By Lisa, studentTodd Owens is a 3 Star Parelli Professional and Maureen Owens is a 2 Star Parelli Professional. They have a wonderful facility in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada (just a bit north of Toronto) call the Horseman’s World Ranch.
During the month of July, for the past couple of years, they offer what they call “Deep Practice” weeks. The idea is that you can have a local, scaled-down version of the Parelli Campus experience, right here in Ontario, Canada.
You can sign up for from one week to the entire month of July. This is an opportunity to spend quality time working on improving your horsemanship and your relationship with your equine partner and devote as much time as you want during your stay to developing your horsemanship.
I first heard about this only last year from another Parelli student who had spent several weeks there with her horse – and she raved about what a wonderful time she had. I took the opportunity to sign up for a week this summer, and what an absolutely wonderful learning experience it was.
The week includes access to all that the amenities the facility offers plus one private lesson, one group lesson, and one horseless workshop. I decided to take advantage of having two Parelli Professionals available and signed up for an additional three private lessons. The week also includes the opportunity to ride and play with your horse alongside Todd and Maureen while they play with their own horses, and to watch other student lessons.They have a marvelous facility with a great large outside arena, round corral, honeycomb, all the obstacles you could ever want to play with, and lots of grazing space for spending undemanding time with your horse. They also have a classroom with WiFi available, plus lots of educational DVD’s, should the weather not be cooperative at any time during your stay. The paddock my mare Derby was in was great – in a nice shaded area with a run-in shelter and just a bit of grass for her to snack on. She settled in very nicely right away. An added unexpected bonus that I didn’t anticipate was that since she was away from her normal herd, we were a herd of two for the week and she nickered at me and came up to the gate each time I went to get her for a play session or even just to feed her or clean out her paddock. She came to the gate with a “pick me” expression on her face and this has continued now that we are home and she is back with her buddies.
They have facilities for camping (both tent and trailer) on site. There are also a few bed and breakfast facilities nearby if you want that option. I chose to camp out for the week – the first time in many years that I have slept in a tent. They have set up a fun outdoor “cowboy shower” right beside the outdoor horse washing stall in one of the paddocks where their horses hang out. It was a very common site to see horses hooves walking past while I was in the shower – what fun!
The learning during the week was absolutely wonderful. The three of us sat down at the beginning of the week to talk over my goals for the week and what challenges I might be having, and worked out a plan to achieve the goals and work on my challenges. I had a ton of BFO’s and gained a deeper understanding of so many things. The power of letting my RBI mare “soak” and process when we successfully completed a task and saw an improvement – I wasn’t giving her nearly enough soak time. I’ve never seen my mare lick and chew and process as much as I did that week. The power of having a clear focus and intent BEFORE I asked my horse to do something. The importance of sticking with a task until I got a change or improvement – even if it was a small one. The importance of having a plan in mind when going to play with your horse, but also the importance of being willing to amend the plan, depending on the horse that has showed up for each particular session.One of my very favourite experiences was one evening when Todd, Maureen and I all took turns playing with our horses in their round corral. We each had a specific task we were working on that evening. It was absolutely fascinating to see the progress from one session to the next for all three of our horses. And having all three of us taking turns in the round corral gave our horses time to soak on what we had just been playing with, so the next turn in the round corral saw great progress from the one before.
It was fascinating watching both Todd and Maureen play with their different horses with different horsenalities during the course of the week and how they changed how they approached each horse, according to their needs. Todd was working on improving a specific task with one particular horse over the course of the week. It was so very interesting watching the different things he would do to attempt to get the result, response, and understanding on the horse’s part and achieve the goal he was looking for from the gelding he was playing with. I was so thrilled that I was able to see the progress from one day to the next and to witness how the horse finally figured out the puzzle and how impactful that was for the horse.
Todd and Maureen both are so very generous with their time and knowledge and passion for horsemanship and the Parelli program. They live the principals of the Parelli program all day, every day in all aspects of their interactions with their horses and student’s horses. I will definitely come back next year, hopefully for 2 weeks this time. I will also be bringing a couple of friends so they can also have this amazing experience.