Natural horsemanship demonstrations to be a new draw card

September 17, 2014

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Milawa Parelli instructor Rachel Clarkson side passes with her mare, Lila. Rachel will be demonstrating her skills at the field days.

The world-renowned natural horse training method developed by US cowboy Pat Parelli is set to be a new drawcard for this year’s Henty Machinery Field Days.

Parelli instructors Fiona Darling, of Illabo, NSW, Kaye Thomas, Howlong, NSW, and Rachel Clarkson, Milawa, Victoria, will stage demonstrations each day during the lunch break in the yard dog trial area.

They will demonstrate training to help solve ground and ridden problems, from pushy and stubborn to scared and unpredictable horses to create a willing and co-operative partner for recreation, work or competition.

Fiona said her priorities as an instructor were to inspire, educate, support, encourage and challenge.

“Our goal is to assist people in building a solid foundation, firstly on the ground and then in the saddle, enabling a relationship and strength of bond between the human and horse far greater than any lead rope or bridle,’’ she said.

Fiona was a keen dressage competitor who discovered natural horsemanship in 1995 after taking her Warmblood mare to a Parelli course.

“Wow! The course opened a whole new world of learning based on life from a horse’s perspective I had never been presented with – I felt empowered by the process,’’ she said.

The program was founded in 1981 by US horse trainer, rodeo rider and teacher Pat Parelli.

He was joined by his wife Linda in 1993 and used a people-training program focused on the study of horse behaviour and horsemanship skills.

Pat named this new relationship-based approach Natural Horsemanship, which is now recognised worldwide as an innovative and effective method of natural horse training.

The method is based on the principles of love, language and leadership and spans four areas  (called Savvys) of development through four distinct levels of skill improvement.

Three star instructor Rachel Clarkson competed in the first 100-day Australian brumby training challenge held at Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria, earlier this year.

Rachel transformed a wild, six-year-old brumby stallion, called Rascal, into an educated mount. Rascal will be the star of the show at Henty this year.

Rachel has been actively using Parelli techniques since she was 12, and has competed in both English and western disciplines.

Four star instructor Kaye Thomas has studied natural horsemanship in Australia and overseas, and travels nationally teaching horsemanship clinics.

Both Kaye and Rachel are horse development specialists, taking horses in for training.

“We welcome the opportunity to introduce interested people attending the Henty Machinery Field Days to some of what Parelli Natural Horsemanship has to offer in the relationships they have with their horses,’’ Fiona Darling said.

“There is a strong and supportive Australian Parelli Professionals team all committed to encouraging and supporting Australian students with their horsemanship dreams and goals.’’

The Parelli instructors will be available on-site at Henty to answer questions and help riders understand their horse’s personality.

There will be also lucky daily prizes and giveaways at stand A18.