Pony club approval for Parelli methods

by Sandra Lee

Pony club has stamped approval on the first Parelli horse training lessons to arrive in the north.

The lessons late last month were a sell-out at Maungatapere's equestrian centre attracting almost 50 students from all over the north.

BOI Pony Club District Commissioner Fredi Jarvis says the Parelli method is a useful process for getting to know a horse.

"I saw similar natural training methods used to train the Queen's horses at Windsor," Mrs Jarvis says.

"I would like to remind all riders to wear hard hats. After attending Parelli lessons where the riders are not wearing hard hats children may feel they are unnecessary. Hats can be replaced, heads can't. Children may see Parelli in a closed, controlled environment. Then they ride in a halter in wide open spaces at home exposing themselves to risk. A horse is a creature of flight, and if it gets a fright, it will run," she says.

Instructor Jo Kirk of Canterbury said Parelli was so easy even adults could do it, but pony club children, or anyone imitating natural horsemanship without knowing what they are doing may be unsafe. "I was surprised at the skill demonstrated by students considering how slow Northland has been to adopt Parelli," Miss Kirk says.

"There is enough interest to make future lessons in the north worthwhile," she said.

"Much of what I show my students enhances their safety. There is no need for strength or mechanical devices. The relationship between horse and rider is enhanced through improved communication. Once a horse learns the seven games we teach of friendship and dominance, it has learned to trust and respect its rider, she says.