lie, and I know my friend would not. And that would explain why there are so many similataties between the two...but there are differences.
Spirithorse actually told me the same thing in a thread a few months ago. There certainly are a lot of similarities between almost all of the big name NH clinicians, especially when you dig down to the root ideas of approach and retreat, herd dynamics, and groundwork theory. As similar as some of the exercises look, I saw even more kinship from the book I posted above than from what I have seen of the new program material. Of course, earlier Parelli is closer to earlier Clinton Anderson, if he studied with the former.

I agree that Pat Parelli is probably not the driving force behind the astronomical prices, but judging by the amount of stuff that has his name on it he's OK with the massive merchandising campaign. Not a good or bad thing... it is what it is. As smrobs said, Parelli himself is certainly a brilliant horseman. :wink:
 

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I think that the marketing scheme took over.
 

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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.
 

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I personally liked ray hunt and tom dorrance too. But I also like PP. I like his methods, but you have to change in order to get the consumers. I don't think it's his fault, it's some of the consumers who won't but it unless it's new and improved. Changing times...
 

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Tom Dorrance is one of my favorite natural horsemanship trainers way back when. My friend told me about a book she got so I convinced the fiance to buy me the book and I've gone through chapter 1 and am in love with the book.
Sorry that was off topic but had to share
 

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I like the NH concept and love building a bond with my horse BUT some people get weird with it. There is a girl out at my barn who has been doing Parelli with her horse for years....and she's still just on the ground with him. I don't even understand what she's doing with him cuz all she does is have him on a lead line and follows him around the arena with a brush. I have seen her ride once and he was great but she says that they still need to work on their "relationship" so she hasn't ridden in months.
 

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^^That is one thing that bugs me cause I just don't understand it. I don't train a horse to be my friend, I train them to use and be ridden and if they decide they want to become my friend, then I welcome it and encourage it. However, I don't really have the desire to spend months working a horse on the ground before I ever get into the saddle, it's not practical. I have a job to do and I need a horse to do it, if there is something that he needs worked on other than tacking up or being caught, I am horseman enough that I can work it in the saddle rather than on the ground. I want them to be ready to work whenever I catch them up, not get them ready by playing with them in the pen for an hour before every ride. I am getting ready to make a transition to horse trainer and I can tell you that anybody that knows anything about horses is not going to accept any excuse for taking 6 months just to get a horse semi-saddle broke.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
^Well said, smrobs!

My guys aren't "using horses," they're basically glorified pets compared to some of the horses out there, although I would like to get Scout very used to working around cattle soon. I let Dad watch half an hour of cutting and now we think about how handy it could be to use the horses to move the cows sometimes. :lol: Anyway, groundwork can only go so far, unless there is some reason to not ride. Yes, it can be a big part of "relationship building," but so can riding, to perhaps a greater extent.

Some NH schools of thought like laying a horse down as a way of really blowing the horse's mind. To me, strapping a saddle to his back and mounting can blow just as big. Psychologically and instinctually, for a prey animal, that has to be a pretty big thing, nicely carrying something on what thousands of years of instinct are screaming is a landing strip for predators. Properly preparing is necessary, but groundwork can only go so far. Sometime you've got to get on. I'm of the general opinion mini's were invented for people who want to do groundwork only. :lol:

I agree with smrobs that usability and respect come first. Every using horse I know is a gem to be around. I know several horses who are constantly being messed with (hey, there's a right way and a wrong way to do groundwork, too) on the ground, and are rarely ridden, whose owners want to be friends with their horse above all. Those are some of the least pleasant, least respectful horses I know. I find that when the horse begins to respect the rider (Respect of persistence, consistency, timing, and feel, not of domination or fear) he soon starts to do the "relationship" things; meeting me at the gate, nickering when I walk up to him, bobbing his head when he sees me coming out of the house with the saddle. I've seen people start training the relationship "tricks" that a well bonded horse exhibits, and the horses end up treat-grubbing half ton poodles.
 

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smords - Perfectly said. My horse doesn't have a job on a working ranch but I bought him for a reason and that reason was to ride and I expect him to do that for me. It really bugs me when I hear people say "My horse is having a bad day". Ok...so what? Maybe my expectations are to high. I have to bite my tongue all the time around allot of people where I ride.

Ground work is important to me but it's worthless if you cannot translate it to the horses back.

I honestly think this persons issues stem from fear and not from her horse having any kind of problem. She rode my horse on the trail and someone went trotting off from the group. My horse bobbed his head and did a little jig and she just jumped off. I have experience this with him and he has never once tried to take off he just gets nervous with someone else leaving. I will usually turn him around and walk away and then walk back toward the group till he relaxes and stops prancing like a fairy horse. But I just cannot understand letting a horse think he's getting any kind of reward for that behavior or that I'm not going to stick with him till he's listening to me again.
 

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Unless the person has fear issues in the saddle, or the horse is very extreme in dangerous behavior or is very young, you shouldn't not ride in the Parelli program. I don't get it, why wait? Believe it or not, we DO ride in the Parelli program ;) I ride all the time! lol. Do I work with my horse on the ground every time I plan to ride? Absolutely. I go through tests to see where he is at that day, plus the way I work with a horse on the ground is fun for both of us :)
 

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I'm not a Parelli student but I audit their trainers whenever they come, and from what I can see, the changes in their program is entirely for the benefit of the HUMAN student. That's where the biggest problems in communications seem to be, and if the concept of "patterns" helps, or those whatever-brained locations, or even marching around to music --- this is all to help the people think and connect. As for the cost, I have to admit, that when you've spent a LOT for something, you often enough appreciate it more. :wink:(Though that's probably not why the cost is so high.) Still, I've seen where a person with the Real Orange Stick has more confidence than when she was using a copycat.
 

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Well, thats the thing, when I need a horse for work and not for pleasure, I may not have the time to work him on the ground to see where he is that day. When my husband gets a call from someone saying they have cows out on the interstate, they might get a little annoyed if my answer was "my horse doesn't feel like it today".

I have no problem doing groundwork with a horse, I have no problem taking my responsibility to prepare the horse for what needs to be done, but I do think that Parelli overdoes it. I've stayed out of this, but couldn't resist any longer. The program has changed a lot since the beginning, and it kills me that the "natural" horse takes so much special equipment to get the job done. I know people who taught for the program, and left because of what it had become and what it had done to the horses.

Parelli has changed a lot since the begining. I watched a show on RFDTV the other night with "Pats first show rerun". The boy has put on some weight! I have to say that I liked what I saw then much more than the glitter and glam that I see now. In my life, the biggest lessons that I have learned are the ones that I have been able to figure out for myself. Its that "aha" moment that sticks in my head more than the countless lessons that I have taken. The "new and improved" Parelli program has taken all that out. They just come out with more gadgets, more dvds, and more flashy shows. People don't have to think anymore, they can just look it up.
 

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I had some old vcr tapes that couldn't keep my interest. Snore
to slow paced but I just bought the new levels 1-4 DVDS and have enjoyed watching tham and much quicker paced. It's all about supply and demand. If no one was buying them they couldn't sell them for what they charge. But it's no different than a work out DVD or other types of products they too are expensive.
 

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Well, thats the thing, when I need a horse for work and not for pleasure, I may not have the time to work him on the ground to see where he is that day. When my husband gets a call from someone saying they have cows out on the interstate, they might get a little annoyed if my answer was "my horse doesn't feel like it today".
:lol: :lol: :lol:
 
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