Middle Tennessee has been chosen as the location for a unique horse event that will happen at only six other places in the country this year.
For the weekend of Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, the Williamson County Agricultural Exposition Park, located at Exit 61 off I-65 (Peytonsville Road), will be the scene of the very first Parelli Celebration, starting off with a day of "Savvy Spotlight" on Friday.
Pat Parelli, horseman and educator extraordinary, has been teaching people and their horses how to achieve better relationships for 27 years. He's not the only "natural horseman" working today, but he is one of the most visible, and probably has the most numerous following.
In a recent radio interview, Parelli estimated he had 200,000 students worldwide. Seventy-five thousand of them are members of his Savvy Club. He calls them a "student body" and says the Celebration events, new this year, are mainly for them. The Parelli organization estimates that about 80 percent of them will be within reach of a celebration event this year.
Locations for the celebrations - seven in the United States, one in Australia, and one in England - have been chosen to coincide with locations where the greatest number of Savvy Club members reside.
Previously, Parelli and his wife Linda, another dedicated horse-person and teacher, have traveled all over the country, putting on a dozen or so "tour stops" a year. These were designed to be entertaining and to get people interested in natural horsemanship. They also held a Savvy Conference each fall at their summer headquarters in Pagosa Springs, Colo.
Now the Parellis think the time is right to take the Savvy Conference to the world, instead of asking the world to come to Colorado. The Celebrations are designed for people who have received the natural horsemanship message and say, "I believe - now teach me!"
A full three days of activity are planned for each celebration. Highlights include:
* Pat demonstrating how he builds a partnership with a new horse, going from ground work to riding, The horse will be provided by the Humane Society of the United States, an adoptable animal which is being rehabilitated by an area horse rescue group. Pat says he is excited to be able to show people that these "throw away" horses can be someone's dream horse.
* Linda playing at liberty with horses who have different personalities, or "horsenalities," as Parelli folks call them.
* Pat showcasing the savvy of using patterns to solve puzzles with horses.
* Walter Zettl, their dressage mentor, giving Linda a lesson on her horse Remmer.
* Lauren Barwick, a Parelli student, demonstrating her Gold Medal ride from the 2009 Beijing Paralympics, and talking about what it took to get there.
All through the weekend there are other activities planned: mini seminars, Q & A's, demos, equipment contests, mini course experiences, book signings and much more in the Savvy Plaza. Don't forget the shopping for a variety of Parelli equipment and logo merchandise. There's even a dance with live music on the Saturday night.
The Savvy Spotlight event on Friday is the first of the Parelli Games that will be launched this year. Pat says they have had hundred of applicants for the chance to show off what they are doing with their horses, and he calls some of the videos applicants have sent in "unbelievable," adding, "They're doing with their horses what Linda and I are doing." Around 60 horse-human partnerships have been chosen to demonstrate their relationship and savvy to music. Everyone will be scored for his or her performance, and awards will be given, but no one goes home a loser. The most interesting and/or exciting entries from the Savvy Spotlight will be showcased on Saturday and Sunday.
If you're a Parelli person, you know about the celebration in Franklin and probably already have your ticket. If you're not, this is your opportunity to find out what it's all about and discover a new, and better way, to relate to your horse. For full details, check out the web site www.parelli.com.