Sport of Parelli focuses on friendship, not horsemanship
May 25, 2010
By Daniel Pickering
Liberty High School freshman Anjali D’Souza rides horses, but participates in a sport different from most others in the equestrian world.
That sport is Parelli Natural Horsemanship, which focuses on building a positive relationship between horse and rider.
“Parelli is a type of horsemanship that’s about always putting the horse first,” D’Souza said.
She and her horse, a 12-year-old Arabian named Abbey, dedicate 15-20 hours per week to refining their skills at Patterson Creek Farm in Fall City.
To participate in Parelli, you don’t need your own horse.
“You can lease horses for lessons, depending on the facility,” D’Souza said. “But ideally, you have your own horse.”
Competitions are not very common among practitioners of Parelli; the emphasis is on bonding with your horse. It would be more accurate to say that in Parelli, the rider is playing with his/her horse, rather than working with the animal.
“Parelli is different, because a lot of traditional equestrian programs don’t focus on how the horse thinks,” D’Souza said. “And some don’t even know how to handle the horse without being aggressive.”
Her mother, Kim D’Souza, agrees.
“Parelli is way more effective at training horses, and it’s a lot safer,” she said. “It takes a lot more time to train your horse naturally, but in the end you’ll have a much better horse.”