Two-time Olympic dressage rider Luis Lucio believes anyone can perform advanced dressage maneuvers on a horse, with enough practice. The magic happens only when a horse willingly offers his heart to the equation. That is what makes Linda Parelli a masterful dressage rider as well as an ambassador for the horse - she combines advanced knowledge of dressage techniques with a deep understanding of horse psychology to achieve ultimate connection.
"My horses love to feel her on their backs when doing flying changes, half passes, canter pirouettes, piaffe and passage," Lucio says. "She is very knowledgeable about dressage techniques and the precise tactics to use them."
Lucio has spent 30 years as a professional dressage rider and trainer and has participated in two Olympic Games. He is credited with consolidating and developing the discipline of dressage in Spain.
But what Lucio calls "tactics," Linda Parelli calls The Game of Contact: The Key to Collection.
Linda's brand-new system teaches riders how to engage their horses physically, mentally and emotionally into collection, in a way that horses enjoy. The new DVD Game of Contact: The Key to Collection will be released in early December on the www.parelli.com web store. This Game of Contact take-home course explains Linda's revolutionary, step-by-step Game of Contact system through demonstrations, lessons with students, and explanation of Game of Contact with different horse personalities - or HorsenalitiesT. The DVD Game of Contact course also includes a separate manual which goes in-depth into the subtleties of the Game of Contact through detailed written explanation and images to demonstrate the different Game of Contact "Stages."
Linda created The Game of Contact after three years of intensive training with Dressage Master Walter Zettl. Top Parelli Professionals, who tested the method first, will tell you the system communicates the subtleties of inviting a horse into collection, in Linda's signature straightforward fashion. The Game of Contact, Linda believes, is the new foundation for success with dressage and finesse.
"It was wonderful to watch the riders at the first Game of Contact course transform, and how they in turn transformed the horses." Linda said. "When each student started to feel their horse take the contact, the reaction was almost always the same - they couldn't help but start laughing and calling out 'woooooow!' As an educator, nothing tops that feeling."
That reaction is what Lucio says he lacked for decades. Before meeting Pat and Linda in 2002, he chased the mantle of "dressage expert" by forcing results from his horses. His metrics for success were competition, renown and medals at international events.
"Perhaps I was really close to feeling myself a dressage expert," Lucio says. "but a question was waiting...What were my horses thinking about me?"
Lucio was impressed by Parelli's notion of playing with horses rather than "working" them. His own methods began to shift from just moving his horses' bodies, to engaging their minds as well. Lucio began to focus not only what, but how. He now calls his former zeal to improve only his technical knowledge of dressage, a "mistake."
Lucio says that many dressage lovers don't understand how Linda became such a good dressage rider over the past few years. He points to her time with Zettl and Linda's determination to use all the puzzle pieces to engage the horse mentally, emotionally, and physically.
"I encourage all dressage lovers to try it," he says.
For now, Lucio says the horses and humans at his stable in Barcelona await Linda's next visit. They are eager to keep learning what she knows about the "how" of keeping a horse calm, connected and responsive.
About Parelli: The Parelli Natural Horse Training Method is now the most widely used horsemanship system in the world, with 200,000 users. The advances in social media at www.parelliconnect.com help those members stay in touch with one another and keep up with Pat and Linda's latest developments, like The Game of Contact. The Parelli method combines in-depth equine psychology and common sense communication techniques into the ultimate recipe for horse and rider success. It allows horse owners at all levels of experience (from trail rider to Olympic level Dressage rider) to achieve success without force, partnership without dominance and harmony without coercion. Our wider goal is to help create a better world for horses and the people who love them through the non-profit Parelli Foundation. Join the Parelli movement at www.parelli.com
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