Engineered With the Release in Mind
by Ryan Pfouts on Sep 14, 2022
Parelli Horsemanship Equipment: Developed by a horseman, for horsemen.
One of the most essential aspects of horse development is the timing of the release. Horses learn when we release, not when we keep adding more and more pressure. Forty years ago, Pat Parelli began changing how we approach horse training, which meant that he needed to develop tools to support the mission.
How can tools influence timing?
When Pat developed these essential tools, he chose materials that communicated feel. Tools should not be a foreign object in the equation; they should act as an extension of your body. Everything about the tools has been created by design and has been used by hundreds of thousands of horses around the globe.
We start by using a weighted stick: the Carrot Stick. The weight allows the stick to not act like a whip, but instead to truly be an extension of your arm. The thickness of the 12-Foot and 22-Foot Lines allow you “extend” your arm and “push” your horse backward.
People are often surprised by the weight of the Parelli equipment because it is a little heavier than traditional horse training equipment. A traditional lunge whip would be lighter, but the Carrot Stick has been designed to be effective when in use and to stop the moment you stop. A thin lunge whip would not stop moving if it didn’t have the right thickness. We also encourage you to use your Carrot Stick only when needed. It shouldn’t be so light that you’re always picking it up and moving it around without being aware of your response to your horse.
The ropes come with a safety break-away snap that is imperative to timing. The snap acts as a counterweight by stopping the energy of the rope when you stop adding input. If there were no snap, the rope would continue to wiggle.
How can tools communicate feel?
You gauge the timing of your release by how the yield feels. If the horse yields at a soft request, then you retreat. If the horse doesn’t understand, you may exaggerate the request by adding more energy appropriately. With these tools that Pat developed, feel is communicated more clearly than a traditional lunge line. With the diameter of our 12-Foot and 22-Foot Lines, Finesse Reins, and Horseman’s Reins, you will experience a thicker rope made of yachting braid with a very responsive core. Traditional ropes don’t have a core that allows energy to travel down the length of the rope without having to really shake it.
People are grippers by nature—it is what we do instinctually to be in control. Horses, as prey animals, often don’t respond to this “grabbing.” The thickness of the ropes allows your horse to drift. You can easily allow the rope to slide without such a high risk of rope burn like a nylon lunge line.
What is Long-Body Logic, and what does it have to do with me?
Natural Horsemanship is based on body language. With that in mind, we must have more "horse-like bodies.” Horses have long bodies, while humans have tall bodies. Parelli’s tools are designed to give you the ability to use “Long-Body Logic.”
The Parelli Essential Equipment includes a range of 12-Foot, 22-Foot, and 45-Foot Training Lines. These lines allow you to adjust your position and support your horse while staying further away. The Carrot Stick measures at 4 Feet—the length of your horse’s neck—and is great for Freestyle riding. The Savvy String measures at 6 Feet, which is the length of an average horse. This allows you to stay away from your horse while maintaining influence.
It's no secret that the Parelli Essential Equipment revolutionized how we develop horses. Before Pat Parelli designed these tools, some of the great masters used natural tools like sticks and poles, but mostly there were no tools designed for horsemanship as there are today. Many Parelli students can use the same tools for 10+ years if the equipment is treated well; not all replicas on the market are created equally. Find the full range of Parelli Equipment at Parelli.com.