8 Days – 8 Principles: Day 2

Pat Shares the 8 Principles of Horsemanship in Mexico

Principle #2: Make no assumptions.

People make assumptions all the time. We assume that horses are safe and simple, that if a horse has been ridden, he’s rideable no matter what. We assume that the same training technique will work for every horse. We might assume it’s the horse’s fault whenever something doesn’t go right. We assume that if the horse did it one day, he’ll automatically do it the next. We assume that horses think the same way that people do, and that they value the same things. We assume a prey animal will not hurt us or damage things, other horses, or himself if he feels his life is in danger.

We can also teach horses to make assumptions. If we trot home to the barn three or four days in a row and then, one time, expect the horse to walk back in a relaxed way, it’s not likely to happen. We teach horses to assume they’ll be fed at 6:00am and 5:00pm every day, and cause all kinds of stress to the horse if we’re late. Unwittingly, we might teach horses to assume that they can run over people, invade their space, and behave disrespectfully because we don’t realize that every moment we are with a horse we are teaching them something, either good or bad.

Make no assumptions and teach no assumptions. Be present in each moment, observe acutely, know how to read horses and be savvy in your actions. Make sure your opinions and facts measure up and you’ll be set up for success.

Keep it Natural,


  1. Gretchen Rohde

    For me this is the most important Parelli Principle for people and horses. It is part of “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz for good reason. With this one agreement, you can transform your life and the lives of your partners, horses and friends. Brilliant, Pat!