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:


Julie Goes The Distance

Julie Goes The Distance for Cerebral Palsy

Julie McElroy – who has cerebral palsy – is embarking on a cycling challenge to raise money and awareness for a Scottish charity that provides vital therapy for children with the same condition.

Although Julie‟s cerebral palsy means she has serious walking difficulties, co-ordination, and speech and profound hearing impairment, along with manual dexterity problems, she is determined to complete the gruelling 89km cycle ride from Edinburgh to Glasgow in aid of the Bobath Scotland Children‟s Cerebral Palsy Therapy Centre.

Julie’s Challenge is to raise funds and awareness for Bobath Scotland Children’s Therapy Centre in Glasgow, which supports children with cerebral palsy; further applauds the centre’s 16 years of continued service to children diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Julie is now planning an 89km cycle ride form Edinburgh to Glasgow. This ride is specifically to raise awareness and money for Bobath Scotland Children’s Cerebral Palsy Therapy Centre in Glasgow.

Edinburgh to Glasgow is to be the first leg of ‘Julie’s Challenge in aids of Bobath Scotland.’ Her route will be through Broxburn, Linlithgow, Falkirk and Kirkintilloch ending in Port Dundas, Glasgow where Bobath Centre is located. The route can be difficult for even an experienced and able-bodied cyclist, but Julie is determined to push the boundaries of her own abilities. Her ride will take place on the 31 March and the goal is to finish the same day.

For safety reasons, she will be accompanied by The Bike Chain’s Mark and Colin Cadden, along a route that can prove challenging, even for reasonably fit, able-bodied cyclists. Due to Julie’s profound hearing impairment, the bike has been fitted with mirrors to help her to judge traffic.

To donate to Julie’s Challenge appeal:

More information about Julie’s Challenge will be announced in due course.

Understanding Other Expectations

Everyone has their own expectations of what they want to achieve in life and should be given the encouragement to do so.

In this article, I am talking about expectations of disabled people when it comes to finding a suitable job in the competitive job market. I have the same expectations as able bodies to attain a career in my relevant field of information technology/technologies.

I have worked with countless recruitment agencies to seek the perfect job! Some have understood my expectations my desire to work for these well known companies and other recruitment agencies, simply don’t understand the expectation of an disabled individual! (I realized that must be a challenge because everyone is unique in their own way when it comes to talent!)

Three of my contacts who work in recruitments have been supportive as they assist you enabling you to start or progress with your career goals.  This particular recruiter, strike me that he was very engaging and understands my expectations in terms of where I want to be. When you going through recruitment, you have to be focus and clear about what you want and then the recruiter can help achieve your objectives and prepare you for the recruitment stages. It becomes a vision of partnership.

More recently, I was put through my paces of rigorous recruitment process completing against other many of whom who were non disabled. It was rewarding experience to be given the opportunity to complete in this competitive job market. They were so supportive in leading me through each stage of the process. I felt reassured and kept informed of the development.  It no wonder that I gained a positive experience from them.

The company has welcomed my feedback to address this recruitment strand in relation to disability recruitment. Perhaps the company want to seek new ways of working to recruit and create a diversified workforce within their company. Perhaps they feel the need to be empowered to look at implementing change were a diverse candidate can feel confident in applying to these multi-national companies.

These companies need to look at their long term objective in relation to diversity and what they need to achieved these different results, it will be the case of trying different approaches.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!