We frequently receive messages similar to the ones below from Icelandic Horse owners about Parelli Natural Horsemanship and the results they are getting with their horses:
We have four Icelandics that we bought about 4 years ago...and of course they are wonderful. Very sociable, love to be around us and smart....but green. When we bought them I was also very green and didn't understand that a safe rideable horse needs training. I had only ridden 'school horses'. So after a bad fall and concussion right thru my helmet, we got a horse trainer. He did natural training but because he was so unorganized, it didn't work as good as it could. THEN I FOUND PNH last year at Equine Affaire.
We can't believe the difference in our horses and ourselves. Eric and I are still working on Level 1....since last June. But since our horses were virtually mustangs and we are not experienced horse people...we had a lot of learning to do. We have been attending clinics with Pat Mitchell and expect to pass Level 1 this spring. I rather take the time and really learn the right way....it will only make Level 2 easier. One of my horses, Rothasson, will follow me all around the arena at liberty. Everytime he does, I get chills and it feels so incredible.
Three of our horses are rideable and the 4th (Leif) went thru PNH colt starting. He will go back for more work. He's a sweet and very intelligent horse - actually our smartest. But for some reason he is afraid of people doing extreme friendly around him. He bolts and runs like hell. The trainer was quite surprised at how fast he can move and said she just hangs on...but he has a lot of mane to hang on to. The breeder once told me that "Leif will let you drive but has to really trust you to hand over the keys". Leif is currently beyond my skill level...but it will all work out.
We did our flying lead changes on the rail trail last night! Yippee and it
was so light and easy too. My husband was walking towards us so I even
have a witness. Very cool!
I have been experimenting with gaits and my body position. Tolt is
definitely a slump like in an easy chair. (We also got the fastest tolt I
have ever experienced last night on the way home, over stock and stone,
through ditches and mud puddles, with her back like a marshmallow and
For canter, I need to drop my hip on her hip and point my arm and my eyes
to the opposite side of her head from the hip. This keeps my rib cage up
so she can lift in the front.
I can see Parelli's point. If you do all the prep work, then the flying lead change is
not a big deal. We just had to spend some time fussing with the details.
I simply can not believe what this program is doing for us. We stay in
gait, smooth and light and balanced. Even did a few figure eights on a
neighbor's lawn last night for fun.
Planning on being accessed soon and he is really tough so I am
being very particular about what we are doing. I already know that if we
are not thorough and we rush through things will have to go back and fix it up.
Interesting that you suggest a pole to learn the figure eight task. I set
up one circle divided by quadrants with a cone in the middle and cones at
each quarter. We learned to balance from cone to cone and to keep looking
for the next one. The cone in the middle was our distance marker.
When I was at my first clinic, I got yelled at about not being able to gait without picking
up the reins.
This seemed impossible after years of traditional riding, but now I can't
wait to film us changing gears with no reins.
Ahh, can you tell that I am mildly enthusiastic about PNH?!?
I trusted my PNH trainer implicitly even
though he doesn't ride gaited horses. If he said it could be done, it
could be done!
I had a shocking idea however this morning while wandering through the
woods. Now I am responsible for my body position. Everything I do now has
meaning to my horse, not like the old days where she was desensitized. She
was giving me hell this morning and I finally realized I had a muscle
tensed in my right calf for no reason. I quit and she sighed. This is
quite a burden, one people don't want to talk on. Would be easier to put
in the key and turn it. However, this is a lot more fun.
My relationship with my mare is totally on a different level
once again. Very subtle but also very different. We are both more adult
with each other because the communication is more adult. I have noticed that
has moved from lifelong position of mid rank in the herd to number one at the
same time. So interesting.