Sunday, August 10, 2008

10.8.08 Parelli Celebration

For me, attending the Parelli Demonstration is a bit like sitting at the Liverpool end wearing a Manchester United shirt. It would be churlish not to acknowledge that there was some beautiful work - especially when the Level 2 and 3 Instructors were working with their own horses at liberty and ridden. Pat's demonstration with the spooky horse took that horse futher than anyone could have expected. He used very accurate and consistent body language albeit with the carrot stick as an extended arm. Too often I have seen Parelli technique become just a series of cues that in themselves mean nothing to the horse and the horse totally switiching off inbetween. These days Parelli comes with it's own health warning with Pat Parelli urging students not to to turn the 7 Games into the 7 tortures by endless repetition. There were no examples of the excesses of Parelli where ropes are flicked and swung into horses' faces - as in even recently issued Parelli DVD's.

The American evangelical-religious outpouring - relentless marketing approach is really off putting. I'm not comfortable with anything that feels like brainwashing. Linda's session on Finesse, coaching a rider on Rema, was much more inspirational and it was fantastic to see a horse performing dressage moves without fighting the rider. In comparison with the first day when Rema looked heartily sick of all the Parelli games, he looked really happy and in absolute harmony with his rider.

There's very little teaching in these demonstrations so anyone wanting to take it up is obliged to buy all the knowledge and the kit and to attend the courses. This costs a large fortune. The danger in what Parelli says is an all or nothing system, is that anyone who stops half way or picks and chooses what they use, could end up seriously confusing their horse. Timing, technique and consistency are critical and wishy washy Parelli is as bad (or worse) than wishy-washy anything else.