What if I Told You Western Performance Actually Came from Spain? by Pat Parelli
Pat Parelli – I am going to give an interesting History lesson.
Today, most riding drops itself into either English or Western and we have leisure and trail riders and performance, both English and Western. But if you go to Spain, you’ll find that they have two types of training there. Delmel Classico and Delmel Vaccaro riding, Delmel means training. It is similar to the word Dressage with it being a French word and Delmel is a Spanish word. Delmel Classico basically means to prepare your horse for warfare and Delmel Vaccaro means to prepare your horse for cattle and bull fighting.
As most of you may know that there were no horses in North America, they all came from Europe, mostly Spain. The first Spanish settlers settled in Mexico and moved up into Norte De California creating vast properties, called Spanish land grants and the suns of rich Spanish noble man left their sons to the new land and they brought their new traditions to what we now see as Western Horsemanship. We call it the early Vacarros of Californios. This is where the tradition of western started. They brought with them their concepts of how to train horses to high level and be able to have a horse that is able to travel across country, have a light rein, be highly responsive, and be able to work cattle.
If you go to Spain today, you will see competitions both done with Vaccaro and Delmel Classico. So as the world divided, we see performance classes for both English and Western, and as we see the German and English influence on how to prepare horses for warfare, there is a slight difference in the Delmel Classico from the Latin to the Anglo styles.
But, all said I think it is important for us to all know where the roots of what we are doing today actually came from. And to end on a good note, the only difference between English and Western done properly is the same difference between a fiddle and violin.
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Pat Parelli, coiner of the term “natural horsemanship”, founded his program based on a foundation of love, language, and leadership. Parelli Natural Horsemanship allows horse owners at all levels of experience to achieve success with their at-home educational program. Together with his wife Linda, Pat has spread PNH across the globe with campuses in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Newly launched in 2011, parelliconnect.com provides an online social forum packed with training tools, step-by-step to do lists, video and more. Log on today for your FREE 30-day trial at www.parelliconnect.com.
This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 9, Issue 5