About Me

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North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Goals Before Principles? Just Asking!

Good Morning Fellow PNHrs:

I went to the Parelli website the other day and to my astonishment I saw the words, "The Ultimate Way to Train Your Horse." I was taken aback by this statement not because of the wording necessarily but because of its location, on the Parelli website, instead of some other non-PNH website. I am no expert but have been around Parelli long enough to know (or think I know) that Parelli's have been saying things like you are not 'training' your horse, you are developing your horse and the relationship, that they are teaching people to teach horses (not 'train' per se) and that principles should be before goals, always. And, I've heard them both say not to even use the word 'train' because is connotes something other than the principles of PNH. So seeing the word train on their website rubbed me the wrong way and made me feel concerned and confused.

Linda had a quote on the Savvy Club website for a long time that read, "Horses don't need to be 'trained,' they need good leadership and clear communication. As the leader in your herd of two it's your job to keep your horse safe and without worry, to prepare him well for what you plan to do." ~Linda Parelli

So, my question, concern, or what ever you call it is, what is going on? I've felt that there have been mixed signals from the Parelli camp over the last year or so, and this is a prime example. I talked to a close friend and fellow PNHr about this and she is not thrilled and disconcerted too. I guess I wonder what is the message from PNH, has it changed? Have they sold out to the marketing ploys of business in order to more easily compete with other natural horse people and to get more business from the gunsel world by using terminology that they [Parelli] had otherwise regarded as inappropriate? Getting more people over to the natural horsemanship side of life is great but, using strategies to get their business that is sending a totally different message to those of us already here and part of the network is something else. My question is, I suppose, have the Parellis found themselves in a position where they need to put their goals [need for financial gain] before their principles [spreading the natural horsemanship message]? If they have, financially I understand but, isn't this marketing maneuver undermining their principles and their reason for ever starting this movement and thus undermining their philosophy and teachings?

I am and will continue to be a PNHr and Savvy Club member, I am in it for life, I am not leaving, I have added the Parelli Patterns to my library, and still plan to progress as far as I can. I have a long way to go as I've had several obstacles that I've had to overcome that have slowed my journey significantly (inappropriate horses, state-to-state relocation, busy non-horse related career, etc.--you know the drill).

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Maybe I am making something out of nothing--at least it is a conversation topic. LOL Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

I sent this to Parelli USA:
Dear Parelli USA-
I wrote the e-mail (I referenced the email above in the blog post) to several PNH friends and they asked that I pass it along to Parelli USA. We Love Pat and Linda but are concerned about what the PNH message is. Most of us have been with Parelli for a long time and plan to continue to be there in the future.
However, we are concerned.
Here is Parelli USA's response:

Hi Michelle

Thank you for contacting us.

No Linda or Pat has not changed the way they do things here at
Parelli. Your so right it is always putting the relationship first.
That is one reason Linda has figured out a way to put the exercises in the patterns on dvd's. She felt people were spending to much time with the original levels 1-3 in front of the TV and not getting out there and just applying things. It became all about the person and which string and certificate could they work for next. Don't get me wrong its okay to work for the string and certificate but also remember who helped you get those YOUR HORSE BUDDY.

The verbage used on our website may be very well for those people who don't know what were all about. Then once they kind of get a picture we can then show and explain how its all done, with LOVE, LANGUAGE and LEADERSHIP.

So put your mind at ease it is and always will be about the RELATIONSHIP.

Thank you for sharing.

Have a good evening

My Thoughts:

I am very pleased with the quickness of Parelli USA'a response. I understand where they are coming from now and have clarity. I appreciate that they were interested in my input and query. There is nothing better than communication so never be afraid to just ask!


Regina said...

I've thought they could clear it up and make everyone happy again by adding an ellipsis and four more words:

the ultimate way to train your horse...is to train yourself.

Or they could do two graphics. One of a horse headshot with the copy "the ultimate way to train your horse" and one with a human headshot with the copy "the ultimate way to train your human."

Maybe it's because I'm relatively new to Parelli (a little over a year) but the language didn't bother me. It sets you up for the twist: you think you're signing on to a horse-training program but soon realize it's a human-training program.

Meanwhile, "training" means a lot of things to me - coaching, mentoring, assisting, helping. A trainer helps us get in shape, learn new software, rehab an injury, practice a new language. I don't think of a trainer as a drill sergeant but rather as a partner who helps me achieve my goal. A horse's goal might be a fun play partner on the ground, a relaxed and fun partner in the saddle who is fun to carry.

I also think from the newbies' perspective, it makes sense. Linda found Pat when she was looking for a way to "train" her horse, because she didn't know any other paradigm. Her story in the BBC Masterclass about this huge cowboy telling her "what you have here is a relationship problem" cracked me up. It's a shorthand. Then once you're "in" you realize the punch line: it's the human getting trained here!


Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

I like the idea of expanding the language a bit...very clever!

I think that my question was valid but their explanation just as valid.

Thanks for reading and keepin' it savvy!


Lucy said...

Hi Michelle,

Loved this entry. I, myself, had a double-take moment when I saw that sentence 'the ultimate way to train your horse!' and your entry has given me food for thought and also saved me a job of writing the exact same email you did to Parelli. Thank you! :)

Great comment, Regina, and very clever concept of adding to the sentence. I never stop learning in my horsemanship because of the thousands of students who help you collect your thoughts and add clarity; it is fantastic!

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Hi Lucy--I almost got whip-lash! I was surprised and definately did a double-take. Thanks for reading and commenting on the blog.