Florida Rally Roundup Report
Educational Fundraiser for the Parelli Foundation
By Shannon South
With the warm Florida sun shining down, and the sweeping Spanish moss overhead, the gates of the Florida Parelli Center stood open on May 2 – 3, 2015, welcoming Parelli students for a very special event! The occasion was the Florida Rally Roundup; an educational opportunity for Parelli students and a fundraiser for the Parelli Foundation. Beyond the gates, seven Licensed Parelli Professionals welcomed 54 students (riders and auditors) for two days of amazing learning.
The Florida Rally was set up as a “choose-your-own-adventure” style-learning environment. Before arriving at the Parelli Center, each registrant was asked to select from a long list of stations that they wished to participate in. Throughout the two days, four to six sessions were running simultaneously in one hour increments. The stations were designed to be topic-specific and appealed to a wide range of student levels; for those new to the Parelli program up to those moving beyond Level 3. Covering all four Savvies, sessions included topics such as: Intro to the 7 Games; Knot Tying; Freestyle Hindquarter Steering; Stick-to-Me at Liberty; Playing with Obstacles from a Distance and Finesse Gaits within Gaits; just to name a few!!
As with any education effort, the event wouldn’t have been possible without the instructors. The sessions were taught by a very talented group of Licensed Parelli Professionals, who volunteered their teaching time, including: Lauren Barwick – 4 Star Instructor*; Ryan Pfouts – 3 Star Instructor; Eli Pospischill – 3 Star Instructor; Karen Woodbury – 3 Star Instructor; Nancy Slater – 2 Star Instructor; Patty Woodward – 1 Star Jr. Instructor; and Nancy Faulconer – 1 Star trainee. Delivering the education components at this unique event gave the instructors a platform for teaching that was slightly different than what they usually encounter teaching the Parelli program. With short, one hour segments, instructors provided a brief overview of general concepts and then assist students by getting quite specific in the topic they were presenting.
Since the Florida Parelli Center was established, the draw for students has always gone beyond the world class education and the beauty of the landscape. This fundraising weekend provided students with the genuine Parelli experience as Linda Parelli made several appearances during the event. Riding through the grounds greeting students during the day, Linda also spoke at the Friday Night Mix & Mingle; sharing stories and asking students to share their highlights of the event. The Parelli culture surrounded the students, instructors and Linda as they talked about their learning and experiences; and more than a few “chilly bumps” and tears surfaced among the group!
The format of the Florida Rally Roundup was the brainchild of Licensed Parelli Professional and 2-Star Instructor, Debbie Adcock. She explained, “The Rally Roundup started as my vision to create an inexpensive event that any Parelli student could attend. In addition to being a fundraiser for the Parelli Institute, the format is also designed to generate enthusiasm in students and to inspire people so that they can succeed and achieve extraordinary results with their horses. Pat Parelli says we not only want to inspire people, but to empower them and that is exactly what a Rally does!”
Licensed Parelli Professional and 2 Star Instructor Karen Woodbury was eager to take the lead in organizing and managing the Florida Rally Roundup. “It was so exciting to watch the event unfold from an idea, to securing the Florida Parelli Center as the venue, to finally being at the campus and seeing the happy, smiling faces of everyone involved.”
The very first Rally Roundup was held in Texas in 2013 with 70 participants raising more than $13,000 for the Foundation. In 2014, Texas held its second event and Rally’s were also held in Colorado, California and the Carolinas. With a combined donation of over $37,000 it is clear that the Rally format is popular with students and Parelli Professionals.
All money raised is donated to the Parelli Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to make the world a better place for horses and humans through philanthropy and fundraising for youth, horse welfare, therapeutic horsemanship and scholarships.
This year, the Florida Rally Roundup was just the first of a number of Rallies being held across the country. Not only will the Parelli Foundation benefit greatly, but more students will also have access to this fun and educational event! And having fun, while generating funds for the Parelli Foundation, makes it even more worthwhile!