Ocala, FL (February 17, 2011) – Classical Dressage Master Walter Zettl has spent his life on the forefront of the dressage world, from coaching Olympic riders to producing DVDs and books that have become staples in dressage libraries the world over. Zettl has joined forces with Pat and Linda Parelli, founders of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, Inc., and recently taught a private dressage clinic at the Parellis’ Ocala facility.
“Walter has been working with us for several years and is very natural in his approach and says teaching Parelli students is a luxury because so much is already in place, even if some of the students ride in a western saddle,” said Linda Parelli, adding that she and her husband Pat and several Mastery Students rode in the clinic with Zettl. “Walter really likes it that Pat and I take part in his clinics and ride in lessons with him. He likes it that we are constantly furthering our education.”
While the Parellis have built their Natural Horsemanship program based on in-depth equine psychology and common sense communication techniques between the horse and rider, which ultimately leads to success, these are the same principles Zettl has been using for years. “Walter puts the horse’s needs first and figures out if the horse needs calming, or motivation and energy, when being ridden,” Linda said. “Walter uses psychology and zero force, and tries to understand things from the horse’s point of view. He is always saying ‘gentle, gentle’ and loves that Parelli people already have a great relationship with their horse.”
Linda added that each time she takes part in a Zettl clinic she develops a greater sensation of what it means to ride with precision. “Each rider taking part in Walter’s clinic learns how important relaxation and harmony are in dressage,” she said. “Plus Walter helps the rider with their position and the shaping of the horse.”
While the dressage world has benefited from Zettl’s commitment to teaching riders how to create a harmonious partnership between horse and rider, his methods are a perfect match for Parelli Natural Horsemanship riders. “About four years ago I started working with Linda and Pat,” Zettl said. “I have much love for horses and riders, and it doesn’t matter what discipline. Pat and Linda have built a great relationship on the ground with their horses. It’s a pleasure to work with the Parellis because they are very dedicated and they always get better.”
Zettl, who is the technical advisor for Dressage Today Magazine, was recently inducted into the Toronto CADORA Dressage Association Hall of Fame for his contribution to the evolution of the sport of dressage. Zettl’s book Dressage in Harmony continues to be a bestseller.
While the Parellis are always thrilled to work with Zettl, they believe he has shown them that natural horsemanship can benefit dressage riders. “Natural horsemanship techniques really help the dressage rider work on relaxation, as well as increasing harmony and connection with their horse to create a more positive relationship. This can translate into a natural foundation for performance,” Linda said. “All kinds of problems can be solved, or averted, by understanding that there are really three reasons for any problem: either the horse is afraid, is arguing (dominant) or doesn’t understand. When you know the root of the problem, it becomes easy to fix. Most riders are under the false notion that the horse is being disobedient. Not only is this usually not the case, but even when the horse is being dominant, punishment doesn’t work.”
Linda added that she, Pat and Zettl headed to Wellington, to attend the Wellington Classic Dressage CDI Competitor’s Party at Tuny Page’s Stillpoint Farm. “We also watched a dressage show with Walter which is always a highlight,” she said.
The Parelli Program, founded in 1981 by lifelong horseman and teacher Pat Parelli, combines in-depth equine psychology and common sense communication techniques into the ultimate recipe for horse and rider success. The Parelli method allows horse owners at all levels of experience to achieve success without force, partnership without dominance and harmony without coercion. Pat and wife Linda’s mission is to make the world a better place for horses and humans, working to inspire, empower and educate through natural horsemanship. Their award-winning educational TV series can be seen on cable and satellite in the USA and UK. To learn more about Parelli, visit www.parelli.com.
For more information contact:
Parelli Natural Horsemanship
Toll Free: 855-PARELLI