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.
In my earlier posts, we focused on the first three keys: Attitude, Knowledge and Tools. In this post, I will introduce the fourth key to success, Techniques.
Key 4: Techniques
|Demonstrating Freestyle riding technique with my young horse|
There are thousands of techniques that work to achieve
results with horses. As one of my
Dressage mentors likes to point out, ‘there is more than one way to get to
!’. However, techniques
will readily become mechanical or forceful when they are used without an
understanding of the psychology behind them. Learning to think like a horse helps
us find the right way to communicate and to be effective without using force or
intimidation. Anyone can MAKE a horse do
something, but who do you have to become to cause a horse to WANT to do
Regardless of the technique we choose to use, it must
first and foremost be used with the right attitude, with a mindset to help the
horse and not do it to the horse; it is our responsibility to ensure our communication
is clear and understandable for the horse. We all know that horse training can
be forceful and cruel. But without
resorting to crude violence, making a horse do something without his enthusiastic
participation and when he is not mentally engaged in the game results in horses
that resist, shut down, get confused and scared and are generally unaccepting
of human leadership. We like to teach techniques
that promote a mutual communication with horses. Therefore, every technique
must have the following ingredients: the right attitude, focus, feel, timing
and balance. They are not forceful. They allow the horse to think, seek the
answer and choose his response.
Quality of feel is almost impossible to learn through
traditional methods. However, a good program will cause this quality to evolve
in you naturally. That is what we strive to teach through the Parelli 7 GamesTM, which are
modelled on the games horses naturally play with each other. Some of the key techniques that we consider
at the foundation of the Parelli program are the use of rhythmic motion,
approach and retreat, steady and rhythmic pressure, comfort, discomfort, progressive
phases, and releasing at the right time to help the horse learn how to respond
appropriately to appropriately applied pressure, which in turn creates
In short, our students are learning to think, feel, act and play like a horse!
love to hear your comments or questions.
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next time, keep it natural!
|We want the horse to be mentally engaged and enthusiastic about the game!|
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