Monday, October 27, 2008

Parelli. Brilliant or Brilliant rip off?

There seems to be a love hate thing going on with Parelli in blog land. Parelli, who I admit, has found a way to charge 100s of dollars for equipment you can buy for ten or fifteen, has become a marketing phenomenon.

But that's not a reason to hate the guy.

(you can buy that "carrot stick" in the picture, which he sells for $62, for $14 at D&D in Seguin.)

Then there's the way he's packaged "natural horsemanship" (which in every book and website of his I've read he always admits it is nothing he's invented). He has created a jargon/code (I'm sure someone has worked up a secret handshake too) that makes you either in or out. And it'll cost you $700 worth of CDs to get in.

The real reason to hate the guy, if you feel the need to, is that he's mined people's dreams. It's the dream of every little horse-aholic. The Black Stallion dream. The dream of having the connection that Alex had with Black, where the horse wouldn't even stay on an island without him, where they ran the track in mud and rain, where they melded into one being.

I keep wanting to remind people that it's a movie. But then I'd have to deny that I have the same dream. I'm a lot of things, but I'm not in denial.

(A local stable here even taps that dream with their logo and artwork.)

Parelli has nailed it by honing in on that dream. Instead of going for the cowboy, he's going for the dreamer. (Actually Fugly has a truly entertaining rant on this.)

Sure it's not always a dream that can be realized. Plenty of Parelli folks I've seen are run over by their horses. I'm not experienced enough to know what the problem is - whether they aren't doing Parelli correctly, if they misunderstand leadership, or are just out of their league with their horse (all of which may apply to me, I know). Some seem to interpret everything they are taught through a soft focus lens and end up with a hell of a lot less than a dream.

Then I see some people who CAN make it come together, without resorting to "cowboying."

Right now I'm spending some serious time trying to figure out every technique I can to deal with my horse that is going to be eaten by LIONS AT ANY MOMENT. Parelli is one, I'm also checking out this website, although their prices are not exactly a deal. $109 for an ebook? Hey, I'm a writer, but come on. It's pixels. At least Parelli has shaved in his videos.

Stacy Westfall has become the latest celebrity horse trainer after her video went viral. And she's got training DVDs for sale too.

One thing I know for sure. This is going to be a long journey and I'll probably end up with a mash up of techniques until I find the one that works for both me and my crazy, spooky, horse that just wants to SURVIVE BEFORE THE LIONS GET HIM.


But if all I wanted was a ride, I'd just get in the car.

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