The 2013 Parelli Summit took place September 6-8 at the Parelli campus in Pagosa Springs, and suffice it to say, it was a memorable three days. Pat and Linda Parelli, Nate Bowers, Colleen Kelly, Parelli Professionals, a surprise guest turn from world-class cutting horse rider Doug Jordan… it had it all. But arguably the star of the entire weekend was a little horse named Grace.
Grace and her owner, Tamara Tate, took part in Pat’s three-day Problem Horse Makeover sessions, and the progress she made between Friday morning and Sunday evening was, to put it mildly, stunning. As the Summit came to a close, Pat announced that he would like Grace to return to the Parelli campus next year to spend time with him and his students!
Here’s Tamara herself, with Grace’s story:
“Grace was born in 2005. Before she was a year old, she and three other fillies from the same Quarter Horse farm ended up at a feedlot to be sold for slaughter. Hytyme Equine Rescue of Eagle Creek Oregon heard about the fillies and had to pay to rescue them. Before they came to the rescue, they all came down with severe cases of strangles. They spent a month or so in quarantine at the feedlot then another month in quarantine at the rescue. For the next three years or so, Grace was at the rescue, but no one worked with her. In 2009 I started volunteering at the rescue and she was assigned to me the first day. I quickly realized she had some trust issues. Eventually she came to my house and has never left.
The first two years I worked a lot with Grace, and believe it or not, she made a lot of positive changes. I got to a point with her where we could do a lot of things together as long as we both remained calm. The next step was to start riding, and although my husband has ridden her bareback at a walk, we both knew it was not safe since the slightest thing could potentially cause her to blow. I was at the end of my skill level and still had not gotten her past her deeply rooted fear of people. So for the last two years I have just loved and taken care of her.
The opportunity to bring Grace to the Summit was like a dream come true. I knew Grace was an amazing horse, because she would slip up and let me see it sometimes. So, to me, she was worth the long trip from Oregon. I learned that I had made one of the best decisions of my life while I watched Pat work with her. I could have never gotten her to that first big release. I know now that although I did quite often take her out of her comfort zone, I did not do enough or for long enough. I was constantly questioning what I was doing.
The offer to bring Grace back to Pat for the summer was more than I could have ever hoped for her. She is finally going to learn how to be the calm, smart, amazing mare that has been locked up inside for all these years. I cannot wait to make the long trip back to Pagosa in the spring, because Grace deserves this!”
As you can see from the photo below, Grace (who was quickly dubbed “Amazing Grace” by Pat) is a beautiful horse. We look forward to sharing her journey with you for the next year.
To keep up with Grace’s progress, keep an eye on Pat Parelli’s Facebook Fan Page as well as the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Facebook Page. Grace’s partnership with Tamara is an inspiration to anyone with a difficult or distrustful horse; with the right support system, the impossible is truly possible.