by Joan Reinbott
Horses at risk, especially those in their golden years and those blind, are well off at the Maryland Horse Rescue Rehabilitation and Adoption in Mount Airy, Md. A Parelli Foundation grant in 2018 furthered their ability to partner with humans after training by 2* Licensed Parelli Professional Dru Lucia Roia.
Volunteer Dr. Rachael Walsh said: “This grant was truly amazing for us! In addition to getting one of our horses adopted, it also helped us to establish a training regimen that can help us and our herd.”
During a break at the recent Savvy Summit in Pagosa Springs, Colo., Dru explained: “From the field, we played the game of attraction because they had catching problems. The only time the staff caught the horses was to do something with them. We also played the first three games in the arena and touched upon the other games. We covered safety going in and out of gates and in and out of the barn.”
Dru came from her Lovettsville, Va.-based Lucia Farm for a few months. “The last time I worked with advanced students on saddling, bridling, mounting, and a little riding,” she said.
Professional attention and guidance made a difference. As an example, Rachael said: “One of our long-time residents, Sonny, was an untrained gelding. While always a gentle and friendly boy, Sonny lacked training. After participating in the Parelli training, Sonny responded positively to handling and was adopted. He found his forever family courtesy of his training.
“In addition to the successful rehoming of Sonny, we have also experienced great success in handling the only horse born on the rescue, Blaze. We rescued Blaze’s mother not knowing what a wonderful surprise she would bring us in the birth of her foal. Because the mother was feral, Blaze had a difficult upbringing and posed specific challenges to which the Maryland Horse Rescue volunteers were not accustomed. Through her Parelli training and continued handling, Blaze is now the first of our field herd to respond to commands. It is amazing to watch this once timid and defiant horse gallop across the field to greet us!”
The center’s board of directors is deciding this fall how to use a recent Horse Welfare grant to keep its natural horsemanship momentum going.