Horses were the furthest thing from my mind when my friend asked me to attend a local “roundup” for kids at a small barn 6 years ago. It was a bright spring day. A gentle breeze cooled us off from the beating Georgia sun. I stood there in my tennis shoes, awkwardly waiting for my turn to get on the horse. Still, to this day, I remember that first ride. How the saddle squeaked under my weight. How looking down on everyone else gave me an excited chill. How, when I looked up and really felt that horse move under me, I felt like I was someone else. Something else. No longer was I entirely me. Something changed—clicked —within me.
The boys’ eyes were wide with anticipation as the bags were opened and the Parelli equipment was presented. Two-star Licensed Parelli Professional Debbie Adcock had somehow managed to haul horse blankets, carrot sticks, telescoping poles, and various tack onto several planes, through four airports. After traveling for 2 days, everything had arrived safely. Their smiles were overwhelming.
Within the Parelli Natural Horsemanship family, there are a few shining stars who selflessly dedicate their lives to making the world a better place for horses and humans. One of those people was Susan Carr Hanson. With her own blend of enthusiasm and determination, combined with a riotous sense of humor and boundless energy, Susan encouraged everyone around her to strive to be the best they could be, in life and for their horses. Earlier this year, the world suffered a loss with the sudden and unexpected passing of Susan.
There were no Parelli instructors in Nova Scotia, but Ada’s parents had always tried to provide an environment that encouraged her to fully engage her interests. When she was ten, they helped her connect with other PNH students. For the first three years, she played with half-a-dozen horses owned by members of the small Parelli community. These experiences made her realize that one day, she too would like to empower humans to be the best they could be for their horses, just as her mentors empowered her.
Erin’s interest in the therapeutic riding side of the Foundation led her to become PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship)-certified and teach at the local therapeutic riding center. By doing this, she also touches two other areas supported by the Foundation: horse welfare and youth.
In early 2015, the Parelli Foundation launched a pilot project for its “Future of Horsemanship.” The program’s three phases focus on recognizing and supporting talented and motivated young people, to help them achieve their dreams with horses and, in the process, create cornerstones for the vision of making the world a better place for horses and humans.