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I’ve been breeding shetlands for 20 years which is about the same time I found Parelli. Remember thinking this is the way I want to raise my babies and thank goodness there is a better way of trailer loading!!

I was there in the early days at NZ clinics & workshops here in Canterbury with my pony Bexley. He’s still going strong at 21 and we are getting ready to do our L3 online & liberty audition. I got a bit side-tracked with my other shetlands as I now have around 40 which I have raised the Parelli way. They all live a natural lifestyle in a herd which includes ponies of all ages from foals to retired brood mares. The babies really do grow up to be calmer smarter & braver.

Part of being a breeder is getting out in the show ring. This for me is putting principle to purpose and testing what we have done at home. Over the years, I have got better at preparing my ponies for getting out & about. Most of all I’ve learnt to put the relationship first and be emotionally fit for the situation. Be there for my pony.

Earlier on this year in May, my mare Duncree Hickory Hannah won the NZ Shetland Pony of the Year. It’s awarded on a points over the show season. She went to 14 shows and never once said no I’m not getting on that trailer. Some of it was genetics as her dam and her grandsire have won the award before and she is a lovely pony, but more I think it’s because she trusted me that everything was going to be OK and if I said we needed to do something she would do it. What amazes me still is that even after all the prep work, travelling and standing around that goes with showing, Hannah always seeks me out in the paddock to say Hi.

I am so proud of her and know that if it wasn’t for what I have learnt from the Parelli programme, I am sure we both wouldn’t be where we are today.

Catherine Crosado, New Zealand