2021 Progress Your Horsemanship Member’s Challenge



2021 – Commit to progressive horsemanship

Member’s Challenge

Natural Horsemanship can be defined as the perpetual series of habits and skills that horses and humans need to become partners. 

Horses are pattern animals, and over time it is easy to adjust to their patterns and adopt habits that you may not even realize have developed. 

This 31 day challenge is going to be a soft dose of variety to get you out of your patterns or habits and really feel for your horse. Some of the challenges may be difficult, and that’s ok. Remember to have a clear goal, and to adjust to fit the situation. If you aren’t being understood by your horse, adjust to become more clear. 

Let us know how you’re doing by emailing photos or videos to savvyclub@parelli.com or use #Parelli21 on social media. 


Catching and Rapport

1/1 – Are you playing Catching Game?  Does your horse catch you in the pasture, in the stall, or are you just walking up to them and haltering them because they tolerate it?  Be sure you’re always asking them to participate in the partnership. The session starts the moment they see you.  The start matters!

1/2 – Can your horse trot to you?  Are you coaxing them to come to you, or have you created enough draw that your horse can’t get enough of you?

The Seven Games

1/3 – Can you use long body logic versus pulling?  Horses herd each other around, they don’t pull.  Be sure you’re using your tools (Carrot Stick, Training Lines, fence lines, etc) to herd and guide your horse vs being direct line and pulling them everywhere you go.  Consider the Touch It Pattern as a good first step.

1/4 – Can you act like a partner? What does your horse NEED? Are you staying focused and giving your horse their needs of Safety, Comfort, and Play in your play sessions, or are you focused on your fears, the desire to be perfect, etc? Focus on your horse and help them act like partners, not prey animals as you commit to not acting like a predator.

1/5 – Can you use a 45′ Line?  Try moving to a longer rope today, allow your horse the opportunity to read your body language from further away.

Tying, Trailering, Water Crossing

1/6 – Can your horse stand tied for 30 minutes?  This is an important skill for your horse.  If your horse is impatient and paws, just stand nearby and be ready to interrupt the pattern. If 30 minutes is too long, expand the amount of time, a little bit each day.  Don’t avoid tying your horse.  Use a safe knot, a blocker tie ring, and help your horse learn this skill.

1/7 – Can you load your horse from the fender? Test and improve the quality of understanding by asking your horse to load from different areas.

1/8 – Can you back your horse through a creek?  When your horse is challenged, does it resist, or does it yield?  Improve the quality of yielding putting the basics to the test.  Back your horse through a small creek, or use a pole if don’t have a creek.

Accept the Saddle 

1/9 – Can you saddle your horse with the rope on the ground? It is not wrong to tie your horse when saddling, but you shouldn’t have to tie them to saddle. 

1/10 – Can you saddle your horse at Liberty? Yesterday you had a safety net, today you have the truth. Does your horse truly accept the saddling process? Watch your horse’s thresholds and retreat and re-approach as necessary. 

1/11 – Can you place a ball on your horse’s back for 7 seconds? Bounce the ball beside your horse, then place it on your horse’s back. If your horse gets worried, keep bouncing as you back away from your horse, this will help him get more confident. 

Accept the Mounting 

1/12 – Can you have your horse sidle up when mounting? Does your horse pick you up from the mounting block? Ask your horse to bring their hips towards the mounting block so you don’t have to stretch so far and you know that your horse is participating in the whole process. 

1/13 – Can you mount from the ground? We love mounting blocks to save our horse’s backs, but you need to know you can get on from anywhere. Mount from the ground from time to time to test your horse’s commitment to standing still. 

1/14 – Can you mount from both sides? Unless you ride with a sword, we don’t always have to mount from the left side. Ask your horse to solve puzzles by mounting from the right side. 

Accept the Rider 

1/15– Can you lay across your horse? Yes, keep your feet together and jump up and lay on your horse. Does he walk off, or stand there?

1/16 – Can you guide your horse with a Direct Rein? When directing the nose of your horse, do they follow the feel or pull against you? Yields should be soft and harmonious.