Johnny Robb and Zerbino Interagro (Photo courtesy of Susan J Stickle)
Wellington, FL (May 24, 2016) – In many cases, a troubled, difficult horse becomes an ‘at-home’ project, focusing on nothing more than rideability and sometimes setting aside the competition ring altogether. But for riders like Johnny Robb and Micaela Love, who have experienced unimaginable accomplishments through Parelli Natural Horsemanship, limiting their competitive goals was never a consideration. Both riders recently achieved United States Dressage Federation (USDF) medals, riding their so-called “difficult” horses, Zerbino Interagro and Quest.
After meeting Pat and Linda Parelli at the World Equestrian Games in 2010, Adult Amateur dressage rider Johnny Robb began participating in Parelli programs, quickly developing a profound respect for the training techniques and the amazing horse and rider communication and trust that the programs built. With Linda Parelli’s help, Robb introduced her Lusitano gelding Zerbino Interagro, also known as Zillionaire, to the Parelli techniques.
Before Robb and Zerbino began the Parelli program, Zerbino was known for his insecurities in the dressage ring, and fear of the letters. Now, Zerbino boasts two IALHA Grand Prix Reserve National Championship titles and Robb’s USDF Gold Medal. They are now working towards earning the USDF Freestyle Gold Bar.
In addition to the remarkable accomplishments that the pair has achieved in the show ring, Robb and Zerbino’s relationship has developed incredibly, as well. “My partnership with Zill only continues to grow with our Parelli training. The biggest changes I’ve seen is the incredible confidence in Zill now, and the fact that he knows to come to me when he’s scared. We do things that I never thought we’d do,” said Robb.
After seeing what the program did for her horse, the next time Robb saw a horse who was considered ‘too difficult,’ she stopped to take a second look. This horse was a chestnut gelding with a tricky bucking habit. He was called “crazy,” but Robb could see something else in him.
“I brought him home and my friend and trainer Gary Yeager started working with him. Gary’s patience and kindness brought out the very best in the horse,” Robb explained. “In fact, Gary was enjoying him as a schoolmaster to perfect the FEI movements on, but we knew if he were sold to the wrong person his long history of being fearful and resistant would return quickly. I went to Linda Parelli and said, ‘Hey, this horse comes with some baggage, but he is super talented.’ Linda said she knew just the right person for him.”
This is where Robb and Micaela Love’s paths would cross, creating another amazing horse and rider partnership. Love has been a Parelli believer since age 12, but although she always understood the power of natural horsemanship, it wasn’t until meeting Quest that she saw just how much Parelli could do.
Love began working directly with Linda Parelli, implementing her Classical Scale of Training dressage philosophy and knowledge as an equine behaviorist to rehab, train, and unlock Quest’s potential. “Since working with Linda to implement the Parelli program in Quest’s training, he has quickly proven himself as the dream horse I have been looking for over the past five years,” said Love. “Working with Linda has given me hope that proper dressage can be accomplished naturally without sacrificing the horse’s mental, emotional, or physical needs.”
Since beginning their journey, Love and Quest have achieved several successes both in and out of the competition ring. Most recently, the pair earned their USDF Bronze Medal. Love is looking forward to continuing their training with Linda Parelli and competing with Quest at the Grand Prix level one day.
“Parelli offers a clear path to understanding horse behavior and a system to communicate with them through their innate set of values, not ours,” explained Love. “I see no end in sight for Quest and I. I still have to pinch myself regularly to make sure that the fact that I have such a talented horse isn’t a dream.”
Whether riders are struggling with their dressage training, hunter/jumper goals, or just developing a bond with their horses, Robb and Love recommend Parelli Natural Horsemanship to riders of all levels and disciplines.
“You think of natural horsemanship as its own discipline, but in reality it’s horsemanship that can apply to whatever you’re working on. It’s not really about the carrot stick or going over a tarp; it’s building that willingness and trust with the horse,” said Robb.
Parelli Natural Horsemanship uses strategies to help horses and their owners overcome the panic default, thus allowing the horse to become a more willing partner – able to work through nervousness, tension, and fear. To learn more about Parelli Natural Horsemanship, visit www.parelli.com.