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My 101 Guide to Parelli Natural Horsemanship!

This is an article I wrote at the invitation of my goddaughter Verena.  Verena is passionate about dog training and has recently graduated f...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Seven Keys to Success - Key no. 2: Knowledge

This is the second article in my series for ProChaps on the topic The Seven Keys to Success! Right at the beginning of his Natural Horsemanship book, Pat Parelli introduces his Level 1 theory by outlining the six keys to success.  They are:  Attitude, Knowledge, Tools, Techniques, Time and Imagination. Since the original publication of the book years ago, a seventh key has been added:  Support.
Last month we focused on the first key:  Attitude.  In this post, I will introduce the second key to success, Knowledge.

Key 2: Knowledge

For a very long time, most people equated expertise with horses with someone’s ability to ride a horse no matter what.  While this is still the case in many parts of the world, there is now a growing awareness that horsemanship involves way more than just staying on horseback.  Riding is less than half of what you really need to know to be good with horses. There is so much more… how they think, how they learn, what’s important to them, how to communicate with them, how to help them thrive mentally, emotionally and physically, help them reach their own potential and bring out the best in every horse.
Knowledge can be obtained in a number of ways. One of the best features drawing horse lovers to the Parelli Natural Horse.Man.Ship system is the wide array of structured educational material available to support their learning. In addition to the tools that help us to be more effective and to learn feel and timing, Pat and Linda Parelli are constantly producing books, audio and video material to help their students acquire savvy right at home.  This includes a dedicated member site, the Parelli Savvy Club, which offers support, social connection, information and a vast body of learning resources all available for a very affordable membership fee.
Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, you can actually start to learn Level 1 basics on line as a member of the Savvy Club, an option that was not available when I started my natural horsemanship journey in 1999 and would certainly have made my learning so much faster and easier!

Knowledge is also available from Licensed Parelli Professionals.  This passionate group of people dedicate their lives to helping students advance their horsemanship and gain a better and deeper understanding of the materials included in the home study material. Taking lessons and attending clinics keeps students on track and motivated and helps them accelerate their progress.  A qualified instructor helps students recognize when they are repeating the same mistakes over and over, empowers them with new arrows for their quiver and prevents them from practicing the wrong techniques; in other words, they can expertly guide them through the various steps of their learning journey. Working with a LPP is like a super shot of savvy!
Every Licensed Parelli Professionals has been personally and officially approved by Pat Parelli. No one else is. Pat chooses his professionals very carefully and sets a very high standard to ensure that his program is being taught as it should. The training to get this stamp of approval is long and intensive, ensuring that those that teach it have the calibre, the savvy and the human qualities to share the program correctly, safely, fairly, without deviation, empowering their students and horses to learn effectively. Achieving Level 4 horsemanship is a prerequisite for all aspiring Parelli Professionals, which guarantees the students access to a high level of ability and deep understanding of the horse.
There are also other requirements to be admitted into the professional training program, such as experience, horsemanship, the ability to work in teams, interpersonal skills, teaching ability, emotional fitness, work ethic, personal habits, etc. Parelli instructors are not only horsemen and women, they are trained to teach! We have all met someone who is able to do something with a horse but lacks the ability to communicate their knowledge effectively.  Last but not least, we are required to update our skills which are re-evaluated on a yearly basis. This ensures a very high level of competence, currency and consistency with all Parelli instructors.
Speaking of the Parelli levels:   Levels 1 to 4 are designed to teach humans. Teaching horses is quite different and is best achieved after Level 4.  One of the best pieces of information we can share with you is “Green on green makes black and blue”.  The skills, athletic ability and experience required to train a young or challenging horse are extensive, and it may not be something you want to undertake if you are just getting started in horses!  Be smart and realistic when it comes to choosing the equine partner that will help you learn and grow in confidence.
We would love to hear your comments or questions. 
Until next time, keep it natural!

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For more info on Parelli training, visit www.vifargent.com

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