by Robin Payne-Ryan
3* Licensed Parelli Professional Jody Grimm-Ellis’s story is unique and beautiful, yet it is not unusual to find such fabulously similar individual stories in the Parelli family. It is a story of love—and the sweat and commitment behind it—of those who wish to truly make a difference in the lives of horses and the people who love them.
Jody did not grow up with horses. It wasn’t until she was in her mid-20s that she moved to Colorado to take a job mucking stalls at a boarding stable in exchange for lessons. She was hooked! She progressed quickly, moving up to barn manager and continuing lessons. When her employer’s horses foaled two colts and Jody realized she was going to be the one to start them, she attended a horse expo in hopes of learning about colt starting. Linda Parelli was the headliner. She went home deeply inspired, began her Level 1 Parelli training, and has been a huge advocate for Parelli Natural Horsemanship ever since!
Once she reached Level 3, she was awarded an Equine Talent and Career Scholarship from the Parelli Foundation for the Parelli Instructor program. She humbly says she couldn’t have done it without that help from the Foundation. Later, she was awarded a second Parelli Foundation scholarship for colt starting.
She has used her skills well, from starting colts at the Atwood Ranch to starting Atwood Ranch−bred colts for 2 years in a row for the Parelli Foundation Road to the Summit fundraiser program. In 2015 she developed AR HEZA COLONEL DATE (“Buzz”), now owned by Parelli Foundation Board Treasurer, Carol White, and AR HOUSTON SKYLINE (“Houston”) in 2014, alongside her husband, 6* Licensed Parelli Professional Dave Ellis. She and Dave travel together teaching clinics and love meeting amazing people all over the world. She says she is always inspired by watching students, in every single clinic she and Dave teach, transform their skills and understanding of the horse, as well as themselves. She watches them bloom and pay it forward by inspiring others.
Jody continues to study with Linda and Pat Parelli. Improving her horsemanship is her passion, and she feels that sharing what she has learned is a privilege.
Jody is following her heart. She claims to have been introverted until she was inspired to teach. This gave her a voice as she advocates for horses and their needs. Jody has been certified as a Finesse Specialist. She has fully adopted Linda’s creed: “To never scare or intimidate the student or the horse.”
Interacting with Jody, whether she is teaching or just conversing, is seeing love in action. She obviously loves people as much as horses and is living her dream inspiring both. She soaks up all the support she receives from the Parelli family and joyfully passes it on. She is generous with her time in the Parelli Foundation, never limiting her willingness to continue to pay it forward. She is always impressed and touched by the dedication she sees in Parelli students and the passion they all share for the horse. Jody is following her heart and inspiring others to do the same!