Putting The Relationship First, Words of Wisdom from Linda Parelli

What does this mean? How do you do it? What happens when you don’t?

by Linda Parelli

This article was originally published in the February 2009 issue of Savvy Times magazine.  View this article by Linda Parelli at http://www.parelli.com/putting-the-relationship-first.html

You know you are putting the relationship first when rapport, connection, trust and confidence are more important than achieving the task or goal itself.

Keri and Prince

When you make your horse’s needs more important than the task at hand, you’ll be amazed at how that changes your horse’s feelings about you. That’s why we so often say, Putting the Relationship First “It’s not about the . . .” It really isn’t. When your horse won’t get on the trailer, it’s probably because he lacks self-confidence. He doesn’t trust your leadership, so the more you push him, the more convinced he is that he shouldn’t trust you, and his confidence in you deteriorates.

Anyone can make a horse do something, but can your relationship be so good that your horse offers to do things for you? It’s the most amazing feeling when you walk past a trailer and your horse offers to get in it, or when he pops over those barrels or slips into that canter or offers you a flying change. When your horse becomes this willing, you know the relationship is in great shape; but to achieve this, your goals have to change. You have to put your horse’s needs first, and everything else will follow.

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Sorry People, The Truth Is, Learning Is Messy

Learning Happens Outside the Comfort Zone, Physically, Mentally and Emotionally.

Dust rose from the dried earth as the hot summer sun beat down on the horse and human.  The horse was circling Keri-Lynn, yielding the body to obedience, but the mind and attitude were lacking.  Standing in the power position, rope tight, the horse circled her actively engaged in the conversation but not finding the answer of yielding his mind and attitude.


There was a brace happening, evidenced in the tight rope between the human and the horse’s halter.  The desired outcome was for the horse to circle with slack in the rope.  This would require him to position his body in the appropriate allotted space to keep slack in the rope, not too close or too far out, while maintaining gate, maintaining distance and maintaining connection.  He had the circle happening, but was not for some reason giving the mind and attitude.  He was in the learning zone, and outside his comfort zone.

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Trust Me As A Leader, Trust My Toys, My Tools and My Ideas Too

Takoda Update–Horse Development Progress In Confidence In All 4 Areas.

As I was sitting here thinking about what I should write about this week it crossed my mind that it has been a while since I wrote about the progress Takoda (5yr old Hanoverian Mustang) and I have been making together. So I think it is a good time for an update to make it to the pages of this blog.

DSCF3831I must say that the improvement, confidence, curiosity and trust that has been developing over the past weeks in astounding. Each new situation, every challenge, and all the individual learning experiences that I have introduced to Takoda have resulted in him showing me time and time again how much trust he has in me. And how he is gaining more confidence in my leadership abilities.

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Riding the Patterns Successfully to Build Horse’s Confidence

Using Follow The Rail And Circles To Teach, Build And Measure Your Horse’s Confidence.

Today I am going to be giving you two patterns that will help to gain and maintain your horse’s confidence. These may seem like simple things but that is the beauty of them. They are simple and effective, yet not altogether easy.


Like with any pattern, task, or strategy you want to have a good understanding of where your horse’s confidence is at in the first place before starting to improve and develop it. Otherwise you will most likely get frustrated when you don’t see the degree of improvement that you were expecting as often times progress is slow and less noticeable than we would like.

As Pat Parelli says “Observe, remember and compare.”  First you observe your horse’s behaviour, remember it, then compare it as the days go by. This may be tricky especially if you aren’t used to seeing and gauging improvement.

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Horse Development in the 4 Areas of Horse Confidence

Horse Confidence Defined and Explained.

As promised, in response to the recent survey I conducted on my blog, I am going to start to address the questions, topics, and concerns that came through from those of you who participated in the survey.

Today I am addressing horse development in the area ofKeri standing on Prince the horse’s confidence. As the foundation, we must first understand what confidence is, and the four areas where we need our horses to have confidence.

This foundational knowledge is important before we can formulate strategies to increase and build a horse’s confidence.  In future posts we will consider some of the many patterns, strategies, theories, and opinions on the subject of building and developing confidence in our equine partners.

Confidence Defined:

Confidence is the state of mind characterized by one’s reliance upon one’s self, or one’s circumstances; a feeling of self-sufficiency; such assurance as leads to a feeling of security…trustful; without fear or suspicion; frank; unreserved.

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The Truth About How To Be Your Horse’s True Friend

Friendship Defined and Applied to Your Human Equine Relationship.

Think for a moment about the person that you consider to be your true and best friend in life.  What has made that person so dear to your heart?  What qualities do you admire and desire in a human relationship?  Can this guide us in our relationships with our horse?  Can we be the type of friend to our horse that we desire our true and best friend to be to us?  What is friendship anyway?


I believe that one of humankind’s deepest desires is to know and be known.  To have a connection with another human being where we feel understood, loved, accepted, respected, valued, cherished and appreciated. And to be able to give all of this in return.

A friend is someone who is accepting of your past and that believes in your future and will create a positive presence in your life.

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Limited Time Only, Summer Horse Development Special

Currently 2 Openings For Enrollment in My Summer Natural Horse Development Program at the Extra Mile Equestrian Centre.

I am pleased to announce that I currently have two openings in my Summer Horse Development Program.  And, I am offering these spots at a discounted price to you my loyal readers–but only for a limited time.


My Horse Development Package currently on sale includes:

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Thank you! And A Sneak Peak at Upcoming Sale

Survey Results and Hinting at A Summer Sale Package

Thank you ever so much, to everyone who graciously took the time to fill out my Reader Survey last week.  I greatly appreciate your participation and responses.


It was encouraging and rewarding for me to hear that you enjoy the blog and find it helpful. It saddened me to hear that some of you face many challenges, and my heart yearns to support and encourage you so that you can get the results with your horse that you desire.

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We Need Your Help–Please Participate in Our Reader Survey

My goal in blogging is to enrich your life and encourage you.  I want my blog to be a place where you know that you can come to find support and answers to your questions.  I want to serve you.

to ensure my blog does the best possible job of answering your needs and interests,  I need to know more about you. To do that, I’ve created my 2015 Reader Survey.

Would you please take a few minutes to fill out the survey? By doing so, you will ultimately be helping yourself. Why? Because you will be helping me create content even more interesting and relevant to you.

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7 Free Lessons from Horse Ownership

Life Lessons I Learned, as A Child, From The Experience of Owning A Horse.

This past weekend I attended a local horse show and had the privilege of watching a young student of mine participate in his first show of the season.  He chose to compete in some classes that he had never previously entered.


As I was standing by the fence watching everything, I was overwhelmed by a sense of thankfulness and blessing to God for bringing the right people, circumstances and knowledge into my life at such a young age. From the beginning of my horsemanship journey, many frustrations were avoided because I had the tools, knowledge and support to work through the “trouble” areas.

This particular weekend, I witnessed many frustrated and some very emotional, children and youth as they struggled with their horses.  I was saddened to see that although they were trying so hard, at times, it was still a battle to successfully have conversations with their horses regarding relatively basic tasks and maneuvers.

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