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Building Trust and Communication: A Guide to Parelli Natural Horsemanship

Introduction to Parelli Horse Training

If youre a horse lover, you must have heard of Pat and Linda Parelli. The couple is renowned for their Parelli Natural Horsemanship program that emphasizes love, language, and leadership.

Their training methods are centered on building a strong bond with your horse based on mutual trust and respect, which is what sets them apart from other trainers. In this article, well take a closer look at the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program and its various aspects, including the Parelli Seven Games.

Whether youre a beginner or an experienced horse owner, theres always something to learn from the Parelli program. Love, Language, and Leadership

The Parelli approach to horse training is based on three essential elements – love, language, and leadership.

The first step in any Parelli training program is building a strong bond with the horse. The Parellis believe that love is the foundation of any relationship, and that applies to horses too.

You have to love your horse to build a trusting relationship with them. The second element of Parelli training is language, which refers to the communication between you and your horse.

The Parellis believe that horses have their own language, which they use to communicate with each other. By learning and understanding this language, you can communicate more effectively with your horse.

This includes body language, facial expressions, and verbal cues. Lastly, leadership is crucial in Parelli training.

Its important to establish yourself as the leader in your horses eyes, which means setting boundaries, making decisions, and taking responsibility. This doesnt mean being dominant or aggressive.

Instead, its about being clear and consistent in your communication, setting expectations, and rewarding good behavior.

The Parelli Seven Games

The Parelli Seven Games are a set of groundwork exercises designed to help you build a strong foundation with your horse. The games are based on seven different types of interaction that horses engage in with each other in the wild.

The goal of the games is to develop trust and communication between you and your horse, improve your horses responsiveness, and build a strong foundation for any future training. The seven games are as follows:

1.

Catching: The first game involves approaching your horse and catching them in a halter. Its important to approach your horse in a way that fosters a trusting relationship, and that involves respecting their boundaries.

2. Haltering: Once youve caught your horse, the next game involves haltering them.

This involves teaching your horse to put their head into the halter without resistance. 3.

Leading: This game involves leading your horse with the halter, using proper body language to communicate with them. 4.

Yielding Hindquarters: This game is about teaching your horse to yield their hindquarters, which is an important skill for many riding maneuvers. 5.

Yielding Forequarters: In this game, you teach your horse to yield their forequarters, which is important for turning and lateral movements. 6.

Backing: The sixth game involves teaching your horse to back up on cue, which is essential for a variety of maneuvers. 7.

Circling: The final game involves teaching your horse to circle around you. This is useful for training your horses balance and responsiveness.

Its important to learn and practice the seven games in order because each game builds on the previous one. Each game teaches your horse new skills and sets the foundation for the next game.

By the end, your horse will be more responsive to your cues and more trusting of you.

Importance of Learning the Games in Order

Learning the Parelli Seven Games in order is important because each game builds upon the previous one. Each game provides a foundation for the next, and skipping games or learning them out of order can lead to confusion for both you and your horse.

For example, if you try to teach your horse to circle without first teaching them to yield their hindquarters, they wont understand what youre asking for. By teaching them the hindquarters yield first, you give them the foundation they need to understand circling.

Moreover, following the proper order of the games helps to develop your horses confidence and trust. As you progress through the games, your horse will become more comfortable with you and more responsive to your cues.

This sets the foundation for future training and helps to build a long-lasting bond based on trust and respect.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program is based on building a strong bond between you and your horse based on love, language, and leadership.

The Parelli Seven Games is an essential part of the program that helps to build a strong foundation for any future training.

By learning and practicing the games in order, you can develop your horses responsiveness, trust, and confidence, setting the stage for a long and fulfilling relationship with your horse.

3) Friendly Game

The Friendly Game is the first game in the Parelli Seven Games and is the starting point for developing a strong relationship with your horse. The purpose of the game is to create a good impression and establish trust between you and your horse.

By practicing the Friendly Game, you can develop your horses confidence, reduce their fear, and establish yourself as a fair and trustworthy leader.

Steps of the Friendly Game

The Friendly Game involves three simple steps:

1. Rubbing: The first step is rubbing your horse all over with your hand or a soft object like a towel.

This helps your horse relax and trust you. Rub wherever your horse is comfortable and gradually extend to other areas.

The goal is to evoke positive reactions from your horse and reduce tension. 2.

Lead and Yield: Once your horse is comfortable with rubbing, you can move on to leading and yielding. Hold a lead rope or a long training stick and gradually apply pressure to one part of your horses body.

When your horse moves away from the pressure, release the pressure immediately and rub the spot you applied pressure. The goal is to teach your horse to yield to pressure and follow your lead.

3. Desensitize: The final step is to desensitize your horse to various stimuli.

Use objects like plastic bags, umbrellas, or a tarp to expose your horse to different sounds and textures. Rub the objects all over your horses body and praise them for their calm behaviors.

The goal is to reduce your horses fear and increase their confidence around new stimuli. The Friendly Game is an excellent starting point for any horse owner looking to develop a strong relationship with their horse and establish themselves as a trustworthy leader.

With practice, you can develop your horses trust, reduce their fear, and create a strong foundation for future training.

4) Porcupine Game

The Porcupine Game is the second game in the Parelli Seven Games and is designed to teach your horse to yield to pressure. The game is named after the porcupines spines, which the Parellis use as a metaphor for pressure.

The game teaches your horse to be comfortable with pressure and to move away from it, which is an essential skill for riding and training.

Purpose of Porcupine Game

The Porcupine Game is designed to teach your horse to yield to pressure. Your horse needs to learn that they can release the pressure by moving away from it.

By teaching your horse to yield, you can develop better communication and establish yourself as a fair and consistent leader. Yielding is a crucial skill that horses need to learn for riding maneuvers such as turning and lateral movements.

Four principles of Porcupine Game

There are four principles to the Porcupine Game:

1. Intention: Your intention is essential in the Porcupine Game.

You need to have clear intentions of where you want your horse to move and how much pressure you will apply. This helps your horse understand what youre asking them to do.

2. Steady Pressure: Once youve established your intention, apply steady pressure to your horses body.

The goal is to apply enough pressure to get your horse to move but not so much that they become anxious or fearful. 3.

Four Phases: The Porcupine Game has four phases: Touch, Rub, Press, and Release. The Touch phase is the lightest pressure you apply to your horses body.

The Rub phase is when you rub the spot where you touched your horse. The Press phase is when you apply steady pressure to your horses body.

The Release phase is when you release the pressure once your horse yields to it. 4.

Rub-Press-Rub: The final principle is known as Rub-Press- Rub. This means that after youve applied steady pressure and your horse has moved away from it, you need to rub the spot where you applied pressure.

Rubbing helps reward your horse for yielding to pressure and reinforces positive behavior. The Porcupine Game is an essential game in the Parelli Seven Games and teaches your horse to yield to pressure, which is an essential skill for any riding and training.

The game requires clear intentions, steady pressure, and the four phases – Touch, Rub, Press, and Release. With practice, the Porcupine Game can help establish better communication and trust with your horse.

In conclusion, the Friendly Game and Porcupine Game are two crucial games in the Parelli Seven Games. The Friendly Game helps develop your horses trust and confidence, while the Porcupine Game teaches your horse to yield to pressure, an essential skill for riding and training.

By practicing Parelli Natural Horsemanship, you can build a strong bond with your horse and develop better communication and trust.

5) Driving Game

The Driving Game is the third game in the Parelli Seven Games and focuses on teaching your horse to move forward and yield to suggestion from behind. The game simulates driving a car and is designed to make your horse more responsive and easier to control.

The game is all about getting your horse to move in a specific direction and yield to pressure from the rear.

Purpose of Driving Game

The purpose of the Driving Game is to teach your horse to yield to pressure from behind and move forward. The game simulates driving a car and teaches your horse to respond to cues from behind.

By driving your horse forward, you can develop better communication and establish yourself as a trustworthy leader.

Four Phases of Driving Game

The Driving Game has four phases:

1. Beat Air: Begin by standing behind your horse and holding a whip or crop.

Start by swinging the whip in the air gently, making no contact with your horse. This is known as the Beat Air phase and is just a suggestion for your horse to move forward.

2. Increase Intensity: If your horse doesnt move forward, increase the intensity of your swinging to create more suggestion.

The goal is to get your horse to move forward without being touched by the whip. 3.

Move Closer: If your horse still doesnt move forward, move closer to your horse and increase your suggestion by swinging the whip closer and closer to their hindquarters. 4.

Tap Nose: If your horse still refuses to move forward, tap their nose with the whip. The tap should be light and quick, and the goal is to get your horse to move forward without being hit.

The Driving Game is a crucial game in the Parelli Seven Games and teaches your horse to respond to suggestion from behind and move forward. By following the four phases, you can establish better communication and control.

6) Yo-Yo Game

The Yo-Yo Game is the fourth game in the Parelli Seven Games and focuses on teaching your horse to move backward and forward. The game simulates a yo-yo, wherein you send your horse backward and bring them back to you.

The game teaches your horse to be balanced and yield to pressure from the front.

Purpose of Yo-Yo Game

The purpose of the Yo-Yo Game is to teach your horse to be balanced and yield to pressure from the front. The game simulates the back and forth motion of a yo-yo and teaches your horse to move in both directions with equal ease.

The game helps improve your horses balance and responsiveness and is beneficial for teaching more advanced riding maneuvers such as rollback and lead changes.

Four Phases of Sending and Bringing Back Your Horse

The Yo-Yo Game has four phases:

1. Intense Look: Begin by squaring your shoulders and looking intensely at your horse.

This is known as the Intense Look phase and is a suggestion for your horse to move backward. 2.

Swing Carrot Stick: Next, swing your carrot stick (or training stick) toward your horses chest. This is known as the Swing Carrot Stick phase, where the idea is for your horse to step backward and establish distance.

3. Tap Hip: If your horse doesnt step backward, tap their hip with the carrot stick to create forward motion.

This is known as the Tap Hip phase and is a suggestion for your horse to move forward. 4.

Bring Back: If your horse steps backward, release pressure and bring your horse back to you by swinging the carrot stick toward you. This is known as the Bring Back phase and is the goal of the game.

The Yo-Yo Game is an essential game in the Parelli Seven Games and teaches your horse to move in both backward and forward directions with balance and ease. Practice the four phases to establish better communication and control while improving your horses balance and responsiveness.

In conclusion, the Driving Game and Yo-Yo Game are two crucial games in the Parelli Seven Games. The Driving Game teaches your horse to move forward and yield to pressure from behind, while the Yo-Yo Game teaches your horse to move backward and forward with balance and ease.

By practicing Parelli Natural Horsemanship, you can build a strong bond with your horse and develop better communication and trust.

7) Circling Game

The Circling Game is the fifth game in the Parelli Seven Games and focuses on teaching your horse to maintain gait, direction, and attention while circling around you. The game is designed to build trust, improve communication, and develop better balance and suppleness in your horse.

The game is all about establishing better communication and building your horses trust in you.

Purpose of Circling Game

The purpose of the Circling Game is to teach your horse to maintain gait, direction, and attention while circling around you. The game helps improve your horses balance, suppleness, and overall fitness.

By circling your horse around you, you can improve communication and establish better trust.

Three Distinct Parts of the Circling Game

The Circling Game has three distinct parts:

1. Send: Begin by sending your horse forward around you in a circle.

Use your body language and a flick of the rope to ask your horse to circle. Its important to send your horse forward with intention and clear body language.

2. Allow: Next, allow your horse to maintain the same gait and direction while circling.

You can do this by staying in the same place and allowing your horse to move around you. 3.

Bring Back: Finally, bring your horse back to you by applying pressure to their hindquarters. The goal is to bring your horse back to you while maintaining the same gait and direction.

This is important for developing your horses fitness and balance. The Circling Game is a crucial game in the Parelli Seven Games and helps improve your horses balance, suppleness, and overall fitness.

By practicing the three distinct parts of the game, you can establish better communication and trust.

8) Sideways Game

The Sideways Game is the sixth game in the Parelli Seven Games and focuses on teaching your horse to move sideways with ease and balance. The game teaches your horse to straighten their body and yield to pressure from the lateral side.

The game is an essential part of developing your horses balance and suppleness.

Purpose of Sideways Game

The purpose of the Sideways Game is to teach your horse to move sideways with ease and balance. The game teaches your horse to straighten their body and yield to pressure from the lateral side.

By practicing the game, you can develop your horses balance and suppleness, which is essential for advanced riding maneuvers.

Steps for Teaching Your Horse to Go Sideways

There are several steps you can follow to teach your horse to go sideways:

1. Halter and Lead Rope: Begin by putting a halter and lead rope on your horse.

Youll use the lead rope to guide your horse as you teach them to move sideways. 2.

Fence: Next, start by standing with your horse next to a fence or wall. This will help

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