Respect has a willing, cooperative attitude about it... from both the horse and the human.
Pat Parelli’s Key #1

Key #1 is Attitude.

Pat Parelli often talks about doing things for the horse and with the horse rather than to the horse. To implement this key one needs to start with Attitude.

Some people have the kind of attitude that starts with, “You WILL do this.” And ends with, “I WILL win!” Putting the human and their needs over those of the horse. They have the idea that if they don’t “win” every session with the horse, then the horse thinks he has won. These people will generally use force as a technique to get what they want from the horse. Regardless of how that looks.

Some people have the kind of attitude that is all about love, kisses, hugs, cookies and soft cuddly horse time. These people tend to get their feelings hurt by their horses. Though horses do enjoy brushing, petting, scratches and mutual grooming with other horses they do not understand a human that has no boundaries and doesn’t expect any from their horse. This is an ineffectual leader for the horse. Inevitably the horse will either reject the human all together or more likely hurt the human. If the human is not going to be the leader then SOMEONE has to!

There is a happy medium. Horses look for the calm, quiet leader in their herd situations.  They do not follow the horse that bullies, kicking, biting and chasing the other horses.  That horse generally gets pushed to the edge of the group to fight it out with himself. The leader is the quiet horse who finds the best grazing spots, leads the group to water, is aware of dangers and takes the herd away from the scary spots safely. This horse causes the others to feel safe and secure.

A horse is looking for that leader all the time. To prove to your horse you can be a good leader it’s important you don’t lose respect by using force and fear tactics. When a horse respects you there is no fear in it. Respect has a willing, cooperative attitude about it… from both the horse and the human.

The Four Agreements
The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)  by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements are:

1) Be Impeccable With Your Word

2) Don’t Take Anything Personally

3) Don’t Make Assumptions

4) Always Do Your Best

It’s amazing to me how similar these agreements are to what Parelli teaches.

1) Be Impeccable With Your Word = Be honest about how you are feeling before you approach your horse. Then approach your horse with an open heart.

Put your heart in your hand and touch your horse with your heart. – Pat Parelli

2) Don’t Take Anything Personally = A horse is a horse and will behave like a horse. Don’t take his reactions personally. Just learn how to help him through the rough patches, hold his “hand” when he is afraid and show him that you are capable of being his leader.

3) Don’t Make Assumptions = Don’t make or teach assumptions. Don’t assume that because your horse willingly and easily jumped the barrels yesterday that he can do so today. Don’t forget to communicate with your horse. They are smart and catch on quick!  Sometimes they can take their smarts and decide what it is that you are asking for before you even ask. Giving them time to think, taking a moment between tasks, pausing and allowing them to think and settle before just moving on is key to NOT teaching your horse to make assumptions.

4) Always Do Your Best =  Practice doesn’t make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. If you put the time in, striving every day to be better than you were yesterday and only comparing yourself to yourself, you will get your better best. When you expect a lot but accept a little from your horse you are encouraging that horse to try harder each time.  Be the ambassador of yes and you show your horse what a wonderful leader you are. Every day. The two of you together become partners at always doing your best.

Good Better Best, Never Let it Rest, Get Your Good Better and Your Better BEST!

– Pat Parelli

**Do you need some help coming up with things to do with your horse in your play sessions? Click HERE for more information about my little idea book!

SONY DSCwhat a great blog post!  as usual this pops up just when i need it…

oh boy… conscious incompetence!

speaking of wanting to pass my level 4 online.  LOOK at this video.  wonderful.  this is what i’m aspiring to!  i must admit that it’s videos like this one that have me so nervous.  i think this is beautiful and clearly shows a wonderful relationship and yet she passed with a 4+ not a 4++.  if i want to be an instructor i have to pass with a 4++.  eeeek!

just for fun here is her level 4 liberty audition video.

my video made it into the parelli weekly newsletter!

another great article by pat parelli… is your horse stubborn or fearful?

SONY DSC“knowledge ends where violence begins.”  Pat Parelli

your horse is difficult to load in a trailer?  hurry up, drag them in anyway possible, then SLAM the door.

your horse spooks easily?  then RUN it past everything that scares it.  don’t give them time to think.  thinking = the horse winning

don’t allow your horse to show you how it feels about things, instead train them mindlessly until they no longer act like a living breathing animal.  they are robots.

Parelli is all about listening to your horse.  allowing your horse to use it’s brain and think things through.  giving them the time they need to make good choices.  setting them up for success.

Parelli is about doing things with the horse and for the horse.  not TO the horse.

horse people and trainers spend lifetimes micromanaging their horses.  correcting their horses BEFORE they even make a mistake.  micromanagement = the horse not using their brain.

Pat often says to play with the horse online as though it’s at liberty and to play at liberty as though your horse is online.  i think i finally understand what he means by that…  to keep your play the same whether you have a rope connected to the halter or not.  that keeps the body language the same and allows the horse to read you and do what you are asking.

you may use the rope as a safety net.  by not holding it you give your horse the option to make your game his idea.  how interesting!!  this allows the horse to leave the game if he doesn’t want to play.  and if this happens it give you a chance to think about what just happened.

it’s time to end the violence that we do to horses.  violence does not have to mean physical abuse, neglect, etc.  violence can simply be taking away the horse’s right to THINK.



mirror: v.

to show a reflection of.

your horse is your mirror.  this is something to think about.  IF your horse is your mirror, then what do you want your horse to look like?  act like?

if we manage our emotions then our horse can manage his.

“your horse is only as brave as you are.”  ~ pat parelli

“my horse was fine until i showed up.” ~ linda parelli

i find it interesting that when i have a lesson i tend to get nervous.  i’m nervous that things are not going to go smoothly so i can get help with the things that are popping up in our daily play sessions.

what tends to happen is when i am nervous, my mirror, my horse, gets nervous and old problems pop up.  then we spend our whole session playing with THOSE issues, never getting to the things that i WANT to address.  this is very stressful to me because my ego comes up and i worry about how inept i look to the instructor, how inept i am actually being and how that is also affecting my horse, my mirror.

me not being in control of my emotions sets us back during our lessons.  i know that if i took a few minutes to just get things under control, we would both benefit, but i get all flustered, so billy gets all flustered and acts differently than he does when it’s just us and the camera man.  different than when it’s us and people visiting and watching a session.  having that instructor around sends me into a whirlwind of emotions!

i am a right brained extroverted person so i can get pretty crazy when i’m nervous or upset.  when billy is right brained and extroverted he can get pretty crazy as well!  talk about an effective mirror!  sometimes i don’t love the reflection however…