Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Talking about Parelli training approaches

One of the other horses at my barn, a mare the same age as Panama, has only been trained via natural horsemanship — specifically, the Parelli approach. Yesterday, however, her owner came to watch my trainer work with Panama. She was duly impressed, and scheduled several appointments for my trainer to come and work with her horse, too.

We all got to talking then about the training methods that had been used on her mare. I was astonished by how hokey some of it sounded. I definitely see the benefits of using less force and fostering more of a relationship with your horse — but I think you can achieve that while still using traditional techniques like voice commands.

For instance, the mare's owner said that her trainer at the other place told her that the signal for her horse to stop was to sit back and "let all her energy out." Now, I don't argue with the fact that your horse will learn to read subtle cues like that from you, but what exactly is the problem with a good, old-fashioned "Whoa"?

There are many examples of YouTube of trainers and riders working with their horses using the Parelli techniques. The demonstration I liked best was this one, but unfortunately it can't be embedded, so you'll have to go to the site to watch it.

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