The Concepts of Learning – Parelli

Life is strange when so many things occur that lets us go our separate ways in life however our connections with riding, the threads remains.
Judith Wright my former riding instructor approached me to come down to Greenarces Riding School and participate in a session about Parelli. Unknown to me, I thought this would be interesting and worthwhile going to see what it was all about.

To gives you an overview of my connection with Judith and riding itself. I started riding with the Riding for Disabled Association in Glasgow at the tender age five and progress with knowledge and ability to learn to ride and lead a horse without assistance. Judith was my first helper on my
first day at riding and I had a black horse called Smokey whom I accustomed to very quickly. Throughout my fifteen years with RDA (Riding for Disabled Association), I had lots of different horses, Harry who was Palomino; Solo was a grey; Harry and Solo were my favorite horses as they were fast and energetic, just like me!

Judith was one of the best helper we had for our class, not only the same personality of fun, laughter and spontaneous characteristic we both had.
It was Judith’s passion, devotion and welfare about horses in all direction that allowed me to become a rider in my own right.  During my ten years with Judith’s presence at the Riding for Disabled Association at Sandyflat, Judith quickly rode to the challenge and asserting leadership positions at the RDA from being a helper to our class’s instructor.

When Judith became our class instructor, she was aiming high with me and a few fellow capable riders, teaching us to canter, show-jumping, trotting – you name it everything that Judith knew, she wanted us to excel to our very best!! Judith was a hard foot-step to follow when she
relocated to Irvine.

After sixteen years at Riding for Disabled Association at Sandyflat, I decided to hang up my gears and pursue other interests not to forget my transition to University was a factor at the time.

Upon a visit to Greenarces Riding School in Irvine to see Judith but more importantly to learn about Parelli. What is Parelli? It focuses on teaching the human rather than training the horse if that makes sense?

Learning comprises of many concepts and it appears Parelli breaks the detailed knowledge into finer and simpler knowledge. It also gets the rider to think how the horse is likely to approach each task with the rider. The Parelli programme helps potential riders understand the psychology, personality and nature of horses. It becomes the basis for a deep, seamless and mutually beneficial human-horse relationship. Is that just fascinating?

Perhaps on this particular week during my riding days, I had a horse called ‘Tommy’, he was Brown horse; very big and slow. I knew instantly that I had my works cut out with him, getting him to walk, trot – it was getting frustrating. Therefore, I am now contemplating to whether having had Parelli session would have taught me the knowledge of the psychology behind ‘Tommy’ and given me the necessary skills and knowledge to acquire to get ‘Tommy’ to walk, trots, rather than gets frustrated with him. Only Judith could stand and look killing herself with laughter as I do my utmost to move ‘Tommy’!!
(Judith and I had a good friendship which was clear to see.)

Having taken part in the new relationship-based approach “Natural Horsemanship” which is now recognized worldwide as an innovative and effective method of natural horse training, I would ethos that Parelli is roll-out to those who have a combination for physical and learning disabilities. I believed embedding this programme to that category of physical and learning disabilities as some riders in my class weren’t adept to riding independently. Whereby having classes of Parelli will give all riders a good grounding about horses and what you can achieve with horses from psychological aspects and what would be expected when you get to ride a horse.

People learn by different methods, but I believe those who learning disabilities and complex needs should have an equal opportunity to learn and find routes to progression in any vocational skills and horse riding is one of them. It is a sport that allows human to become good friend with their horse.

The Parelli concepts could assists disabled people to nurture their confidence therefore, horsemanship skills training will help with developing confidence building and in turn it will stimulate trust with their horse before transferring the practical work in riding.
The Parelli is coherent path that should be introduce to enable those riding a horse have a good understanding at all levels.


Now I perhaps wonder why my horse wouldn’t do as it was told when I was riding. I just assumed he was having one of those days that didn’t want me to ride him. Now I know it is the key to understanding the psychology and the nature of your horse that will foster your relationship into becoming a good rider.

For further information on Parelli visit: www.parelliconnect.com

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