What Is Parelli?

The following video sums up everything that Parelli is to me. I think it to be quite fitting that the video does not contain any words.

Natural Horsemanship has been around for thousands of years, even though Pat and Linda were the ones to coin the term. They didn’t event much that is new, however, they did find a way to make this knowledge accessible to everyone who desires it. They didn’t just make it accessible, they managed to package it in a way that makes it very easy and fun to learn.

They go through a lot of changes in how they present all this knowledge and make new DVDs again and again, redesigning almost everything. Linda recently said her answer to when people complain that things are changing again, just when they have gotten used to it is: “Don’t you just hate progress?!”. I love this answer!

Being a learn-aholic and having a passion for teaching and pedagogy, I personally love it when everything gets restructured because it allows me to learn about what works for people, shows me different ways of teaching the same content and most importantly it shows me that Parelli lives and breathes their promise of:

(1) putting the relationship first,
(2) foundation before specialisation and 
(3) never-ending self-improvement.

Besides making the knowledge accessible, they fostered a community of people who live up to the three promises mentioned above, which makes for a positive, progressive and natural atmosphere. That just happens to be a great learning environment!

There is a very simple system of Levels and Savvys made up of psychology and pedagogy for both horses and humans that allow you to progress very quickly and not get so caught up with the shiny-ball-syndrome. The structure makes it simple to learn as a student, as well as simple to teach if you have the ambition to become an instructor.

There are a huge amount of amazing Horsemen out there and as a student it is your responsibility to choose whom you learn from. Above are some reasons why I chose Parelli, but by no means do I want to put Parelli above other Horsemen. This website/blog will seem quite biased because I created it with the purpose of sharing my adventures in becoming a Parelli Professional, which is the pathway I have chosen for myself.

Personally I have found that in Levels 1, 2 and 3 it is easier to immerse yourself completely into the Parelli Program, so that you progress quickly. When you reach the end of Level 3 and 4, it happens quite automatically that you start looking around again. That is, I believe, how it is intended. Completing Level 4 means reaching a solid level of foundation. Then it is time to do something with it! Not just sit around and keep playing on a Level 4 basis. It is just the beginning!

I am currently in the early stages of Level 4 and am starting to think about what I want to do with horses besides become a Parelli Professional, once I graduate Level 4. Do I want to go into sports? If yes, which one – dressage, jumping, cutting, etc? Do I want to become a Horse Development Specialist? How do I advance my Horsemanship after Level 4 so that it makes sense to my horse and my horse enjoys it as much as I do?

Right now I am fully immersed in Parelli and because I fully agree with the Professional’s promise and their philosophy, I want to support them and be part of that community. I don’t decide which Horseman or program to learn from, solely depending on how it is packaged and marketed. First and foremost, I let my horses tell me whether or not I am on the right path. Then I will look at packaging and all that jazz. Up until now, my horses have told me that I am on the right path.

I want to give a very brief insight into the philosophy of Parelli below. To learn more about it, follow the links below.

The 10 Qualities of a Horseman

For Horse and Human – Togetherness

  1. Heart & Desire
  2. Respect
  3. Impulsion
  4. Flexion

For Human – Leadership

5. Focus
6. Feel
7. Timing
8. Balance
9. Savvy
10. Experience

Pat Parelli’s Eight Principles of Horsemanship
  1. Horsemanship is natural.
  2. Make and teach no assumptions.
  3. Communication is two or more individuals sharing and understanding an idea.
  4. Horses and humans have mutual responsibilities.
  5. The attitude of justice is effective.
  6. Body language is universal.
  7. Horses teach riders & riders teach horses.
  8. Principles, purpose, and time are the tools of teaching.

The Eight Responsibilities of a Partnership

The responsibilities of the Human:

  1. Act like a partner, not like a predator. Become more mentally, emotionally, and physically fit.
  2. Have an independent seat.
  3. Think like a horse.
  4. Use the natural power of focus.

The responsibilities of the Horse:

  1. Act like a partner, not like a prey animal. Become more mentally, emotionally, and physically fit.
  2. Maintain gait.
  3. Maintain direction.
  4. Look where you are going.

The Goal of the Parelli Program?
Become Savvy!

Level 1: Rapport. You learn: Basic Skills and Safety.

Level 2: Respect. You gain: Confidence and Enjoyment.

Level 3: Impulsion. You improve: Feel and Timing.

Level 4: Flexion. You master: Refinement and Precision.

There are two savvys on the ground: On Line and Liberty, and two savvys in the saddle: Free Style and Finesse.

The Seven Keys to Success
  1. Attitude
  2. Knowledge
  3. Tools
  4. Technique
  5. Time
  6. Imagination
  7. Support

Pat and Linda have created a fabulous educational platform for the seventh key of success, support – THE SAVVY CLUB. They have just recently redesigned the whole Savvy Club with the purpose of simplifying the program. Too often people have asked “Where do I start?”. To spare you the money, energy and time of buying the Levels/Savvys program you can now join the Savvy Club and have all the essential educational material to get started and progress through the first few levels without really having to buy any additional product. Personally I think this is quite exciting!

As Pat says and writes: the four elements of success are talent, skills, try and luck.

You are born with talent.

You develop skills over time.

Try” is intestinal fortitude (guts, to be blunt).

Luck is spelled “w-o-r-k”, and it occurs when preparation meets opportunity.

Useful links all in one place:





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