February 21, 2011 ? Children in the central and northern Florida area had their wishes granted when Pat Parelli, the founder of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, traded in his cowboy boots for a jumping saddle during the Second Annual Make-A-Wish Equine Challenge on Valentine?s Day at the Ocala Equestrian Complex. At the same time, David O?Connor, Olympian and President of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), climbed in a western saddle to raise money for Make-A-Wish and give area children a glimmer of hope.
Parelli and O?Connor traded places on February 14th during the Make-A-Wish Equine Challenge ?A Valentine?s Night to Remember? event presented by the Dixie Reined Cow Horse Association. The exhibition featured 10 world-class jumpers trading places with 10 world-class reined cow horse riders in a contest of true horsemanship. During the exhibition, the Western trainer teamed up with a professional from the English jumping world to show each other?s horses. The English rider ran a reining pattern and works a cow, while the western rider jumped a course.
?Pat was really excited to take part in the Make-A-Wish Challenge with his longtime friend David O?Connor. While the goal is to make each rider feel out of their element, I know Pat and David are both consummate showmen, and amazing horsemen, and did their best,? said Linda Parelli, Pat?s wife and co-founder of Parelli Natural Horsemanship. ?It was great evening and we are thrilled that it raised money for a wonderful cause.?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation? of Central and Northern Florida?s mission is to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
The evening kicked off with a demonstration by Parelli riders, before Olympic and elite Grand Prix riders traded places with world champion reined cow horse riders. ?Last year the Make-A-Wish Equine Challenge raised over $11,000,? Linda said. ?I am hoping we can raise just as much, if not more money, this year.?
The Parelli?s are longtime supporters of the equestrian community and their mission is to make the world a better place for horses and humans. ?We have dedicated our lives to empowering and educating horse owners through natural horsemanship, but any chance we get to help such a beneficial cause as Make-A-Wish, we jump at it,? Linda said.
The Parelli?s founded Parelli Natural Horsemanship, Inc., with the goal of helping all horse owners achieve success without force while developing a natural and harmonious relationship with their horse. The Parelli system prepares riders so they can excel in all disciplines, giving the rider a good foundation whether they ride western, dressage, hunters or jumpers. The Parelli program is a holistic approach to horse training based on developing a natural relationship by understanding the horse's nature and how the horse views the world.
For more information on Parelli Natural Horsemanship, visit the website www.parelli.com. For more information on the Make-A-Wish Equine Challenge, visit the Dixie Reined Cow Horse Association website at www.drcha.org.