What is a Parelli Professional?

Parelli Professionals & Star Ratings

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. teaching

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 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 378 Parelli Professionals, in over 20 countries, who are dedicated to helping us serve you on our mission to raise the level of horsemanship worldwide.

Star Ratings

Junior/Trainees
As the first step in their development as a Parelli Professional, Juniors and Trainees are qualified to teach lessons in On Line, Liberty, or FreeStyle. They are individually qualified for these Savvys so please check before booking. Student maximum: 2

1-Stars
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. Student maximum: 4

2-Stars
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, and both one and two-day workshops. Student maximum: 6

3-Stars
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. Student maximum 10

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. Student maximum: 16

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. 5-Stars are also licensed to mentor Parelli Professionals. Student maximum: 20

6-Stars
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. 6-Stars are also licensed to train and mentor Parelli instructors. Student maximum: Unlimited

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 a member of the Professionals Board and serves as a mentor, guide and advisor.


Educational Formats outdoorClass

The format each instructor can teach is based on the permissions of their star rating.  These guidelines are developed for the safety of both the horses and humans as well as to set the instructor and students up for the greatest success.  As Pat says, with more privilege comes more responsibility.

Teaching sessions can be in the following formats:

  • Private Lessons, 1 to 2 students for 1 to 2 hours, objective is so help them improve
  • Group Lessons, 3 to 6 students for up to 3 hours, the lesson is to follow a curriculum
  • Workshops, 3 to 6 students for 3 to 6 hours, focused on a specific subject such as Leads and Lead Changes
  • Clinics, 3 to 20 students for 2 to 3 days, following a curriculum
  • Camps, 10 to 15 students for 4 to 5 days, following a curriculum
  • Super Camps, 15 to 40 students for 5 to 10 days, following a curriculum


Horse Development Specialists

Licensed Parelli Horse Development Specialists (HDS) are those instructors who have spent a large amount of time either personally with Pat Parelli or with his top Professionals and have earned his 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 thing, 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.  Currently only 3-Star Instructors and above are eligible for this license, and not every instructor will earn it.  There are 3 levels of HDS: Horse Development Specialist, Senior Horse Development Specialist and Master Horse Development Specialist.


Special Notes

Although the 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 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 Horse Development they may be able to offer you.

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 their horse trainers’ insurance upon request.