Taking Parelli's Advice Could Get You Killed

There is no doubt in my mind that a horse is the most beautiful thing on the planet. Hollywood gave us "Black Beauty" and "The Black Stallion" and the horse's beauty becomes dreams that expand and push way beyond reality a hundred times over. Consider this: At least half of all first time horse owners will sell their horse within the first year of owning. Half of the rest sell within five years. Why? The reality is that a horse is 1,200 pounds of dangerous unpredictability, not "Black Beauty" or the "Black Stallion."

So, Rule #1 is to be safe while around a horse. To be safe right from the start means that you need the help of an experienced horseperson, and not one who's advice could get you killed. Let me give you a glaring example, taken right out of the Parelli News weekly e-newsletter...

Every newsletter features a question and answer section, presumably from a Parelli "student" to Pat or Linda Parelli. This example is overflowing with the Parelli lingo that always draws the person trying to learn horsemanship away from common sense and into insanity.


I got my very first horse last November. She was a rescue horse from the Humane Society, taken away from her owners because of abuse. Her name is now Mia, and she is a red roan Tennessee Walker with a very difficult Horsenality. She can switch very quickly from Left-Brain Introvert to Right-Brain Introvert. This last weekend, I went out to her stables to ride her. I played a few games on the ground with her before I rode her. She seemed fine, wasn't tense and she was focused on me. When I went to ride her she seemed fine and I couldn't feel tension in her body or anything. The only thing that I noticed was that she wanted to go faster. Usually I would love to go faster, but since it was her wanting to go and not me, I held her to a walk. Then all of a sudden, when I finally asked her to trot she reared twice! She has never done this before. So I got off and checked her feet and checked to see if anything from the saddle pad was sticking her. I couldn't find anything, so I got back on and tried it again. I did the same thing, held her to a walk when she wanted to go and then asked her for a trot. But she reared again. We checked everything again and I got back on (kind of stupid). This time when I asked her for a trot she seemed fine and so I took her down in the lower paddock. When I got down there, I asked for a canter and she freaked out on me! It was all of a sudden, she got tense and started rearing and bucking and kicking all at once. I managed to stay in my saddle, but got off after that one. I couldn't find anything that could be spooking her. Is she testing me to see if I'm in charge? Could she just be wanting to go? —JM


Dear oh dear, I'm glad you're okay! What you're describing is mounting panic and the main reason it built is because you held her back. Imagine yourself in her shoes.. you're wanting to go faster because you are a bit scared about being out there and feeling vulnerable to predators, think lurking LIONS! And now you're being held back and you just know when the lions will be nipping at your heels and your escape door is shut. Little by little the terror mounts and it's hardest to feel it in introverts. They seem to be handling it, that tension doesn't feel that bad, but then it all gets too much to bear and they explode. Even though she exploded once you got home, it's where the pressure was released but not where it occurred. Think about building her confidence at home with longer lines and creative extreme Friendly Games. When you do go on the trail pay attention to thresholds and do what it takes to overcome them. Finally, don't hold her back if all of a sudden she has trouble. Get off and direct that energy until she is calm. When prey animals get on adrenaline they need to move their feet in order to get it out of their system. Look to both the Right-Brain Introvert and Right-Brain Extrovert strategies to know what to do.

The Lone Ranger be damned, because the absolutely most dangerous behavior a horse can give a human is rearing, whether that person is standing on the ground or on the horse's back. Rearing is the severest show of aggression that a horse can do. Trainers, very experienced and real trainers won't bother wasting their time - or putting themselves at risk - to work with a horse that rears.

So, the answer that should have been given to this girl with no ability to handle such a problem horse follows. This is from an experienced horsewoman with years of training, riding and showing under her belt:

Lady, are you NUTS? For sure the horse is! Who knows what poor training (if any) a horse coming from that sort of background has had. The first thing you did wrong was buy a horse from a "rescue." They aren't "unwanted" horses without reason you know. Second mistake you're making is to think that with your lack of experience that you can safely (keyword safely) train this horse yourself, which your story has just now proved beyond doubt.

Either send Hi Ho Silver to a professional horse trainer for 3-6 months at $500 a month and HOPE you get something safe to use back, or shitcan the piece of shit and spend the $1,500-3,000 you would have spent on training on a GOOD LEGITIMATE horse that wont fall on you and cause you to admire horses from your wheelchair for the rest of your life (if you're lucky) THE END.

Like I said, there's a big, big difference between dreaming and reality when it comes to horses. I'm all for everyone owning one that wants one, but at least have the common sense to learn about horses before you buy. Most of all, be a bit more discriminating in who's advice you take -- before it kills you.

Update: March 17, 2012

Noting how popular this post is, visited by many around the world concerned that TV horse trainers may not be the best source of information, I felt it important to update. Today, I found an excellent article by Linda Parelli that outlines very good ways to keep yourself safe so that you can enjoy your horse: 

Keeping Your Horse Out of Your Space


  1. My real big beef with it is the dangerous STUPID stuff they do for Show
    business and worry that some impressionable teenager might go home and try to
    jump their horse over a picnic table! Or someone in a wheelchair thinks its "ok"
    to be near a rearing horse, or...some kid jumps on his barrel horse with no
    bridle because PP rides without one! Circus training a horse isnt valuable for
    the way most people use their horses, and very unsafe for the average horse
    owner. Im forever surprised that Mr.PP hasnt been sued plumb out of his monkey
    business over someone getting killed trying to duplicate one of his stunts.
    Ive also seen so many things that are just wrong! Have you seen them
    demonstratring playing some of those "games"? ( a BAD choice of words for
    anything being done with a horse IMO.) I cringe at the one where their horses
    are chasing them around ( no halter or lead of coarse) and the horses ears are
    pinned and the muzzles are stretched forward as far as they will go.Sorry...that
    horse is telling them hed really like to have a chunk out of a human shoulder
    over that "game" The horses clearly dont appreciate that one, and are exhibiting
    aggressive body language. Put it this way,,,another horse would immediately know
    to get the heck out of the line of fire.
    Oh...and the time PP kept telling a young man to push his horse at a giant
    blue ball in an arena ( watched this one on a hotel room tv ) This mans horse
    was clearly terrified of the ball and call me crazy it was time to step down,
    and quietly show the horse it wasnt a giant horse eating alien!, but
    no.......that doesnt make good TV!!! So...PP insists that the guy keep pushing
    the horse at it. I was watching this in total disbelief ,and even made the
    comment to my hubby who was also watching. "That guy is going to get dumped! why
    cant that idiot clinician see that, that horse is not just scared but
    terrified?" Sure enough guy gets dumped in the arena a few seconds later, and
    HARD! Had it been me with the bursitis in my hips I wouldnt have walked for a
    week! Luckily the guy was able to get back on. Guess that ewe, awe, kinda
    backfired on ole PP. lol! Oh....and who of you here have run into one of those
    giant blue balls out in the woods riding or roads driving? I guess
    that exersize would come in handy in those instances. lol!
    One other thing Id like to point out. As far as "natural horsemanship" goes, I
    have seen women all my life take the gentle easy approach to training horses. It
    comes "natural" to most of us. Being the weaker sex we long ago learned that the
    way to get along with others bigger than us was not through brute force but
    through developing trust and building a working relationship. DUH! did we really
    need to make some MAN rich to tell us that? lol!

  2. I don't think you know what you are talking about. Do you own your own horse? Have you worked with difficult horses? Have you made a difference to your horses life?
    You seemed to be very one sided.
    You need to speak to somebody about your issues!

    All the way from SA

  3. If you do parelli correctly its fantastic, the 'right' way to train horses, with gentleness and care, doing parelli shows the horse actually WANTS to be with you, not forcing it just because you have the power and the money.
    I myself did parelli with a rearer, it got rid of all his issues and bad experiences with previous owners, and we went on to compete in Novice and Pre novice eventing, and HE DIDNT REAR EVER AGAIN.
    Im now doing parelli with every horse, and getitn some absolutly fantastic results, and my horses are much happier too!
    I know lots of other people who are alos into parelli, and like me, love it, so do thier horses.

    Being a keen participant in parelli activites, has obliged me to go and veiw many demostrations on it, and iv seen horses jumping a full course of jumps with no bridle or saddle, showing wilingness and enjoyment to do the job, none of this 'ears pinned and the muzzles are stretched forward as far as they will go' that you are speaking of. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT.

    Dont be so closed in your silly little brains, if you feel so against Parelli, go speak to PP and see some of the horses he's worked with, you'll feel foolish you ever spoke of such things.

    All the way from England!

  4. All the way from England, PP is a showman and a con artist. Hes all all about getting ewes and awes(and carrot stick sales) from starry eyed groupies like yourself and laughing all the way to the bank with your money. Ive seen the idiot get people dumped off their own horses while following his advice on TELEVISION! The only thing the guy is a master at is marketing himself. The blooger here doesnt need to GET HER FACTS STRAIGHT, you need to get your head out of your a$$ so you can get the PP man out of your billfold. Ive been a professional horseman for over 40 years and do not know one single top horse professional or trainer (you know the kind that actually compete at very high levels) that gives the PP man credit for anything except being a guy getting rich off of wannabes.

  5. Interesting. David and Karen O'Conner do Parelli horsemanship with their horses and they are Olympic level! I've seen them ride their horses jumping in complete control with NO bridle. And it's not a stunt. A horse with a halter on can still be "forced." Take the halter/bridle off, and the truth would reveal itself. And the Parelli's TELL you not to do it too soon. It's not the Parelli's responsibility if people don't follow their program and just try to do certain things. Should we also quit having Eventing so silly teenagers don't go out and try to jump a wall or down into a dangerous water hazard? Does your horse choose to stay with you? Or without that rope and reins, does he leave? Do you understand horse psychology? A horse rears, strikes, or kicks for a few reasons - fear or they don't respect your leadership. You can't treat a horse that's afraid the same as you would a horse that isn't afraid and is testing your leadership!
    I used to think Parelli was weird cowboy stuff - Now I know different and I'm from the dressage/hunter world. Don't judge it until you know more than only what you see from the outside.

  6. anyone ever heard of the ayers above ground? you know those fancy dressage tricks,several of which involve asking a horse (well trained just in case you couldnt figure that out on your own)to rear. i realize that not all horses do this and they are very carefully bred,selected and trained andalusians and lippizans, but its still rearing. and not all people get that the pp method of training is NOT an instant magical cure and that it takes time and alot of patience. i dont agree with all of his training methods but some things work for some horses. every horse is different and a "problem" like earing can be a result of almost any trauma or lack of training.

  7. Oh...yeah, Ive heard of it, and its "aires" above ground! not "ayers" (just in case you haven't figured that out on your own) ROFL! At least learn the correct spelling before you go trying to sound like you know what your talking about. Oh...and its dressage "moves" not "tricks" btw.
    PP is as phony as a TV evangelist, and if ask me cut of the same cloth. "Send me your wallets, and be saved" WTF ever!
    Oh...and he HAS recently gotten someone killed and there IS a lawsuit pending over it. We can all only hope and pray that they win big, and hes shamed right out of rest of his idiot groupies bank accounts forever.

  8. wow this is such a stupid arguement to get into. some people are gonna like his trianing methods and some arent. people also get injured or killed riding its a dangerous sport. deal with it.

  9. 40 years is a long time. I’ve only been in the horse “business” for 10 years and I know quite a few top horse professionals and trainers (the kind who compete at top levels) who endorse Parelli:
    Karen O'Connor (Eventing champion), David O'Connor (Eventing champion), Walter Zettle (World renowned dressage trainer), Craig Johnson (Reigning and working cow horse world champion with lifetime earnings well over $1,000,000), Karen Rolf (Represented the United States 4 times on the Young Riders team, passed her USDF 'L' judge test with distinction and was accepted into the USEF 'r' judge program), Lauren Barwick (2008 Summer Paralympic gold medalist in dressage 72.7766%), Darren Simpkins (World champion cutting trainer), Luis Lucio, Luca Moneta. There are more…
    I guess we just run in different circles. To be fair, I can’t say I actually “know” all of these people. I’ve really only met a few of them personally, but they do all endorse Parelli. And their reputations speak for themselves.

  10. 40 years IS a long time. A lot of high profile people endorsed Bernie Madoff too! ROFL!, that didnt make them smart, or make him any less of a con artist. What is the usual attraction to something that sounds too good to be true? Most often GREED. Sorry Im not impressed that someone whos raking in tons of dough off the backs of silly people with more money than they have sense is attracting others that smell the scent of money in the stench of shit. For gawds sakes use one drop of common sense, the people you brag about here all knew how to get along very, very, well with horses long before any of them had ever heard of the PeePee man.

  11. All i know is i was in a similar situation to the person who sent in the question about rearing when i first got my horse 4 years ago. She reared when i was on thr ground and when riding. Your advice = to put her down. Thankfully instead i followed the parelli programme, she hasn't reared now in 3 years when i've been playing / working*(choose which ever word you prefer) with her. We are now jumping 3ft jumps with easy and we can canter and jump bridleless when we want to. And in regards to your comment "The first thing you did wrong was buy a horse from a "rescue." They aren't "unwanted" horses without reason you know." I have a moorland rescue pony that i got when she was 3yrs old, i backed her myself and she has never been naughty and takes great care of all of the children who ride her.

    Reading your advise i beleive you would have put both of my horse and pony down, i am thankful for PP that there is an alternative to your "advice".

    Mels Partner

  12. Let me put it another way here. I bought and like Pat Parelli's very first book: Natural Horse Man Ship. It's solid, logical, and lacking in all the promotional fluff that he's evolved into. I use the techniques in that first book of his, and without reserve or risk to my health and well being.

    The whole point of that first book was to teach the human how to understand a horse enough to communicate with it in a way that the horse would understand. It is NOT horse training.

    I repeat: The stuff that makes up Parelli's way of doing things is teaching the HUMAN not the HORSE.

    Parelli himself says that horses learn about 3 times faster than humans do. It is a far safer approach to learn a heck of a lot more than the questioner in my post has learned before taking on a severely problematic horse such as one that rears. To that end, the human's safety must be first and foremost in any training/teaching scenario.

    I'm glad that all the Savvy Club people are finding this post. I hope you all think hard before putting yourself in avoidable danger. You see, the point is to expand the horse world, not shrink it by killing people off!

  13. I'd be very interested to know what level you studied in their program in order to gain such an informed opinion??

  14. I've been a student of Parelli for 10 years now and can honestly say that Pat is not about the money. If he can change the world better for horses one person at a time, he's happy. First and foremost Pat's first level was all about Safety, then you build Confidence and Harmony in Level 2, and finish with Refinement in Level 3. Now the program has progressed in going through each Savvy one level at a time. Four Savvys, On-Line, Liberty, Freestyle, and Finesse. Students can now achieve Level 4 in each Savvy.
    Those that disapprove of Pat's program don't have a clue and are reluctant to change. Those horseman who force with any means a horse to do whatever they request are not horsemen, they are abusers. Those who build relationships on trust and confidence without the use of force, fear, or mechanical means are the true horsemen. We have lost most recently one of the greatest horseman "Ray Hunt" and Pat Parelli's mentor who is carrying on his legacy.

  15. Pee Pee mans "student" Ohhhh ya gotta give me a break here. Im laughing so hard Im afraid Im going to have an asthma attack. Hes not about the money? OMG! You have got to be kidding? Or...does he pay you groupies to post stuff like that?
    If you want some really good advice about Pee Pee man, read all you can here.


    Then you will know what real horsemen, and normal people not oozing of Pee Pee man "CULTanality" think of him, and like "TV cowboys"
    Use your OWN brains people!

  16. Please be my guest and have an asthma attack all I can say is THANKS BE TO GOD THAT IM NOT YOUR HORSE
    Keep it natural

  17. Look, people. I wouldn't have a blog if I didn't believe in a free exchange of ideas and thoughts. If you read the parts of the original post that I wrote, nothing of what I said was insulting, belittling or disrespectful of anyone and I expect the same from all of my commenters.

    To become so defensive and hostile when faced with criticism of belief in one person is exactly the kind of thing that turns into cults and cult-like behavior. To a slightly lesser extent, others who are more than willing to give up their own personal rights, beliefs and thoughts in order to be a 'part of the crowd' aren't far behind.

    What disturbs me the most is that my intent in writing the post was to have you question enough to be more intently aware of your safety. Instead, I'm left with a bunch of anonymous posts taking cheap shots and running away. In this case, I'm sure the Parelli regime would agree that's not very good for business either.

    To that end, be warned. The next rash of childish, immature, off topic comments will be deleted without reserve.

    Just to let you know, I've had horses since I was 6, and trust me, that was a long, long time ago. None of my horses ever developed bad behaviors or suffered through anything other than too much loving. It also didn't take me costly levels upon levels or overpriced tack to get to where I am today - over 50 and quite alive and well. And I use nothing but a rope halter.

  18. Mels Partner3/21/2009 3:13 PM

    Here,heres Theresa Komor, I may have differing oppinions to you ergarding the safety of parelli but i appreciate the way you run your blog. in the fact that you don't hold with name calling.

    In regard to the aspect of saftey, i contacted a parelli professional regarding my horses rearing and bucking and they did advise me not to ride her until i had dealt with those issues on the ground. this seemed very safe and was successfully.

    Mels Partner

  19. Good, good! It's important when faced with extremely dangerous behaviors from a horse to get help! I'm glad you worked through it, Mels Partner, and safely.

    Using Parelli's early stuff, I felt very comfortable around all horses - until I met a friend's yearling. This filly had to be the rankest horse I ever met, and is the only horse I never was able to touch in my life.

    I too was at a point where I needed to read books and watch videos about horse training when I bought a weanling and had no training experience. There were no trainers in my area, and I also wasn't willing to let anyone else teach my horse. I started him, the horse I have now, with the stuff in Parelli's first book.

    And I also read John Lyons' first book, Clinton Anderson on RFDTV and Chris Cox. I learned the most from watching countless others deal with their horses, and the horses that did the best were the ones that did not pin ears or wring tails. Of the TV cowboys, Chris Cox's horses are the only ones that do not display displeasure at what they are asked to do.

    Does that mean that everything else the others put out there is worthless? No. Not at all. Do you need to follow only one person's advice as you run into sticky spots with your horse? NO, not at all.

    I teach myself and read over and over. Once it's in my head enough to guide my physical actions, that's when I take it out to my horse. In the end, it's not Parelli, Cox, Anderson or legions of others that I am following, it is just me and my horse.

  20. Just because a person doesnt buy into the "levels" and I do mean BUY into them, or want to walk around spewing nauseating phrases like "horsinality" or disagree that one should refer to any kind of horse training as a "game" doesnt make that person an abusive, "mean" OR clueless owner/trainer.
    It doesnt mean that they dont know what they are doing either, or that their horses are in any way suffering, or that they need any advice from Parelli or need to buy boat loads of horse training videos. If you are getting along with your horses all I can say is if its not broke, there is no reason to fix it.
    Millions of horse owners have gotten along just as fine as frog hair long before Pat Parelli ever emptied his first customers wallet. The simple truth is many millions more will get along with their horses just fine, numbers of them to a very high levels without ever buying an over priced vegetable stick, riding without a bridle, teaching a horse to rear, feeding the horse a food treat for biting at them, or spending one penny on his brand of anything.
    Love him or hate him, thats the bottom line folks. To each his own.

  21. Well said. (Fine as frog hair? What? LOL)

  22. Maybe a lot of horse owners have gotten along, but what about their horses??????????? Its not about what a horse can do, but about the way you reach that goal. With respect!!!
    Do animals have to pay, for people's mistakes. When horses (and other animals) have behavioural problems this is the fault of humans. Most wrongs can be undone. So thank God for people like Pat Parelli, who is here to teach us how to understand horses behaviour and respond appropriately. I've never had any problems with any of my horses, but I've learned so much and my relationship with my horses has come along leaps and bounds. Instead of tolerating me, he likes being with me know.
    A few months ago, I adopted a horse that was going to be sent to the butcher. The issues this horse has are all created by people thinking that brite force is the way forward. We are making progress, slowly but surely. Some wrongs can be undone. Thank you Pat and Linda and all other great horsmen in the world.

  23. Thank you for your comment!

    I watched a John Lyons symposium video where he said that he no longer rides his horse bridleless because he figured out that Zip wasn't happy about spurs in his sides all the time - by the wringing tail.

    All sorts of competitions show horses just as unhappy, such as dressage which is the worst, any of the speed events, etc. But cutting horses don't do that. Those horses are doing something that they would normally do, and the rider stays out of the way.

    Pat Parelli's first book says that he has a Bachelors Degree in clinical psychology, and most of what he does is basic behavior modification. It works with animals, and he has shown that behavior mod doesn't have to include punishment. Kudos on that one!

    What I feel is trouble in what he has been doing lately is that he is attributing human traits and characteristics to the horse - anthropomorphism. Even though he may be doing this to explain a horse's behavior to a human, it is a dangerous path to take because a human should never forget that it is a horse at the end of that rope.

    A horse's brain is about the size of a walnut, so they say (could be wrong about the size) and has no parietal lobe, the part of the human brain where conscious thinking occurs. It is the parietal lobe that is split into preferential halves with the left side of the brain relegated to math and logic in a right-handed person and the right side to emotion. It's switched if the person is left handed.

    The same thing holds true with Jung's introvert/extrovert - it's in the parietal lobe, a part of the brain that horse doesn't have.

    Do you need to know more about human psychology to understand a horse? NO! No, no, no! You need to stop thinking and behaving so much like a human to relate to a horse. It's an experiential thing, if you want to throw around psych terms, not a psychoanalytic thing!

    One of the question/answer parts of the Parelli newsletter was a question about a girthy horse who would bite hard when girthing up. Whoever answered that letter told the person to have a big ol' carrot in hand to shove into the horse's mouth! What, reward very dangerous behavior??? NO NO NO NO NO!!

    I suggest that everyone read Parelli's first book. Please. How far he has strayed from what was good about his techniques is just too much! After reading that book is when you'll have that relationship with your horse that you seek.

  24. I suppose, as with all aspects in life, some people have got a natural feeling with animals and others don't. No matter how hard they try. Thanks to the horsenality charts those people do get better insights in what make horses tick. A lot of things also come down to how we as humans interpret the given information. And this is where things sometimes go wrong.
    I believe that prior and proper preparation is one of the golden tips as of course a good dose of common sense is a necessity. People's opnions also differ as some people treat horses as a thing, an object that they can use to achieve their goals, while others try to respect the horse as a living creature, where the relationship and mutual respect is the most important thing. But for a lot of people it is so difficult to let go of our ego. The behaviour of a horse often reflect how we people treat them.

  25. Mels Partner3/22/2009 4:18 PM

    Hi again Theresa, my mare did used to try to bit me when i girth up, and when i went to mount from the ground. Bare in mind i was learning so not all of my first attempts where the correct direction but i did try the carrot thing when girthing and it did make an improvement. I also tried approach and retreat with mounting but this in my case made things worse. what in the end worked best long term with both issues was getting the horse to move her front end over when i was on the ground. Once she did that well the other two issues seemed to go. Now i did this through trial and error, before they brough out the parelli horsenality charts, but if i had had the charts then progress would have been quicker as i would have realised through the chart she was "left Brain" dominant, and they say with this type of horse yielding the Forehand makes a big difference. Now alot of people out there may have known this already but I was very new to horses so have had to do alot of figuring out as i've gone along.

    Mels Partner.

  26. Level 1 - Spent $500 on Parelli Crap
    Level 2 - Spent $1000 on Parelli Crap
    Level 3 - Spent $2000 on Parelli Crap
    Level 4 - Spent $4000 on Parelli Crap
    Level 5 - Spent $8000 on Parelli Crap
    Level 6 - Spent $15,000 on Parelli Crap
    Level 7 - Bought the Parellis a new horse trailer
    Level 8 - Bought the Parellis a new farm
    Level 9 - Bought the Parellis a new horse trailer, matching new trucks, a farm and a vacation home in Aspen.

  27. All those people here stating that Parelli costs a lot of money. I really would want to see, when they had a revolutionary idea and they could sell it and even go worldwide, who would give it away for free. Or sell it for next to nothing. First of all, as you probably know horses cost a lot of money. Every good training costs a lot of money. And every good pieve of equipment costs a lot of money.

    So, maybe things are expensive, but these people have got to earn a living. Who can blame them for making money. And when you do a good job, you deserve to make a good living.

  28. To above poster, making a reasonable living is one thing, shamelessly raping people without a kiss is quite another.

    As far as being so good at schmoosing people that you have done it well and worldwide doesnt mean its something to be admired. Does the name Bernie Madoff mean anything to you?

    Unfortunatly when an individual markets themselves to the point of actually achieving a cult following like Parelli has almost always the "Guru" takes full advantage and promptly empties his groupies bank accounts. Oh and dont forget the joy of brainwashing and perks of idol worship.

    Theresa has had to delete more than a few nasty posts here from rabid Parellites foaming at the mouth from the 'Savvy Club" hackles full up, and spewing venom defenfing their God. That alone says it all.

  29. Until you meat the man, and know where he's coming from, you have no right to talk the way you do. I have received many educational items from the Parelli's without charge and from the man himself. I have attended a week long course at their facility in Pagosa Springs - which I won. There have been many that have won 1 to 2 week courses or the Savvy Conference at their place at each of their Tour Stops.

    You talk about brainwashing and idol worship, I do not follow what is now called the "normal" horse trainers, because until they do away with using tie-downs, running martingales, and spurrs to make a horse do something instead of want they have nothing to say.

    My bank account has not been emptied because of Parelli, it's been emptied because of other reasons. You do not have to buy everything, many of his instructors started off with just the Parelli Natural Horse.Man.Ship book and went all the way with it.

  30. The replies to this post speak volumes. Look at how aggressive and hostile the ones are who are bad-mouthing Parelli...versus the ones who practise Parelli. 'Frustration begins where knowledge ends' so that says it all really! People who dont like Parelli simply dont understand it and understand enough about horse psychology. As much as anything Parelli is about training people and it looks like Pat and Linda are doing a great job (emotional fitness really being shown in the replies from Parelli people). BTW Theresa, if you really dont support/like Parelli (which you clearly dont) then why bother getting the Parelli e-news in the firt place!!

  31. Why are you so threatened by Pat Parelli's teachings and students that you feel the need to lash out so defensively? The level of venom and hysteria in your protests speaks volumes. My sympathies to your horses.

  32. To above poster, its pretty funny that you would say something like that when the blog owner has had to delete sooooo many Parellites venomous hysterical defenses of their Guru and idol. Speaks volumes about the cult if you ask me.

    My sympathies are for all the HUMANS who have been injured, killed, and maimed by buying into these ridiculous games of poor horsemanship and dangerous circus show antics. These poor fools who know nothing about horses or how to handle them who are his #1 target, and #1 cash cows.

    The main thing PP sells is that he is the only one that knows anything and all the rest of the world has been doing it all wrong all along. So...he has to sell too much ass backwards advice to prove hes different.

    Hes different all right, and not one single professional competitive horse person that I know (and being a show judge I know quite a large number) gives the guy and his wife anything except laughing disregard. They however arent the ones hes endangering.

    One things for sure, you have to give the guy credit for being a self marketing wonderboy and guiltless self made millionaire.

  33. I'm going to make a few points here.

    First, the above poster is right: It's the Parelli-ites that have slamming those commenters outside that particular school of thought, which all we've done is slam Parelli. There's a bit of a difference there, don't you think?

    Second, while you all blindly follow the drunken sailor off the high dive, NOT ONE OF YOU HAS BOTHERED TO CHECK ALL THE OTHER HORSE POSTS ON THIS BLOG! Just look at the far right side bar, and you'll see an area called "Topics." One of the topics is called "On a Horse." Go check out what is here and then tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. My horse is featured prominently, and no one, not one single person can say that my horse is not happy!

    Thirdly, if I see another juvenile delinquent say that they are sorry for my horse, not only will the comment be deleted, but I will track you down by ISP and have your butt kicked off the Internet. I've tried to keep things civil in hopes to reach enough people to save a few of them from putting themselves into unnecessary danger. But, I'm at the end of my patience. My HORSE acts better than most of you!

    Fourthly, I will say for the last time that Pat Parelli started out with some damned good ideas, then let ego and wallet get way out of hand to the point where it's nothing short of ridiculous. Brighten up people, and start thinking for yourself. YOU MUST! It's YOU on the other end of a rope attached to 1200 pounds of potential danger.

  34. I have no problems thinking for myself. Horse owners have to take responsibility for themselves & part of that is understanding that if you're following a program you choose a good one & you actually do what it says. I've put a good bit of time into the Parelli program. The letter & response that you posted is an example of someone who's not reading their horse. While I'm sure the horse owner believes they are... they're not really following the Parelli program either. A horse with abuse issues for a first horse = recipe for disaster. Contining to push onward with a horse that's indicating there is a problem = disaster. Taking the horse on & asking for a canter = disaster. Lack of experience & bad choices are at fault.

    Pat Parelli doesn't do my thinking for me. I was thinking for me & my horses before I heard of Parelli & will likely be at it for long after. PEOPLE make the choice to part with their money. No gun to anyone's head. And people have to be responsible. The person from that letter is lucky he/she isn't badly hurt but the Parelli program didn't cause nor will they be able to prevent it IF the person doesn't realize the horse didn't 'suddenly' do whatever... the signs were there for the reading. How many times does the animal give warning & the person didn't heed it & just kept pushing on? Parelli didn't do that. The horse's owner did that.

  35. TV cowboys aka "horse whisperer's" = charlatans intent on selling gullible people things they don’t need.

  36. You said someone was killed and there is a lawsuit pending? Is there any more information on this?

  37. i myself don't use parrelli, but one person at the barn where i board my horse does and she lectures everyone on it. it irritating and a huge turnoff to the entire training style. my dad asked her to look at my horse for some insight on what might have caused him to go lame while i was working, and after "oh yea, hes lame" i was browbeaten for using a shank (hes alot bigger than i am and when im leading him somewhere he is very capable of dragging me over to the gras to grass)telling me thats its cruel and painful and that it will ruin a him, then i was promptly reprimanded for using a nylon halter instead of a rope one.... among other practices she and her grand-daughter where on my case about where treats being fed from the hand and mucking his stall with him still in it, in my defense it had been raining nonstop for almost a month and was at that time downpouring, my horse doesnt like being out in that kind of weather and would have been a basket case as soon as we stepped outside of the barn, not to mention the thunder and lightening directly overhead.
    also i was about wondering wat i can do to keep my horse from freaking out at the evergreen sapling next to the 'wash stall' outside my barn. one day, the only nice warm day last month, i took my horse out to hose him off being that his white patches where no longer white, they where stained with little streaks of mud and dirt (he was a mess)and about halfway through hosing the shampoo off the sapling became a big scary monster and he reared at it (it more like skittering backward). as soon as i got to where i could reach hiss halter he stopped though, and was fine. there was one other horse grazing behind us but that was it.

  38. This is quite an interesting discussion, in that there is such a polarized opinion about Mr. Parelli. While I find 'natural horsemanship' (from the various exponents) very appealing philisophically, I'd have to cite John Lyons rule #1, which was 'Don't get hurt' (or something like that).

    #2 I believe is 'don't get your horse hurt', which I look at as a long-term thing as well. Allowing a horse to exhibit incorrect behaviors toward humans, whether it be rearing, bucking or as simple as nipping, is doing them a terrible disservice, and setting them up for a one way truck ride to the killers.

    A horse is not a machine with a one-size-fits-all user's manual, and techniques that will work most of the time with most horses will still find the five percent that will not. Horses do have personalities and genetically imprinted temperament (no comment on 'horsenalities') and frankly some of them, a very tiny percentage, are truly bad to the bone. I knew three geldings, half brothers raised by different people from different mares. All three were tremendous riding horses but were so vicious that I'd not turn my back on any of them.

    Finally-The day you realize that you still have to ask others for help or advice on horses is the day you can consider yourself an 'expert'. If my horse suddenly started to rear when asked for mild work I'd be shocked- but after the obvious thorn under the saddle I'd look first to my vet (is there a medical issue)then to a professional trainer (for consulting- and the trainer would be picked carefully as someone who does not take violence as the first / only resort). I've been riding thirty years, and got over the 'I know everything' stage about twenty five ago. I've got a dozen books on training, and have seen a lot of clinicians, famous and infamous, good and bad. The best that one can hope for is to keep learning. I do not entirely buy Mr. Parelli's methodology (no pun intended) but I would suggest that an EXPERIENCED horseman could use it as a guideline, as long as they knew when to invoke John Lyons' rules #1 and 2.

  39. Just to let you know, Tom and Bill Dorrance were my uncles and Ray Hunt was a good friend of mine. When Uncle Tom was asked who he wanted to be invited to his benefit event, he replied and I quote "Anyone but Pat Parelli." Sadly, Pat had already been invited. Uncle Tom felt, among other things, that Pat was in too big of a hurry with horses and had the wrong motive.
    I was at a Ray Hunt clinic a few months before Ray died and Pat showed up with his son, Caton. Pat went out of his way to try to shake Ray's hand, Ray went out of his way to avoid it. When he left, Ray went on a rather long rant about why he couldn't stand Pat. There were many reasons from lack of horsemanship and lack of horse sense to his having an affair with Linda for a few years behind his then-wife Karen's back. Ray said Pat was dishonest, not to be trusted, greedy, and would get someone killed. Ray and his wife Caroline both said they had made it a point to never meet Linda Parelli. They said they loved Karen Parelli Hagen fiercely and that she was a much much better horseman than Pat ever was.
    Now, I know a lot of people love Pat Parelli. But I have an undying amount of respect for my Uncle Tom's opinion of horsemen and also of Ray's. Nuff said.

  40. Mandy, welcome! Very interesting about your two famous uncles and Ray Hunt. I had never heard about Pat Parelli's previous marriage, though what you said does not surprise me.

    I find it hard to give credit to one aspect of a person if other aspects are less than desirable. The negative negates the positives, or put another way, to be a "good person" you have to be a good person 100 percent, not just halfway. Parelli started good, then ended poorly when it comes to the value of what he had to share about horses.

    Parelli and Anderson have never been respected by their peers, and that speaks volumes.

  41. You both just said it all. "He's not respected by his peers", and from what Ive heard over and over that is fact. However, that almost implies that hes one of them which the lions share of them would shudder at the very suggestion of that.

    I think Ray hit it right on the head, hes dishonest,not to be trusted, greedy, and no doubt has gotten people killed as well. Your uncle Tom also was 100% right on when he said Parelli has the wrong motive. That motive is money, and greed, and if he has to sell idiotic advice in his attempt to "stand out" and be different, with his level of greed he has no problem doing that either.

    I have watched enough Parelli to see for myself that the honest advice they give is nothing but very basic horsemanship that you can learn anywhere. The rest of it is is dangerous bullshit for the purpose of marketing himself as "revolutionary" That kind of con always swoons the wannabes and the newbies. To the true horsmen and women in this world that know better its only revolting.

  42. about last year, i attended a parelli clinic. i was very anxious to see him work with the horses. i was very convinced by the end of the clinci and purchased everything i needed. i waited untill the end of the day and began to work with my Welsh/QH mare. she is a typically good pony, no vices or anything, the perfect show pony. i fist Began to preform "games" and she started rearing up, took off striked me and everything! I was so surprised to see this kind of behavior coming from her! one of the ladies at my barn, who also does parelli saw this and said i was doing it wrong., so i let her try, and the pony did the very exact thing to her. i ride hunters and show hunters, and this stuff is unheard of and i wanted to see if it worked. it doesnt. the people think they can go out buy a green horse do fine and train it. they are wrong. they have no basic training, have no equitation, know how to jump a horse or give them proper aids. i believe that parelli is a bunch of crap and anyone who does it is ignorant.

  43. Teresa... my uncle (I won't mention his name) is a very respected horseman, reserve world champion in his discipline and international show judge. He saw Pat showing last summer and said it was the biggest train wreck he ever saw. Btw... I found your blog by googling "Parelli bullshit"

  44. I do not care for Parelli for many reasons. I have been riding, studying and just plain horse crazy (I got the horse gene!) for more than 20 years, and have been using my natural abilities mixed with the teaching of trainers/horseman that I trust, and who also have proven positive results. I have only tried one of Parelli's methods, which had been recommended by my former trainer, with my mare. One should note that she is my former trainer because she was not who she represented herself to be, and caused problems with my horse, and failed to conduct herself in a professional manner. My mare had no behavioral problems prior to using this "method", and we were building quite a nice relationship (I had only owned her for a few months when I took the poor advise of that "trainer"). In my experience I found that it actually caused behavior issues and fear in my horse. I also have a really hard time listening/following the advise of someone who rides and handles horses in such a poor and dangerous manner. I have watched many videos of Parelli (and some of his "trainers") bouncing around with hunched, tense backs, completely unbalanced, using bizarre and inappropriate leg cues, etc. I ride bare back often to help me gain a better seat, and better balance. Parelli and his "trainers" have shown no seat to speak of. They exhibit flailing arms, using hands for balance, pounding their tushes on the animal's back. I have read so many defending Parelli and his methods and saying they feel sorry for the horses of owners opposed to his methods. To them I say this: The poor riding skills exhibited by Parelli can do serious physical (and emotional) damage to a horse than you know. The animal will constantly be trying to compensate for his inconsistent, jerky movements, his spinal cord (and bones) will take a beating from the bouncing around, by constantly having to try to re balance a poor rider the animal's musculature will develop unevenly and can cause skeletal deformity, not to mention the soft tissue damage.

    So in conclusion, I say to all the followers of Parelli: I feel bad for your horses. I hope you see that true horsemanship is learning how to work and live in harmony with your horses, and not buy in to a gimmick.

  45. Here's what I have to say.
    You can come to me, I'll explain everything.
    I can coach you into the best horsemanship ever...Naturally.
    I can tell you all about Caton, Marlene and Karen.
    I can get you and your horse to understand Feel, Timing and Balance.
    Tom would never say things in a negative way, not even about Pat, Ray might have. I have lots of insight...I am Karen Parelli Hagen
    Would love to ride with ya all... defininghorsemanship.com

  46. Seriously? The advice the "training lady" gave was absurd. I have a horse that was sold because he reared and guess what? He has not reared once with me because I know how to handle a prey animal.
    The analogy of the "rescue horse" being thrown away for a reason makes me sick. Does that mean the same for other animals? That thought process could be translated to foster children as well. To each his own but use common sense and some compassion wouldnt hurt either....

  47. Hi all, yeah for sure parelli is a religion ! worship of money is the key. They set out these unachievable goals so people keep on spending their hard-earned to try and achieve them. The worst thing about parelli people is the "we know it all you know nothing" arrogance they acquire. i am a reasonably capable horseman I break youngsters to ride and drive carefully and humanely with good results, do cross-country western showjumping and driving all with one mare and have another coming on the same way. I also do a bit of behavioural work, successfully, using monty roberts and clint andersons methods. So you can imagine a rather robust discussion i had with one of these parelli dreamers last weekend who wanted to drive her (somewhat nervous) cob without blinkers ! oh yeah ! apparently this is a parelli thing cos blinkers are "cruel" what do you know about blinkers madam i said? do you have some magical powers which countless coachmen hansom cab drivers didnt have and I dont have either? because, i said, you will need magical powers to stop your horse before he gets to ?????? (7-8 miles away) if he hasnt mounted pavements or parked cars etc and flipped the cart over on top of you before that. The only trouble with common sense is that it is not very common, especially among parelli people, the need to skew the odds in their own favour for reasons of safety and survival seems to have been washed clean out of these peoples head by the Master and his, er, accomplice.

  48. Well it works for me and has changed me and my horses.

    Frankly, if someone's daft enough to try the fancy stuff without any training, then they deserve the Darwin Award that they will surely get.

    Question, why are non-PNH posters so aggressive? Shouty capital letters and lines of punctuation? If you don't agree with it, walk away and do something that suits you more. Life's far too short to waste screaming and throwing tantrums because someone has a different opinion from your own. :-)

  49. Ok I just want to say a few things. I personally love Parelli and he is the only Trainer that I fallow, that being said iv never pushed Parelli on any of my friends several have chosen to switch just seeing the difference it made in my horses. I don’t have any problems with my friends that didn’t choose to do Parelli. Many of them do quite well with other methods. Parelli is most defiantly NOT a cult. that’s just ridiculous. iv gone to several clinics and even the parelli center and I’ve seen lots of people using halters and stuff that are not Parreli's nobody forced them to change or tried to sell them something better he’s about making the world a better place for horses and humans. Just want to point out the "WORLD". Now how are you supposed to "change the world?" Get the news out? good start. get people excited? sure would help... now lets see how do we do that without making any money?.... good luck! His motives are good. your NOT going to change people that probably shouldn’t have bought the horse they did. 5 people told me to shoot my horse and I was stubborn determined that I was going to keep her no matter what! now if you would have told me to give up send her off to a trainer id have ignored you and resented your comments. Parelli helped me because he didn’t try to make me feel stupid for buying my horse instead he did the best he could to help me and my horse get along be safe and that made an impact changed my habits and way of thinking for the better. I think that some of his newer "dumbed down" stuff is a bit silly but again he’s only trying to reach a larger group of people that might not know ANYTHING about horses. Just as many people get hurt doing any kind of activity with there horses granted some of the things he shows are high level maneuvers but he isn’t being unsafe his horses and his leadership are at a level that those things are able to be done safely. He does NOT condone doing these things without prior and proper preparation! If I tell you how to safely skydive starting with step one and working your way up to actually doing it and you ignore all my advice and just jump without any preparation and get killed… is that my fault? I just don’t understand why bash this one man? He is a good man with good intentions and a true deep love for the horses and he has a rare gift to find in a horse trainers... people skills.