Why I sometimes still recommend the Parelli Program
*short background story: I started with the Parelli program in 2013, in The Netherlands and after reaching level 4 in the US I decided to call it quits. The horses under my care were in desperate need of less stimuli instead of more movements, sounds and triggers. So I gave up on following fixed programs and instead tried to find my own way by following the horses themselves.
The results were unbelievably mind-blowing, proof that my feelings were correct and more reasons to continue on this path.
But: Parelli does have some aspects that makes it an easy-to-follow method (like the 7 Games), which is the whole reason Pat (and Linda, back when they ran the ranch together) earned his name and got so much attention worldwide. Their online program is very user-friendly and gives you the freedom to explore other levels and techniques within the program, which is very motivating. But overall, like all fixed programs, it's pretty much black-and-white and time constraint.
My tip: swap out the notion of Reinforcement, Time Constraint and Levels.
Applying NATO when doing the Parelli program is a significant game-changer for every horse and trainer; instead of focusing on a preferred outcome with preferred and subjective observations about behavior, we actually begin to see more input (E+) from the horse. More confidence, focus, even more happiness are direct results from simply giving your horse their space. Not just their physical space, but also some brain space to put things and information in perspective, in their own time and unique way.
Are you ready to follow your horse?
Zoë van Mourik | Equine Trauma & Behavior Specialist
www.zoevanmourik.com & www.houseofhorsemanship.nl
Zoë van Mourik: Equine Trauma Specialist, Behaviorist