Monday, August 29, 2011

Playing games

So I signed up for a program called ParelliConnect since there's a free trial month and I have to say I think I'll stick with it even after the trial is over (it costs something like 9€ a month).  On the surface it's basically Facebook for horse people, with interactive walls and the possibility to find and connect with other members, but what makes it unique are Pat Parelli's instructional videos available online and the accompanying e-learning lessons with written instructions, troubleshooting and additional videos to pinpoint specific areas.

From the Parelli Natural Horse Training website, here are some of the foundations of their training program, which uses 7 "games" or exercises in different levels of difficulty (on a lead line, groundwork at liberty, bridleless riding and finesse) to encourage a partnership between horse and human:

  • Rather than using reward and punishment, natural horse training motivates or discourages behaviors by leveraging the horse’s natural instincts.

  • Rather than using fear and dominance to force or coerce change, teamwork is the operative model.

  • Traditional horse training methods tend to use a single protocol for all horses; natural horse training includes horse personality profiling so the best approach is used for each animal’s personality type. Just as different humans learn best in different ways, so do horses.

  • Standard methods expect – or demand – that horses adapt themselves to the human world they find themselves in — whether stable, ranch, trail or show arena. Natural horsemanship encourages the human to understand the horse’s viewpoint and to make adaptations that increase the horse’s comfort level. A scared horse is a hard-to-train horse."

  • You can read more here if you're interested or check out the following video of the seven games done in seven minutes (with a bonus of cute foal footage):

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