Thursday, March 24, 2011

Parelli Four Stages of Learning (Phases): Teach, Control, Reinforce, Refine / Horse Training Video

Below is an outline of the Stages of Learning as written by Teri Sprague in the February 2011 Savvy Times.  I think this is essential knowledge for anyone practicing Parelli Natural Horsemanship.
(To read the full article you can log in to and search the Learning Library for back issues of the Savvy Times!) 

Remember to account for your horse's horsenality (whichever one shows up that day!) every time you play together.

Goal: Communicate new ideas while promoting trust and diminishing opposition reflex.
  • Release comes after the slightest try
  • Phases move in equal intervals, every 3 to 4 seconds - longer for introverts
Goal: Maintain safety and/or establish leadership
  • Match horse's energy and then exceed by 4 ounces
  • If it is necessary to repeat then double the correction each time for 4 times, then return to the 4 ounce rule
    • Example: You've asked the horse to stand/ground tie.  Horse moves forward 1 step, back him 2 steps (doubling the infraction). Horse moves forward 1 step again, back him 4 steps.  Next time 8 steps, then 16 steps, then back to 2 steps.
Goal: Develop positive reflex without assumption of fear
  • Long phase 1, then quickly to phase 4
Goal: Improve maneuver or task, especially in speed, distance, or accuracy
  • Similarities between reinforcing and refining
  • Improves quantity (i.e. number of steps), quality (i.e. distance), speed or precision
  • Long phase 1, then quickly to phase 4 improves quantity, quality, and speed
  • Precision requires long phases because the action required is very precise
  • Precise timing of the release means zero criticism and zero micromanagement

Watch this fantastic video from 4-Star Senior Parelli Professional Ryan Rose on the Stages of Learning: Teach, Control, Reinforce, Refine!

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