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Hunter in a "Parelli" barn? Enlighten me!

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  • Hunter in a "Parelli" barn? Enlighten me!

    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

  • #2
    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'.


    • #3
      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!


      • #4
        Originally posted by mjmvet View Post
        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?


        • #5
          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?)


          • #6
            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.


            • Original Poster

              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".


              • #8
                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.
                chaque pas est fait ensemble


                • #9
                  I would consider that barn, as long as,...

                  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.
                  " iCOTH " window/bumper stickers. Wood Routed Stall and Farm Signs


                  • #10
                    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.
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                    • #11
                      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.


                      • #12
                        Hell would freeze over first, but that's just me.


                        • #13
                          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.


                          • #14
                            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.
                            The Procrastinators Anonymous meeting has been postponed again.


                            • #15
                              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.


                              • #16
                                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.


                                • #17
                                  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.


                                  • #18
                                    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?
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                    • #19
                                      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.


                                      • #20
                                        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.
                                        Things Take Time