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Horse Welfare
Horse Welfare

The welfare of horses is of great importance to the Parelli Foundation.  Nothing promotes equine wellbeing more than humans learning to communicate with horses in a way horses understand – naturally – ..

We fund education initiatives for horse rescue centers that improve the welfare of the horse and increase adoptability. We also support showmanship and competition when performed using natural horsemanship principles.  Rescue center education raises awareness of how natural horsemanship can help rescued horses have a future particularly through our Rehoming 4 Life Challenge.

“We’ve seen first hand the difference that Natural Horsemanship can make for horses in need and we hope that Romeo’s life story will help reduce the number of equines in the rescue world by providing people with training solutions that work, not only for the horse, but for the human. Our best goal of all would be that horses like Romeo and the Parelli Rehoming 4 Life Challenge will be so successful for years to come, that it eventually puts all rescues out of business! ” Kim Meagher, Wild Horse Rescue, AZ

rescure horses

Purpose of the Center Grants:

To continue to advance the skills of staff and volunteers in natural horsemanship and to improve the safety and adoptability of your horses.

“Helping create a better world for horses and humans through natural horsemanship education”

For additional information contact us or view the application below.

The application process for Horse Welfare Grants is undergoing changes.  Stay tuned for the update and announcement of new grant application deadlines.

The Rehoming 4 Life Challenge and Adoption!

Rehoming 4 Life horses 2017

When Festival Magnifico was over on May 7, 2017, all of the remaining Rehoming 4 Life horses had found homes. The Rehoming 4 Life program will now be part of the new grants for welfare centers program.  Centers may apply to have horses developed by Parelli Professionals. Interested adopters should contact the centers directly to adopt horses.

We are demonstrating that rescue horses are not “throw away” horses, and can become wonderful partners through natural horsemanship training.

Rehoming for Life Workshops

Rescue horses have unique needs and safety is paramount for both horses and the humans who care for them.  The Foundation’s Rehoming for Life Workshops were created to offer education by Parelli Professionals designed for the rescue staff and volunteers.  We offer Rehoming for Life workshops regionally by request.

Past Rehoming for Life Workshops:

Best Friends Animal Society’s Horse Haven
The Parelli Foundation’s first Rehoming For Life Workshop
Kanab, UT
March 18-23, 2014

Sonoma Equine Rescue Rehab and Adoption (SERRA)
A story about the regional group that developed as a result of the Rehoming for Life Workshop at SERRA, Petaluma CA
May 16-17, 2015

We will continue to offer Regional Rehoming for Life Workshops if a group of recues in a region would like to contract with us to do so. Mnimum guaranteed registration 25. For additional information contact us.

We are grateful for the support of the ASPCA for our workshop.


Resources for Horse Welfare

Sveta,horse rescued and rehomed by BSCTA

The Parelli Foundation focuses on Natural Horsemanship Education.  We are making available a resource list for those seeking help in other areas related to horse welfare such as: .

  • Failure to follow standards for facilities and care
  • Insufficient resources for rescue/rehoming and long term care
  • In-discriminant breeding
  • Inhumane Treatment of PMU mares/foals/nurse mare foals
  • Unintentional abuse
  • Humane euthanasia and disposal
  • Competition related abuse
  • Wild Horse/Burro management

We are continually updating this list.  If you have a favorite link or resource that you would like us to consider adding to the list, please send the link to

Competition related abuses in training, racing, and other arenas

Background Information:

Among the abuses enumerated by equine advocacy organizations, veterinarian societies, breed organizations are:

  • pressure to win exceeds concerns regarding the welfare of the horse
  • lack of knowledge and skill among trainers, riders and owners (especially those who are novices)
  • use of abusive equipment and practices
  • soring and other pain induced enhancement of gait and frame
  • medications to alter performance (doping) (UHC Study 2009; Voigt 2012)

Despite improved regulations in these areas and improving judging standards, penalties for infractions are often not serious enough and are applied inconsistently.

See below for some of the Competitors who are Winning with their Natural Horsemanship Partners

Margit Deerman
Margit Deerman
3 Star Parelli Professional
Susan Nelson
Susan Nelson
3 Star Parelli Professional
Ryan Pfouts
Ryan Pfouts
1 Star Parelli Professional
Elli Pospischil
Elli Pospischil
3 Star Parelli Professional
Amy Bowers
Amy Bowers< 4 Star Parelli Professional/h5>

Failure to follow standards for facilities and care

Background Information:

Standards for equine facilities have been developed but are not widely known and not enforced.  These standards include safe facilities/prevention of disease spread, manure  management and  nutrition (overweight).

Minimum Standards of Horse Care

Current Resources/Organizations devoted to this issue:

Local agricultural associations/farm bureaus have courses on farm and equine management.

Insufficient resources for rescue, rehoming, long term care

Background Information:

The need for space at rescue centers may be 10 times the current availability (roughly spots for 6000 horses annually). Data compiled by the Equine Welfare Alliance indicate that the cost of feed is the most important factor leading to unwanted horses.

How The GAO Deceived Congress And Opened The Way For Horse Slaughter To Return

The 2007 UHC Survey identified several factors leading to the number of unwanted horses: downturn in economy including change in owner employment, loss of owner interest, closing of processing facilities, indiscriminate breeding, unmanageable horses, old age/injured horses.

2009 Unwanted Horse Survey

Indiscriminant breeding

Background Information:

It is estimated that there are nearly 10 million horses in the US.

The American Horse Council: Equine Economics

Current Resources/Organizations devoted to this issue:

Inhumane treatment of PMU mares/foals/nurse mare foals

Background Information:

Pregnant mare urine is processed to make the hormone replacement Premarin. Concerns about the living conditions for Premarin mares and foals are real as well as the high probability of these horses being sent to slaughter

PMU before rescus
PMU foals waiting transport to slaughter

Current Resources/Organizations devoted to this issue:

PMU foals after rescue
Rescued PMU foals get a job

Unintentional Abuse: lack of knowledge and skills

Background Information:

In 2000, Kimball estimated that 95% of abuse was neglect or unintentional and 5% was true abuse. More recent information suggests that unintentional abuse by novice owners, trainers, and riders results from lack of the knowledge and skills needed to own, care for and ride horses. Parelli Natural Horsemanship and Parelli Professionals throughout the world provide education to improve the knowledge and skills of these groups of people.

Parelli developed horses are confident in a variety of situations

In the water
On the trail
Jumping obstacles

Current Resources/Organizations devoted to this issue:

Equus Foundation

State Horse Councils or Boards vary tremendously in their missions and programs. One example is the Pennsylvania Equine Council. See what your state Horse Council or Board has to offer.

Through the gates
Working cows

Humane euthanasia and disposal

Background Information:

It has been suggested that the cost of euthanasia of unmanageable, old and injured horses contributes to the number of horses abandoned, sent to auctions or rescues or transported for slaughter.

Wild horse/burro management

Background Information:

A National Academy of Science Study was published in June 2013 with a critical review of the current status of wild horse management and recommendations for improvement.  This is a very controversial topic.

Current Resources/Organizations devoted to this issue:

Inspiring Stories

Here are some powerful and impactful stories about how the Parelli Foundation through Natural Horsemanship efforts has improved the welfare of equines. We hope you enjoy these stories and we would love to hear how our efforts have helped you along in your horse welfare journey.  You can submit your story to

Kira and student and creative use of pumpkin as obstacle

What if your lovingly used Parelli Equipment —

could outfit a non-profit horse rescue, equine therapeutic
center or youth club with natural horsemanship tools?

Lovingly Used Equipment

Maybe …

… it’s finally time to create space in your tack room and reduce tool redundancy for a GREAT cause!

We accept Parelli and Parelli “type” equipment in good serviceable condition such as rope halters, carrot sticks and savvy strings, 12, 22, and 45 foot lines, bridles, hackamores, bareback pads, and saddles. These items do not necessarily need to be manufactured by Parelli Natural Horsemanship, but they do need to be of a type and compatibility for use in natural horsemanship.”

The First Step is Easy:

He will find a good home for your lovingly used equipment.