Growing Up Parelli
with Caton Parelli & Amy Bowers – May 2007
Caton and Amy recently entered their first competitions “outside” the natural world. Here’s what they had to say about the experience…
Why did you want to compete? Reining and cutting are passions of mine. I love going really fast and working with cows. Once I felt that my horses were ready, I thought that I could do it.
What did you do to prepare? I read over the AQHA rulebook and watched videos. My dad helped me memorize the patterns; he had me draw them. I just did nice light, soft stuff in the bridle. I also got better control of my horse’s go button. Liberty tends to have a sticky throttle.
Have you ever competed before? I’ve never been in an actual competition. But, I have been in the Parelli Games and my dad and I are always having competitions.
How did you feel about being in front of an audience at the competition? Being in front of an audience is so easy for me because I’m used to it at the tour events.
What was your score? Was that important to you? No, score wasn’t important. It was about fun. It was my first show and I scored a 69 in one of the classes. That score won the class! I was excited, but having fun was most important to me.
Do you have any fun stories from the competition? While I was riding, someone came up to my Dad and remarked that they definitely couldn’t spin a horse that fast or else they would fall off. I also rode a 45 foot slide stop on Liberty that blew my hat off.
What did your family say about it? I could tell from the smile on my dad’s face that he was happy. I think Linda was pleasantly surprised.
What did you learn from the experience? I learned that I can broaden my horizons and that of my horses. I learned that I can have a lot of fun at the same time as being competitive.
Would you do it again? Without hesitation! I’d like to try to do some more in Colorado and definitely do more when we come back to Florida at the end of the year.
Why did you want to compete? Pat asked me if I wanted to and I was like, “YEAH!!!” I was so excited, I couldn’t stop jumping up and down.
Have you ever competed before? I competed a couple of times (about three years ago) in hunter classes at the local fair. But, I’ve never competed in three phase Eventing before.
What did you do to prepare? My friend went online and printed out the dressage patterns. I kept up my regular riding program and started practicing the dressage patterns. When out on rides, I jumped everything I could. I made sure I challenged my horses in every way I could.
How did you feel at the competition? I was pretty nervous. I was told afterward that whenever I rode everyone watched because they knew I was a Parelli student. All eyes were on me!
What was your score? Was it important to you? Snickers placed seventh and Prince didn’t place. Score wasn’t important. We were so inexperienced and we learned so much. We had to trust and rely on one another. We had a blast!
What challenged you in the competition? The competition had three phases; the first was dressage; the second show jumping; the third cross country. In cross country, there were two fences where I thought, “we’re not going to get over that.” Prince stopped and looked at me like he didn’t think so either. I petted him, we backed up and then he jumped it without hesitation.
Do you have any funny stories from the competition? I was getting Snickers ready for the cross country and everyone around me was complaining because their horses wouldn’t stand still. I mentioned that Snickers, who was standing calmly, hadn’t been shown before and that he’s just a baby. They looked at us both like “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
What did you learn? The experience gave me a realistic idea of how good my horses really are. Prior and proper preparation is the biggest thing. If you have your horse emotionally ready, you can do more than you think.
Would you do it again? Oh, yeah! I’d like to get better and better. I’d like to see how far I can go.
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