The Certification Program

Parelli horse instructor certification

Who are they?

Parelli Professionals are talented, dedicated individuals who, after extensive time studying Parelli Natural Horsemanship (PNH) as a student, have been licensed to teach and/or provide horse development training in the field.  There are currently two certifications available for Parelli Professionals, as a Licensed Instructor and as a Licensed Horse Development Specialist.

A Parelli Professional is a dedicated and educated horseman, trained to teach students in the Parelli Program. These licensed professional instructors are independent contractors and not employees of Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

What do Star Ratings mean?

Similar to the travel industry, a star rating system is used to rank the Licensed Parelli Professional.  There are a lot of people (inside and outside of PNH) with an opinion of their expertise with horses but without a standard set of criteria by which they and others could measure against.  By looking at a star rating you know what the person has done, how much experience they have and what other related subjects they have studied.  It is important for customers to know what level of education and experience they can reliably expect when they contact a Parelli Professional.

Parelli Professionals are ranked by a star rating which reflects their level of tenure and experience teaching the Parelli Program. Some are also Horse Development Specialists which qualifies them to train horses as well.

We are proud to announce that we have over 250 Parelli Professionals, in more than 20 countries worldwide, who are dedicated to helping us serve you on our mission to raise the level of horsemanship worldwide.

The value of Parelli Star rated Instructors

Instructor Emeritus


A Parelli Professional lifetime achievement award for service above and beyond as a Parelli Professional as well as the development of the Parelli Professionals program as a whole. The Instructor Emeritus is an active Instructor, member of the Professionals Board and serves as a mentor, guide and advisor.  With over 20 years involved as a Professional with Parelli, Neil Pye is currently the only person with this highly esteemed status of Emeritus.

6-Stars - ★★★★★★

This is the highest star rating attainable.  6-Star Master Instructors are qualified to teach all Four Savvys: On Line, Liberty, FreeStyle and Finesse and are licensed to conduct lessons, group lessons, workshops, clinics, camps, and super camps. In addition to being involved in program and Professional development, 6-Stars are also licensed to train and mentor other Parelli Professionals.

5-Stars - ★★★★★

5-Star Master Instructors are qualified to teach all Four Savvys: On Line, Liberty, FreeStyle and Finesse and are licensed to conduct lessons, group lessons, workshops, clinics, camps, and super camps. As part of an elite group of Instructors, 5-Stars have extensive time in grade and are involved in program development as well as mentoring other Parelli Professionals.

4-Stars - ★★★★

4-Star Senior Instructors are qualified to teach all Four Savvys: On Line, Liberty, FreeStyle, and Finesse and are licensed to conduct lessons, group lessons, workshops, clinics, and camps. These Instructors have shown tremendous commitment to continuing their education and experience.  They go above and beyond in their dedication to the program and have become involved corporately to help further the program.

3-Stars - ★★★

While 1 and 2-Star Instructors are fully licensed, they are still considered to be learning and therefore are endorsed to teach only portions of the program. The 3-Star rating is the first level of Instructor that is fully endorsed to teach levels 1-4 in all Four Savvys of the Parelli Program. They have the time and grade, experience and knowledge to have earned a 3-Star Instructor rating. All this in addition to dedication and experience are paramount in consideration for advancement to this rating. 3 Star Instructors are qualified to teach all Four Savvys: On Line, Liberty, FreeStyle, and Finesse and are licensed to conduct lessons, group lessons, workshops, and clinics up to 4-days.  This is the first fully endorsed star rating and all-star ratings above 3-Star are by invitation only.

2-Stars - ★★

This is the second level of the fully licensed and endorsed Instructor Status. 2-Star Instructors are qualified to teach three of the Four Savvys: On Line, Liberty, and FreeStyle and are Licensed to conduct lessons, group lessons, as well as one and two-day workshops for up to 6 people. 2-Star Instructors are required to attain time and grade in this rating for a minimum of 2 years before consideration for advancement to 3-Star status is considered. 

1-Stars - ★

This is the first level of the fully licensed and endorsed Instructor status. 1-Star Instructors are qualified to teach two of the Four Savvys: On Line and FreeStyle Riding, and are licensed to conduct lessons, group lessons, and one-day workshops for up to 4 people. They must be a 1-Star Instructor for at least 1 year before they are eligible for consideration by the Professionals Board for advancement.

Parelli Horse Development Specialists:

Parelli Professionals that are licensed as Horse Development Specialists (HDS) are those instructors who have spent a large amount of time working directly with Pat Parelli or with his top Professionals. These individuals have earned Pat’s confidence to teach horses.  This is much different than teaching people.  The people teaching program is set up in a linear fashion as that is how best to teach humans while horses learn much faster; the Horse Development Specialist will teach the horse in whatever order the horse needs.

Horse development is all about Parelli Principle #7 – “humans teach horses and horses teach humans.”  As you progress through the Parelli Levels Pathway to Level 4, your horse is really teaching you!  How do prey animals think, how can you act like a partner, how to handle your tools, and the list goes on.  Horse Development is where the human starts to teach the horse.  The horse may be a foal, a colt getting his first rides, a particularly difficult or challenging horse, or moving towards an area of specialization. 

Are all Parelli Instructors Horse Development Specialists?

Only 3-Star Instructors and above are eligible for this license, although not every instructor will earn it.  There are 3 levels of HDS certification: Horse Development Specialist, Senior Horse Development Specialist and Master Horse Development Specialist.  Please understand unless a Parelli Professional carries the Horse Development Specialist Certification, they are not approved by Parelli to offer Horse development/training services as a Parelli Professional.  If you choose to have a Parelli Professional that is licensed in teaching people and not in horse development train your horse(s) please understand their services are not supported or endorsed by Parelli. We only approve of fully certified Parelli Horse Development Specialists for horse training services.    

Special Notes

Although the Instructors and horse development specialists listed on this site are trained and certified in Parelli Natural Horsemanship skills and methods, they are independent contractors and set their own formats, pricing, and schedules.  We list them here as a service to you and to them, but we do not regulate or receive any portion of their fees.  Please visit the instructor’s individual website to learn about the type of Instruction and Horse Development services they may be able to offer.

Staying updated is an important part of being a Licensed Parelli Professional.  Within each region you will find a dynamic listing of Parelli Professionals worldwide, in star rating order.

All Licensed Parelli Professionals will provide proof of insurance upon request.

THE PARELLI INSTRUCTOR PROGRAM

How to Become a Parelli Professional

Demand worldwide for Licensed Parelli Professionals far exceeds supply. Career opportunities for graduates continues to grow exponentially in step with the growth of the Parelli Program itself, which now boasts over 22,000 MEMBERS in 73 Countries. The old adage “choose a career you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” has never been truer than at Parelli, where every day of the rest of your life can be spent helping create a better world for horses and humans through education.

What does it mean to be “Licensed by Parelli”?

It means that both Parelli Professionals and students can expect:

  • A trusted standard of horsemanship, ethics, and teaching.
  • Specific and sequential curriculum: The Parelli Education Program.
  • Part of a worldwide team for support, inspiration and continued education.

As a Parelli Professional, you also benefit from the following:

  • A high level of horsemanship
  • A working knowledge of Parelli Natural Horsemanship as a student and as an Instructor or Horse Development Specialist
  • A high level of support in cases of difficult situations, problems or emergencies
  • The use and sale of authentic Parelli materials (education and tools)
  • Opportunities for up-to-date knowledge, including studying with higher level Parelli instructors, Pat Parelli, Linda Parelli, and at the Parelli Campuses
  • Instant customer base through the Parelli network Marketing to millions of people worldwide via the www.parelli.com website and Parelli Connect
  • The potential for state wide, national and international work High level recommendations/business opportunities
  • Participation at Parelli Natural Horsemanship events, with personal promotion
  • Access to Parelli Natural Horsemanship materials, advice, marketing tools, connections, sponsors, etc.

What is an ideal candidate?

We are looking for individuals that are 21 years of age* or older that are official graduates of Level 4 in all Four Savvys to represent Parelli Natural Horsemanship in equine communities around the world.

Candidates for the Parelli Professionals Program are:

  • Good with horses
  • Possess good interpersonal skills
  • Emotionally fit – staying left brain in a right brain situation
  • Natural puzzle solvers
  • Have a mature outlook on life
  • Professional and ethical behavior
  • Have been a Savvy Club Member for at least 1 year
  • And are successful graduates of the appropriate courses and the live Professionals Entrance Exam

As an applicant into the Parelli Professionals Program you will need at least three recommendations from a 3-Star or higher rated Parelli Professional, this helps Parelli ensure a high standard of horsemanship and aptitude for teaching in the Professionals Program. 

*Applicants younger than 21 will be reviewed on a case by case basis, the minimum age is 18.

How do I apply?

First, you must take and pass 4 weeks of courses, either consecutively or over time, at one of the campuses. After you have taken these courses and have officially passed Level 4 in the Parelli Program in all 4 Savvys (On line, FreeStyle, Liberty and Finesse) you can apply to attend the 12-week Externship by emailing wowfactory@parelli.com.

A minimum initial attendance of 12 weeks is required, although you can apply to stay for up to 5 years. Acceptance into the internship, apprentice and protégé Programs have different time and grade requirements and are usually only offered to the top 10% of the class.

Once your application to the 12-week Externship is accepted, you are in the induction phase of the Mastery Program, although you are not officially a Mastery Student until you pass the 12-week Externship. Upon completion of the externship, a score of 80% or higher is required to qualify for consideration of a 1-Star rating. If your score is below 80%, additional horsemanship over 6 months is required before reapplying.

While we realize there are some students that cannot spend 12 weeks away from home, there is an alternative pathway. These select students may choose the 2-day LIVE Entrance Evaluation. As it is an alternative option, this is only offered on a case by case basis and is not the main pathway into the Mastery Program. The 2-day LIVE Entrance Evaluation consists of testing over 2-days on horse-man-ship skills, teacher-man-ship skills, presentation skills, and knowledge of the program. A score of 85% or higher is required to qualify for the 2-week Instructor Training Course. If your score is below 85%, additional horsemanship over 6 months is required before reapplying.

A score of 85% or higher in the Instructor Training Course is required to qualify you for consideration of a 1-Star Rating. A score of 99-100% qualifies you for consideration for a 2-Star rating. If your score in the Instructor Training is below 85%, another 2-week Instructor Training Course is required.

For More Information:

If you have additional questions on how to become a Parelli Professional, please contact our Professionals Dept at professionals@parelli.com or call 800-642-3335.

For more information on the 12-week Externship (dates, availability, etc.), please contact the wowfactory@parelli.com.

To sign up for a course please contact our Courses Dept at courses@Parelli.com or call 970-731-6177.

Scholarships may be available. To apply for a scholarship, please visit the non-profit charitable Parelli Foundation website for details.

MEMBERS ACROSS THE GLOBE!

Give us a call and check out what's happening!

Toll Free: 1-800-642-3335 | Phone: 1-970-731-9400 | Fax: 1-888-731-9722 or 1-970-731-9722
Email: pnhusa@parelli.com | Hours: 8am–5pm Monday–Friday MST SGCloud