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The HSUS Names Pat Parelli as Humane Horseman of the Year

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States has named Pat Parelli as its Humane Horseman of the Year, an annual award presented to an equestrian who has committed himself or herself to improving the welfare of America's horses. Parelli was presented the award during a private horsemanship event at his ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colo. and again at a training event in Fort Worth, Texas last weekend. Parelli was honored for his work with The HSUS on a program centered on the trainability and adoptability of rescued horses.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Pat Parelli to celebrate horses and help find adoptive homes for rescued horses across the country," said Keith Dane, The HSUS' director of equine protection, who presented Parelli with the award. "The Celebrations and the Parellis have been a powerful force in highlighting the adoptability of rescued horses. We are delighted with the results of this collaboration."

The award, which is given on an annual basis, was created to recognize a horseman or horsewoman who has shown an outstanding commitment to improving the welfare of America's horses. U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., received the award in 2008. Whitfield has worked tirelessly as a leader in the effort to pass H.R. 503/S. 727, legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption abroad. In addition to his support of legislation to end horse slaughter, Whitfield has also supported stricter regulation of the horse racing industry, measures to restore protections for wild horses and other animal protection measures.

This year, Pat and his wife, Linda Parelli, joined forces with The HSUS to spotlight the intelligence and trainability of rescued horses and help them find forever homes. For decades, Pat Parelli, a world-renowned natural horsemanship trainer, has helped horse owners reach new levels of communication and partnership with horses through humane and caring training techniques.

The Parellis' technique, Parelli Natural Horsemanship, is a personalized method of training based on the development of the horse-human relationship in a manner that is extremely considerate of, and natural to, the horse. Unlike some training methods that emphasize brute force or focus on riding alone, the Parelli method emphasizes the importance of building a successful, trusting relationship with a horse — both in and out of the saddle.  Thousands of horse owners in the United States and beyond have benefited from the Parellis' engaging and straightforward approach to horse-human interaction. 

During each of the Parellis' seven events throughout the country, Pat Parelli spends three days working with a rescued horse from a local rescue group affiliated with Homes for Horses Coalition, which was co-founded by The HSUS. At the end of the event, the horse is made available for adoption to a loving home. This collaboration not only places horses in good homes, but brings recognition and much needed donations to the participating horse rescues.

"Our greatest initiative in the horse industry is to help people have more successful relationships with horses and to not treat them as disposable items," Pat Parelli said. "Too many people get out of horses because they get frustrated or afraid, and too many horses suffer as a result…together we can change that."


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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