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By: Neil Pye

Horse folks are a wonderful, passionate, determined yet often quirky community of people.

A self selecting tribe that one could easily assume has no problem finding agreement in their shared love for these wonderfully varied, strong, yet fragile creatures.

Just the simple, dare I say, therapeutic chore of picking up horse manure on a daily basis, should ensure some kind of fraternity.

That’s the theory!

In reality finding common ground is often hard to find with so much diversity found in breed types, disciplines, not to mention the minefield of different training philosophies and beliefs.

The ONE thing though that all horse people are apt to agree upon, is that the key to success with horses, be they destined for a competitive career or simply as a trusted trail companion, is directly related to the strength and quality of the horse’s Foundation Training.

With a solid foundation both on the ground and in the saddle a horse learns self confidence, calmness and most importantly a trust and acceptance of leadership from the human.

By contrast without this all important training a horse can often remain for much of its life uncooperative, displaying behaviour ranging from fearful and flighty to unwilling and skeptical.

The key to a strong Foundational Program to set you and your horse up for long term success is in understanding that there is in fact a 4 Step approach to Foundational Training.

This 4 step program is at the heart of Parelli Centre Australia, a purpose built facility at Wilton on the outskirts of Sydney.

  1. GROUND EXERCISES– to create bonding and obedience – Quite simply the most effective way to develop a safe, calm and cooperative horse.
  2. ARENA EXERCISES – on horse’s back to develop communication, control and skillsets in the saddle.
  3. OUTSIDE RIDING and LIVING – Testing what you have and where you are in real life situations with your horse while riding outside and ensuring your horse gets to spend time living outside as nature designed him for.
  4. Got to have a PURPOSE Sport or Recreation – In order to be able to accurately measure progress with you horse you have to have a regular activity that will enable you observe subtle but important improvements.

By choosing any of the English, Western or combined disciplines or events with their own specific skill sets and outcomes, you provide a clear definable purpose which importantly adds meaning therefore motivation for the horse.

Your chosen “Purpose” will challenge both you and your horse physically, mentally and emotionally in such a way that that the result and reward is a well-adjusted, confident and happy partnership.

This 4 step formula provides in simple terms a pathway to what ultimately we are all striving to achieve… BETTER HORSEMANSHIP!