Saturday, November 29, 2008

7 Games & Equipment

The 7 games I use are the foundation of Parelli Natural Horsemanship; they are (in order):

The Friendly Game - desensitization to various objects: teaches the horse to rely upon your leadership as to what is necessary to and what is not necessary to spook at; establishes trust between horse and human.
The Porcupine Game - applying physical pressure to various points in increasing phases: teaches the horse to move off of pressure.
The Driving Game - "driving" the horse out of your personal space: establishes respect and continues to teach them how to interpret your body language.
The Yo-Yo Game - teaches the horse to move off of pressure rather than to brace against it; also teaches the horse to read your body language to move off or come in according to your body. Lastly, installs confidence in the horse.
The Circle Game - the horse circles 2-4 laps; teaches the horse responsibility to continue the task it is given until asked otherwise and also further teaches it to read body language.
The Sideways Game - the horse is asked to move sideways according to your body language: "the better a horse goes backwards and sideways the better it does everything else!"
The Squeeze Game - the horse "squeezes" through spaces in claustrophobic situations ie. trailers, jumps, etc; teaches the horse to rely upon your leadership.

All 7 are games that horses play with one another. The first three are the building blocks for the rest of the games, while the other four games are extensions upon the first three and build upon them. The games themselves develop a partnership between horse and rider based upon trust and respect through love, language, and leadership. They establish a means of communication both horse and human can understand - they teach the horse it's own language in "human" words so that both partners can communicate effectively. Personally, they are the foundation for everything I do with any horse. The games are the first thing I teach any horse: I establish an effective means of communication and the commencement of a partnership then extend from it both on the ground and under-saddle.

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