Two years ago Michelle Glover Burstrom wrote a song about horses called “A Horse Never Lies”. It was inspired by her encounter with natural horsemanship, a horse handling method that stresses self-awareness and partnership rather than force. Glover Burstrom, a professional singer who had a song reach #1 on the charts in Italy, recorded her new song and began promoting it. She wanted to help spread the powerful message behind the song, and decided to donate a portion of revenue to the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program.
After months of trying to connect with the top people at Parelli, she sent the song to Dr. Patrick Handley, a psychologist who works with the US-based Parelli team.
“He immediately got it,” she said, regarding the message in the song.
Handley took the song to Linda Parelli and let her listen to it. Then they asked Glover Burstrom if she wanted to sell the song at one of their clinics. She said she only had about 10 CDs left so she told them to sell those ones and give the money to the Parelli Education Institute. It’s the branch of the organization that fundraises to do things for rescue horses and assisting children with disabilities to experience horses.
“Whatever you raise it’s all yours,” Glover Burstrom said.
To her surprise, she got a phone call from Handley who wanted to Skype. She went to her friend’s house and Skyped with Handley and Parelli. She says they turned around the webcam to face an audience of Parelli students. They had sold the CDs over and over again – auctioned them off – and one lady had bought it three times for $300. In all, they had raised $2000.
Parelli told her the money was for her to come down to the annual Summit at their Ranch and to have more CDs made. The September Summit is for Parelli students and professionals and takes place in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The summit includes clinics, horsemanship shows, and friendly competitions.
Handley also asked her to write a second song to do with horse personalities.
This summer Glover Burstrom wrote a second song called “She’s already there,” though she says it veered from Handley’s suggested topic. She says the second song is about putting skills into action with a specific animal – a right-brained extrovert mare.
Linda and Pat Parelli invited Glover Burstrom and friend Devanee Cardinal (a local 3-star Parelli professional) to her house for a private function during the September Summit, where Glover Burstrom got to demo her second song for the first time.
Behind all Glover Burstrom’s horse songs is the Parelli philosophy which focuses on teaching the human rather than training the horse. It was founded in 1981 by horse trainer, rodeo rider, cowboy and teacher Pat Parelli – who was joined by his wife Linda Parelli in 1993.
Pat named his new relationship-based approach “Natural Horsemanship” which is now recognized worldwide as an effective method of horse training.
Glover Burstrom says it’s about being firm, fair and friendly; seeing the horse as a partner not a slave; achieving results with partnership as opposed to brutality.
When she played her new song later for a big crowd at the Summit, it moved many listeners to tears.
A woman came up and said she wanted to finance the recording.
She thinks it resonated with people because many of the Parelli students had been struggling with a similar horse at home and felt guilty about giving up or feeling blocked.
“The song really hit a note in people’s hearts. The emotional impact really surprised me,” she says.
Many people told her they shouldn’t have put off the training, and they’re going to go home and work with that horse now.
The summit also allowed her to sing her first song – A Horse Never Lies – for a crowd of about 1000 people “all really high-level horsemanship people,” Glover Burstrom says. “Rock stars of the horse world.”
“It felt so great, because I knew they got the message.”
She is now working on the recording of her second song and hopes to continue to collaborate with the Parellis.
All songs on iTunes and Amazon under Michelle Glover Burstrom. A percentage of all sales goes to the Parelli program. You can learn more on her website: horseneverlies.com