Using the Parelli Audition Checklists to Stay Progressive
vid Parelli Natural Horsemanship på Nov 30, 2022
By Sandy Stanway—3 Star Parelli Professional
When I first learned about Parelli, I wasn't very imaginative, which is Key Number 6 (Imagination) of Pat's Seven Keys to Success. I knew I wanted to get better at working with horses; in fact, I wanted to get a LOT better, and even though I knew I needed to improve, I didn't know where to start.
During the Friendly Game, I would rub my horse with my hands, use the Carrot stick and string on her, and throw my rope over her. Was this it? Had I completed the game, or was I missing something?
I found a lot of my students in the same boat. They wanted to improve and knew about the Seven Games but didn't know how to do that. My suggestion to my students is to do what I did. I went into the Savvy club and printed out the Audition Checklists for each savvy. For every horse, I label the checklists and date them. Then I go through and check off everything my new horse can already do and keep the checklists next to my bed for easy reference. I also keep a copy of them in my gear bag to take to the barn each day.
I use the list to plan my next play by choosing 2-3 things from different games to work on. At the end of each day, I look at the checklists for each horse and evaluate each item that I worked on, e.g., Level 1 Friendly Game (first item) Rub horse all over with Carrot Stick (hind legs optional). I either check the item off or mark it with a small dot to continue working on it. I will still check things off if my horse is solid. I don't seek perfection in every task because this will drive both you and your horse crazy.
This evaluation lets me see areas where my horse is struggling and guides me to areas where I need to spend more time. It also keeps me on track to do all Seven Games. Before I started using the checklists, I spent lots of time doing easy games and avoiding challenging games.
I start each day with a plan to work on two or three things off the checklist. While we don't always stick to the plan because life takes over or I find a new area that needs work, I do all sorts of variations every day. I am never bored now, and my horses love the variety while maintaining consistency and continuing with progression.
The checklists are also a great way to spark your imagination. When I complete something like Level 2 Friendly Game task Cross Tarp, I try to add new elements, like flags next to the tarp or walking between two barrels before the tarp. You can see how easy adding more elements and being creative is.
While the checklists are very handy, be cautious not to get fixated on doing tasks. You may forget about the relationship with your horse, which is an essential piece of the puzzle. Stay open to working on what shows up and use the lists as a guide. If you have no plan, you can become bored and fail to progress, and your horse will start to get nappy or grumpy.
Having a plan and incorporating flexibility has enabled me to take five horses through Level 4 and helped improve hundreds of others.