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View Full Version : Hunter in a "Parelli" barn? Enlighten me!



huntergirl007
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:04 PM
My horse and I have been trying to find a new barn to move to. I have been at my current barn for over 8 years, so this is a daunting move!

But we found a VERY nice barn, with some very nice youngsters and foals and super nice facility. The lady is very nice, and I felt completely comfortable and love her attitude with the horses.

But...she is a Parelli lover! Parelli, Chris Irwin, you name it. Now - I am not bashing any of these! I love their concepts and all of her horses are very relaxed and well behaved because of it. But I am a little worried. She's all natural, her horses aren't shod - mind you, they are all 100% sound - and not blanketed. I am just not used to this!

She is very open to the way I want my horse to be taken care of and she just wants us to be happy. But I just want to learn more about what Parelli and Chris Irwin's concepts are, and will they clash with my hunter-mentality? Has anyone boarded in a situation like this one? I am very interested to learn about this :)

Eventer13
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:10 PM
If her horses are well-behaved, happy, and healthy, and the barn is nice and the people are friendly, you don't have much to lose. I'm sure there will be plenty of stuff you can learn, some you can do without, but hopefully by the end of your time there you will have more tools in your toolbox. As long as she isn't a fanatic who is trying to "convert" you, that is. I try to stay far, far away from anyone who thinks its 'my way or the highway'.

mjmvet
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:17 PM
It sounds like it could work if you're specific about what you need (think about your requirements carefully) and she's specific about what she's able to provide. For instance, if they don't blanket any of the others, will they be put out after awhile having to change your horses blankets from turnout to stable? If the other horses are barefoot, do you think you'll have trouble getting a farrier out to see one horse? I think if everyone is pretty laid back about things, it sounds like it could be a nice situation. I personally like multidiscipline farms because I think we all have things to learn from one another, but I could see how it could be a problem. I turned down a situation in a dressage barn, not because I don't have an interest in dressage, but because it was a very dressage "queen" kind of place, and my non-warmblood who is not trained in dressage could be looked down upon. The barn owner was VERY nice, and I actually took some lessons there for awhile, but she was very honest about the fact that I probably wouldn't fit in. I appreciated her candor, that's for sure! Good luck!

Seven-up
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:21 PM
It sounds like it could work if you're specific about what you need (think about your requirements carefully) and she's specific about what she's able to provide. For instance, if they don't blanket any of the others, will they be put out after awhile having to change your horses blankets from turnout to stable? If the other horses are barefoot, do you think you'll have trouble getting a farrier out to see one horse? I think if everyone is pretty laid back about things, it sounds like it could be a nice situation. I personally like multidiscipline farms because I think we all have things to learn from one another, but I could see how it could be a problem. I turned down a situation in a dressage barn, not because I don't have an interest in dressage, but because it was a very dressage "queen" kind of place, and my non-warmblood who is not trained in dressage could be looked down upon. The barn owner was VERY nice, and I actually took some lessons there for awhile, but she was very honest about the fact that I probably wouldn't fit in. I appreciated her candor, that's for sure! Good luck!


Ditto this. Is she going to give your horse the care you want, or is she going to throw out your blanket and have his shoes pulled?

TBDressage916
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:24 PM
I am not a hunter, I'm a dressage person but I was in a similar situation. I found a barn that I really liked the care but everyone else was a huge Parelli fan and would go to the clinics and come home with new "parelli approved training devices" (like long ropes with heavy snaps PP approved $40 Lowes make it yourself $5 but I digress) I found that it actually pushed me to try some things that they were doing that I would have never thought of. I never played a parelli game but I ended up riding my horse without a bridle just to see if I could without playing the games. It was probably a very snotty thing to do but it was always fun. "what you were supposed to free longe over that tarp for 3 weeks? well we just rode across it without longing-sorry!" So it was really good for my horse to try lots of weird things, but I never felt pressured to try their "way" (maybe because my horse was willing to do everything that they were doing just without the Parelli ground work?)

costco_muffins
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:34 PM
I ride, train, and give lessons at a barn that is very "Parelli." I have been there off and on for the last 10 years. I myself am not affiliated with PP or any of his training methods, this just happens to be where I work out of. I have had no issues with any people looking down on me or my riding (if anything, they are very impressed with how I can get horses to go round and work through their backs).

The only issue I have ever had is while leasing a mare that is owned by the head Parelli-ite. She gave me freedom to do what I wanted for a while, then once the mare was going very very nicely on the flat and over fences decided that the mare was getting "yelled at" and needed to go back to very simplified riding (aka using the carrot stick to smack her in the face to turn while riding bridleless). This took the mare back to where she was before I started working with her and was very frustrating.

This situation, however, does not sound like anything that you would have happening, just is a small story of my only real issue while being at a Parelli barn.

huntergirl007
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:35 PM
Wow! Thank you!

Yes...she seems very relaxed. If I want my horse shod, I just need to bring in my own farrier. She WILL blanket, but she prefers her horses to not be. She seems like she would do anything to make us happy. But I think what I was afriad of was that she WAS going to be more pushy. I am definately open to some of the idea's, but I do not want to be a "convert". ;)

Petstorejunkie
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:55 PM
go with your gut. you may find that where you two don't see eye to eye, if you are both open and respect eachother, you'll learn from one another.

I personally could do just about any NH barn but one affiliated with parelli but that's just me.

grandprixjump
Apr. 28, 2009, 10:58 PM
they were more normal, than DIE HARD Parelli. Similiar to people with alternate lifestyles, it's fine as long as they keep it to themselves and don't try to change the world or you to be like them..
We had a border leave here today, had a friend helping them move, and they made comments about having "sissy jumps" in the arena instead of barrels. I wanted to say "Anyone can stay on the ground and turn, it takes a real horseman to FLY..", but I bit my tongue and was polite.

Foxtrot's
Apr. 28, 2009, 11:48 PM
As long as they are not too fanatical, why not. I just got very up tight when someone came up to my horse flapping one of those things and whirling ropes around his head.
And people who cannot discern normal NH from Parelli brand. It can be very annoying when it becomes the main topic of conversation.

magnolia73
Apr. 28, 2009, 11:49 PM
Yeah- I boarded with some NH people and at first I was happy to meet nice people, then I was concerned about the safety of what they did, then it morphed into irritation. And I moved to a hunter barn with people who treat horses like I do. I'm happier, and am betting the NH people are happier without me. They did a few things that made me nervous- one woman regularly chased the horses in her horses pasture, another would let her horse graze sans halter on trails.

Then I just got tired of hearing about joining up and horse savvy and all that stuff. I'd rather hear about how your horse did at the show, to be honest. I also found that I had no riding peers to put a good eye on my horse or bounce ideas off of.

Yeah- they were much more pleasant than say- snobs or mean people, but I'd rather be with people who have my background.

Coreene
Apr. 29, 2009, 01:54 AM
Hell would freeze over first, but that's just me.

twofatponies
Apr. 29, 2009, 02:02 AM
Make sure it is okay for you to ride (and jump) when you want to - are there any restrictions on when you can do that? Not sure it would be an issue, but, for example, some dressage barns don't encourage jumping, because it gets in the way of the dressage work.

Defying Logic
Apr. 29, 2009, 02:12 AM
I am a college student, and the barn I board at when at home (so 3 months in the summer and 1 at christmas) is not only a Parelli barn, but a Western Pleasure and Trail Parelli barn. The owner is great, even lets me set up jumps in the arena (between the trail obsticals) and leave them up (I offered to take them down every ride). And, while I am not a Parelli person it was interesting to watch her as a competent horse person doing the things.

gloriginger
Apr. 29, 2009, 07:27 AM
boarded at many facilities, all I have to say is they are all really nice and accomidating when you go to look at the facility- once you are there, things change...alot.

trubandloki
Apr. 29, 2009, 08:42 AM
Be sure to ask what the rules regarding ring use are. Being PP they are going to want to do lots more ground work than you are and that might make things difficult for you when you want to ride. Will you have to wait to use the ring while someone wants to free lunge? If someone wants to free lunge while you are riding are they expected to wait until you are done? Things like that.

ImJumpin
Apr. 29, 2009, 09:02 AM
Are they going to try to offer you PP advice every time you ride? Are they going to think you are mistreating your horse by using some "unnatural" training method/bit/etc? Or are they going to do their own thing and let you do yours?

I was in a barn for a brief period of time with a couple PP followers. The BO herself was in to some of it, but not totally absorbed. The followers were actually fine-- did their stuff and did not scoff outloud at my for doing mine. I had never been exposed to PP or his gagets until then, and did have to laugh at all the money they spent for things you could easily make yourself or for thinking they found some awe-inspiring new training method when all it is is branded and packaged common sense about horse behavior. But overall the PP part of the experience was fine-- I left for other reasons.

Now I did later run into a nutjob that thought I was beating my horse when I pat him on the neck, and so on and so forth-- but she was PP to an EXTREME.

findeight
Apr. 29, 2009, 11:17 AM
Have no problem with the theories and there is not a thing wrong with branching out a little. BUT, as a 40+ year veteran of boarding barns, I see a yellow flag here.

Mainly the tendency alot of these people have to not aim towards a performance oriented environment. Are there jumps in the ring (and this is the H/J forum so am assuming you jump)? Is the footing suitable and well cared for? We can assume they have a round pen but what else is available for schooling?

Is there a qualifiied H/J trainer available who can help you.? Or somebody with extensive experience in H/J you can go to for advice? Can you bring somebody in?

And can you find a farrier that will come out to shoe a single horse in an environment where another farrier and his/her theories in barefoot trimming has held exclusive court for awhile? That is actually a bigger problem then you think-a regular barn farrier can combine jobs to cut/split the trip charges. A single trip may add 15 to 25 to your shoeing bill. If he is made to feel unwelcome by others, s/he may not come at all.

Then the biggest problem of all-the peanut gallery. The other boarders. We all know we tend to offer alot of advice, good, bad and indifferent. Can you stand being the only one swimming upstream? Not a matter of right and wrong at all. Just constant harping that somebody always engages in.

At best, this sounds like a good place care wise but concentrating on younger horses and foals. If that's the case and you can work with what's there AND get a regular farrier, it might work.

But if there are other boarders....it could turn pretty unpleasant if you are not doing as they do and are the only one that is not.

The lady may be fine, but what about the rest of them when it comes to taking in a non devotee of NH and barefoot?

webmistress32
Apr. 29, 2009, 11:42 AM
I do pretty much everything with my horse including hunter schooling shows, eventing, dressage, endurance, trails, camping *and* natural horsemanship/natural hoofcare.

even with my open mind I'd find boarding at a NH barn stifling. I think you'll find your access to the ring for jumping limited quite often (esp if there are folks using the wand with the plastic grocery bag tied to the end of it) and real fanatics will absolutely make comments and try to give you unsolicited advice.

I guarantee even with the best intentions on both sides it would be tough. and it's highly likely that all of them will feel that you'll "come around" eventually and so will pressure you to conform to what they're doing.

it might be a nice barn but I think you'd better pass.

kmw2707
Apr. 29, 2009, 12:44 PM
In your original post you said that the owner is "all natural". The last boarder who came to my barn came from an "all natural" barn. They did not believe in worming or vaccinating. You may want to ask what her policies are on routine care.

ReSomething
Apr. 29, 2009, 04:04 PM
. . . . . But I just want to learn more about what Parelli and Chris Irwin's concepts are, and will they clash with my hunter-mentality? Has anyone boarded in a situation like this one? I am very interested to learn about this :)

I ride at an NH trailriding barn sometimes, and get into conversations with the guides. So when I get home I get on the web, but the problem with all these NH gurus is that their websites offer very little on the philosophy, you have to buy the book, or the DVD, or watch RFD-TV. So I truck on down to the library and take the book out.

Of the ones that I have read, the problem as I see it is that they don't focus on me, as a rider. You and I know that in order to ride well in H/J land I have to be fit, balanced, able to ride with an independent seat and stay consistent. Doesn't matter how much the horse respects me if I can't keep my lard*ss up there. That Monte guy was a life long horseman before he figured out the joining up stuff, becoming a better rider was no issue for him.

For your BO, working with babies on the ground, lots of good tips. Good de-sensitizing tips to help out a spooky horse, some work to create a team, really important, but if you don't ride well, possibly pointless.

So I don't know what you are looking for - where I go as a barn for trailriding it works well but the expectations are different. I've never been there and seen the farrier, any bodyworker types, or the vet; never seen any debris from the wormers or supplement paks or even Bute. I guess especially I wouldn't see Bute. No boots, no wraps.
Make the decision that works for you, good luck.

LuvMyTB
Apr. 29, 2009, 04:54 PM
That's a tough call. I'll share my experience though, maybe it will help.

I board at a barn that is multi-discipline. Probably 60-70% Parelli (including BO) and the rest is h/j, trail, dressage, etc.

I do Parelli but am not a KoolAid drinker, so I've never pushed it on anyone. I DO know that a few boarders have left over the years because they felt judged/intimidated by some of the more hardcore Parelli people at the barn. Sad. :no: Our BO is not fanatical, per se, but she will suggest Parelli or her natural trimmer etc. if she feels the "normals" are having problems and she can get a little pushy.

Usually the NHers and the non-NHers get along pretty well. There is some conflict when we hold "playdays"--setting up lots of obstacles throughout the farm for desensitizing etc--and the non-NHers have to ride around the pool noodles, tarps etc. If you're doing liberty work/free lunging and someone else wants to use the arena, you're expected to halter your horse immediately so that person can use the arena as well.

People are allowed to set up jumps etc, as well as barrels & cones for patterns. Generally we leave ALL of it up, but you can move it if you need to.

We do have an indoor/outdoor/rounpen as well as some grassy areas to ride in--it does help cut down on ring conflicts as there are so many places to ride/work your horse. Does this barn offer several areas for riding, or is everyone going to be competing to use the same ring?

I am having the opposite problem as you--I am looking for a new barn and most of what's in the area are h/j barns. I love hunters--that's my background--but I'm really afraid I won't find a place where my rope-shaking will fit in! I am very hesitant to tell BOs/BMs that I do NH--and I make sure I say NH, not Parelli, b/c the connotation with Parelli is you're a KoolAid drinking, non-horse-riding freak. :lol: And that's not me.

Sebastian
Apr. 29, 2009, 05:19 PM
Hell would freeze over first, but that's just me.

As much as I'd LIKE to say I could do it, I'm with Coreene on this one.

I've "shared" boarding facilities with the hard-core PPs before...and even though they did not try to ram it down my throat... I watched them DO stuff to/around their horses that just made my head spin off my body... Much of it was very unsafe.

JMO,
Seb :)

Foxtrot's
Apr. 29, 2009, 06:05 PM
Puleeze - just to humour me - don't get normal NH mixed up with Parelli.......I beg.

buck22
Apr. 29, 2009, 06:17 PM
visit the place a couple of times during popular barn hours and watch how the other boarders interact with their horses.... see if you enjoy the vibe or not.

I'm basically NH, but I shy away from NH people because they can often be prone to offering unsolicited advice.... which makes me cringe.

I once turned down a lovely boarding opportunity because the BO was NH (not PP though). She told me that she insisted boarder's horses have "good ground manners" to her specification. Obviously, since she turns the horses in and out all the time, etc, the horses should have good ground manners... but I cringed where she commented, quite happily, that she would re-train, free of charge, any horse that didn't meet her standards of manners. uh, no thanks.

going to a barn that is wildly different than you're used to can be incredibly liberating. I boarded at a stable once that changed hands 7x in the 6 years I was there. Everytime it changed hands, it changed focus. I went from reining, to wp, to gaming/cattle, to trails/endurance, to dressage, to pleasure/mounted police, to hunter jumper. Looking back, I got a very very very cool education.

but going to a barn that is wildly different can also make you feel odd, question your judgment about your husbandry, and feel isolated. I keep my horses quite plainly, no stalls, no blankies, no treats. The place where I'm at, the bo and boarders are very into their blankies and treats and stalling at night. Since I don't follow that flow, I always am not doing something everyone else is, and it makes me feel guilty often :D like I'm a neglectful mommy, even though I know I'm not.

hope some of that is helpful somehow. good luck!

starkissed
Apr. 29, 2009, 07:03 PM
It will probably work out just fine if the owner is reasonable.
I suppose I can give you some insight into this because I DO follow and practice some of the stuff pat parelli does. I love it and I must say I have learned a lot. Having said that, I am still a normal person, take care of my hors, blanket, show hunters, event...all that.
And to boot, yes I will occasionally go for a bridless ride, play w. my horse lose in the arena and do a lot of groundwork. But I do that when no one is around because I dont want to disrupt anything
while at school I board at a very...ok its safe to say "snooty" hunter barn. I am the odd one out, but I'm ok with it. I am not a parelli fanatic though so I don't go trying to 'convert' anyone.
However, much like other people said, I usually never mention I follow and NH or Parelli because some people get really backed off by that. And quite honestly I do too because most parelli people are pathetic. The fact of the matter is you don't really convert to anything, you just have the ability to take into account ideas that other people have.
Good luck, I'd say go for it.

huntergirl007
Apr. 29, 2009, 09:13 PM
Thanks for all the responses! :)

I should have maybe clarified a bit more - my apologies! It is a small barn, but they have an indoor, large outdoor, and a round pen. There are only three other girls there that I know of, and it is a private farm so she only brings in a few boarders. One of the boarders who is coming is a good friend of mine who I've ridden and showed with at MY barn for the last few years. She was very clear about what hours were available and which weren't, and she's very flexible.

There are no jumps there. But I am going to get in touch with her and see if we could possibly bring our own in. There is no coach there, but we are going to bring one in.

I am in a tough position. I come from a very close-knit barn. My only options in my area are this farm...or an 80-horse barn with drama up to the roof which is very hectic and not really my style. I'm at a loss :no:

findeight
Apr. 30, 2009, 10:17 AM
Just watch out for what you get told ahead of time and what happens when you move in.

Wouldn't surprise me if the jumps end up not being brought in and your outside trainer feels unwelcome after a short period of time.

And it's not just NH. It's anytime you are doing something different then what everybody else is. I once kept a Western horse in an ASB barn, for about 3 or 4 years. But I was responsible to stay out of their way and no accomodation was made for any of my needs training wise, I figured it out and it worked-but if you want to bring jumps and an outside trainer in? Would you by happy if these things do not happen?

Be warned. BOs typically will not change long standing practices for a single new boarder. Plus, IME, the NH devotees seem to have a bug about training your horse up their way for free and when you say no, they come back even harder. They start nice and friendly but then turn on you as their convert prospect.

Just get really clear commitments, in writing, up front regarding bringing in jumps and an outside trainer.

SarahandSam
Apr. 30, 2009, 10:21 AM
I board at a NH barn--used to be all Ponyboy, now it's just pretty eclectic, more common-sense NH kind of stuff rather than one specific focus. The BO's wife is more Parelli but again, more common sense and not crazy Parellite.

I am usually the only English rider there, but I love it. They like to be as natural as possible; ideally unblanketed/unclipped and barefoot. However, they also understand that not all horses do well with that, and there are blanketed horses and have been shod horses with no problems, both owned by the BOs and by boarders. The farrier who does all the horses at the barn at the moment is the same farrier who does all the fancy hunters and dressage horses in the area, for the most part; he does shoes, but he also always prefers to leave them barefoot if the horse is comfortable barefoot, and he does a great barefoot trim--better than the one my horse had when he had a barefoot-only trimmer.

My BOs are fine with my bringing in my trainer to give me lessons. The only drawback I have to the place is that the indoor is pretty much filled with the round pen; because the BO does colt starting and tune-ups and stuff, he uses the round pen a lot, so it's up in the indoor year-round, and it makes it tough for me to have a lesson or really do any schooling when the weather's bad. But there are jump standards and poles for me to use, and a nice big unused pasture with mostly flat ground to ride in, and I can use the despooking and trail obstacles whenever I want.

The NH approach means that horses there tend to be very well mannered and I don't worry about Sam getting pushy or spoiled if I'm not around in a while. My BOs are always willing to help boarders out when we have a training/manners issue, too. Plus I like the variety--plenty of people to go for a trail ride with, the local trail riding club holds rides and fun shows there, and I can play with lots of different disciplines to keep my horse happy.