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Once-in-a lifetime Erlebniss bei Pat Parelli, Januar/Februar 2019:


Im Januar 2019 flog ich für 6 Wochen zu Pat Parelli nach Florida und durfte ein aussergewöhnliches Prjektpferd betreuen. Lest hier unserer Geschichte, welche auch im Parelli Savvy-Club veröffentlicht wurde:

Love, Language and Leadership with Harlow

When I arrived at Pat’s barn on the 21st of January this year, I was excited, but in no way could I have anticipated what was going to happen over the next six weeks.

On the day I arrived, Pat introduced me to Harlow, a 6-year-old grey warmblood mare, who arrived the same day. She had many issues that no one was able to solve, she had gone through a number of trainers, and nobody was able to start her under the saddle. Being at Pat’s barn was literally her last chance.

The next three days Pat allowed me to assist him with her development, playing with her on the ground. Pat rode her and coached a friend of his who is experienced with colts through the first bareback ride on her. Then from the fifth day on, under Pat’s guidance, Harlow became my project.

The first challenge was to find ways to communicate with her. Whenever I asked her something, she would answer ‘no’ before I could finish my question. Her answer was usually to run backward – or to try to run over me. Once I was allowed to ask simple questions, the next tasks we approached were all kinds of squeeze games, helping Harlow overcome her fear of a lot of energy as well as being touched. I had to help her become more relaxed and confident, and this needed every principle of Parelli Natural Horsemanship I’d ever heard of. Step-by-step we went forward and Harlow learned to become a partner instead of a prey animal. And slowly but surely she connected to me and trusted me enough to say ‘yes.’ I really learned throughout these first days with her what Pat means when he says: Isolate, Separate, and Recombine!

The second week brought me the opportunity to ride her during the Parelli Professionals Horsemanship Gallery, which exposed her to even higher levels of energy in the form of all the other horses and humans around us. Being there in the company of 16 other instructors was the perfect environment to collect positive impressions and experiences – for both of us! During this time, Harlow also learned to become a partner in everyday situations like clipping, bridling, mounting, and so much more.

This time with Pat and Harlow brought me a much deeper understanding of what love, language, and leadership in Parelli Natural Horsemanship really means. I learned to put the relationship first in all kinds of different situations. And suddenly, it felt so easy with the help of Pat’s program and guidance.

After almost six weeks, Pat gave me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a session with Harlow at the Two Worlds Together Dressage Summit. Despite my emotional fitness being stretched to its limits, Harlow and I stayed partners in this new situation. Through the connection and deep understanding we had gained over the past weeks, we could show the crowd what foundation before specialization really means. As Pat says: “There’s nothing you can’t do when the horse becomes part of you.”

If I had to sum up this entire experience into one lesson learned, it would be this: It is our responsibility to help our horses trust us and be confident in this ‘human world,’ to have a strong enough foundation that they are prepared for specialization. They need to not only trust us enough to overcome their instinct to flee from danger, but also to be able to focus on us so that we can earn their respect for us as friends and leaders. In the end, Harlow felt safe enough to try to find a solution whenever I asked a question. It isn’t just about obeying, but about listening and trying as a partner.

Many, many thanks to all the people and horses that supported us during these weeks and were a part of our journey. Most of all a huge thanks to Pat himself, who teaches me more about horses, communication, emotions, and even life that I could ever imagine, and to 5 Star Master Parelli Instructor, Wally Gegenschatz, who prepared me for this opportunity.