Horse Lovers Learning, Having Fun in Nevada

Our guest post comes from Suzy McMinn. Suzy lives in Auburn, CA with her horse, her Suzy-trained service dog, Peppermint Patty, and two cats.  As a trainer of dogs, horses and riders for 36 years, she teaches with compassion, knowledge, and authority. Suzy majored in Horse Science and minored in Journalism at Oregon State University. Suzy is a former newspaper editor, entertainment specialist and is now a freelance writer, proofreader and photographer. She enjoys traveling and meeting new friends. Suzy McMinn has made her life a mission to help create a better world for horses, animals and humans, working to inspire, empower and educate through better knowledge, interaction, and love.

photos courtesy of Suzy McMinn and “Coco”

There are horse owners and there are horse lovers and sometimes a lucky horse gets both features in one owner/rider. Horse lovers are constantly trying to better ways of communication with their horse, trying to find a better, kinder way to relate and receive information from their favorite equine.

Almost 1,000 horse lovers converged July 29-31st in Reno, Nevada to learn tried and true ways of horsemanship from world renown, Pat Parelli, developer of Horse.Man.Ship. Parelli presented Wild Horse Taming Naturally, the calm and natural techniques featured by National Geographic’s 2001 documentary “America’s Lost Mustangs.”

Parelli said, “Not only will this event show you the potential of mustangs when started naturally, it will teach you how to communicate with any horse while preserving their dignity and spirit, this event is sure to be beautiful, exciting, and educational. And, it was, it was incredible.

Eight mustangs were provided for this weekend with cooperation from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Mustang Heritage Foundation. As the mustangs were herded into the large arena, Parelli on his great young horse, Troubadour, had his back to the mustangs and said to the audience, “I asked for mustangs of all different colors, size and sex.”

The audience had a great laugh out of Parelli’s comment because all eight mustangs were bays, (red-brown to gold-brown with black legs, manes and tails) and all were geldings and pretty much the same size. Parelli milked that subject until the crowd was roaring with laughter. “Go get the bay gelding,” Parelli would say to one of his assistants. “Can you toss a loop over the bay gelding’s head?” “Please put the bay gelding into that corral.”

As the learning experience went on, it became evident that even though the horses were the same color, same size, same sex, they all had extremely different “Horsenality.” An aside here, though Pat and Linda Parelli have trademarked that word, it was because I was too young and stupid to think of such a thing when I would sing Lloyd Price’s 1959 song “(You’ve Got) Personality (Horsenality) to my horse. I was 13 years old, my horse was 16 years old and I would sing “you walk with horsenality, trot with horsenality, canter!

Parelli asked that the eight mustangs be sorted into any of the three round pens or three large square pens lining the audience side of the arena. As you can imagine, that was asking for havoc. The horses had never had to do such a thing before and weren’t about to cooperate. They were a herd and planned to stay that way. Seeing how easily these horses were invited to enter these strange corrals was an education in itself about patience, communication and body language on the part of the trainers.

photos courtesy of Suzy McMinn and “Coco”

Parelli was informative, teaching the audience what was happening in the arena areas. When we saw a trainer hanging on to a mustang via a lariat, Parelli explained the method of pull on horse’s neck rope and give instant release as soon as mustang yields. The reward is the release and the horse soon learns this principle. Of course, there were times when it looked like the mustang was teaching the handler how to sand ski around the pen.

Anyhow, a hand-picked team of Colt Starting Specialists showed the how’s and whys of unearthing the potential of the gathered mustangs. Seven horse experts were proceeding with wild horse taming on their picked “bay mustang gelding” as Pat rode herd on his crew with humor, coaching and having a surprise or two up his sleeve all-the-while working with the eighth mustang. By the end of the weekend, six of the mustangs were being ridden and four mustangs were adopted to new homes.

Pat Parelli says, “Equs equals love.” By using love, language and leadership, Parelli is on a mission to help create a better world for horses and humans, working to inspire, empower and educate through natural horsemanship. To learn more, visit:

Upcoming Nevada Horse Events

Senior Pro Rodeo at Fernley’s Vaquero Days
September 16-17
For more information call 775.575.4459
For Restaurants, Lodging and to Purchase Vaquero Day Kickoff Dinner, Rodeo tickets and Concert tickets contact

For Reno/Tahoe restaurants, lodging contact the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority – 775.827.7654 or RSCVA, POB 837, Reno, NV 89504

Snaffle Bit Futurity & Trade Show
Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center
September 19, 2011 – October 2, 2011
8:00 a.m. daily – Building: Main Arena
Paid parking in effect $7.00 per vehicle per day or $40.00 event pass

Best in the West Trade Show
Saturday, September 24 – Sunday, October 2
9:00 am daily – Building: Exhibit Hall
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 1-800-745-3000

Wrangler/Professionals Choice ACTRA National Finals
October 16, 2011 – October 23, 2011
Reno – Sparks Livestock Events Center
The ACTRA (American Cowboys Team Roping Association) National Finals Team Rodeo is held at the Reno Sparks Livestock Events Center, in the Main Arena and Rodeo. In addition to eight days of team roping, there will be vendors and a western Art Show. For more information and the competition schedule, check out their website at