I'm Lavonne Parker
Horse Trainer & Riding Coach
I am passionate about horses.
That passion ignited when I was about five years old, growing up in rural Saskatchewan. I fell in love with Flame, my sister’s pony. By the time I was six, I was riding him bareback, hopping onto him whenever he was close to a fence or gate. With bale twine around his neck as a bridle, off we would go! I taught him tricks, did barrel racing, pole bending, had him jump on a box with his front feet. (If Roy Rogers and Trigger could do it, so could I and my trusty steed!) For years, we showed at the local small town fair and placed in many events.
In the decades that followed, always having horses - my own or others’ - in my life, handling them for clipping, bathing, being part of the show world, observing their handling by both backyard owners and pro trainers, one thing always stood out for me: horses are misunderstood by most people. The abuse horses undergo in the name of training is astounding! And this abuse nearly always arises from the human desire to win or to dominate, no matter what the cost to the horse.
For ten years I lived in California, where I gathered knowledge in the methods of natural horsemanship and was inspired by expert clinicians who demonstrated how a wide eyed terrified horse could, with patience and consistency, be transformed into one who was soft-eyed, trusting and willing. With my whole being, I became passionate to learn from them and to share this knowledge with other horse lovers. My mentors whose clinics I attended were Pat and Linda Parelli, Monty Roberts, John Lyon, Clinton Anderson and Tom Dorrance. I was particularly taken with Clinton Anderson’s approach which made such sense to me. And Tom Dorrance, whose last clinic he ever gave I was privileged to attend, is the great horseman who responded to a participant who insisted her dressage horse was different from the others, “It’s a horse, ain’t it?!” So true!
Since then, I have adopted a combination of ideas and methods from all that I have learned, and have developed my own methods and strategies to help teach clients to teach their horses, regardless of their riding disciplines.
All too often there is a standoff between horse and human and we feel frustrated by the horse’s “negative attitude.” Wouldn’t it be helpful if she would lift her feet when you want to clean them? Or lower her head to place the halter or head stall on? Or load quietly into a trailer? And why does that rock, pole or plant pot in the corner of the yard freak her out every day? Can’t she just get over it? So we cajole, bribe or force with whips or apples. Yet the behaviour just never gets better. The horse is not willing and becomes head shy, resistant, or spooks at everything. In short, there is no trust between you.