Friday, January 21, 2011

Parelli Parade of Preposterousness

 I found this hanging at the barn the other day, and wanted to share. Now I don't know about all of you. I have never had many opinions on Pat Parelli or his methods. Since meeting and attending dressage great Walter Zettl's clinic's a couple of summers ago--as he was on tour with them--I tended to be more of a fan than not, and do still believe some of the things Pat teaches regarding the horse work. But, heck folks, let's be realistic, once you learn what he is doing I, YES ME, could teach you some of those things. It's the way of horses, and heck just sit on a fence post and watch them, and you will figure out quite a bit. He's a showman, and people want a quick fix. An "Ooh" and an "Ahhh". An, "Oh, I wish I could do that with my Stormy, or my Beau!" I am not saying that his methods don't work very well for the dedicated person training in this way. BUT, this little bit I'm about to share with you has un-Parelli'ed me.

This was found on an equestrian forum by an Austrian dressage instructor at my barn:

I am sending this to a couple of different groups as I feel it is important to get the word out to potential Parelli followers. As many of you know, I am currently recovering from a brain injury from a fall from a horse this summer. This was a green horse, but he spooked while I was getting off, something ANY horse could do, and the odds of a serious accident on a horse finally caught up with me. One thing I have noticed is an ad for Pat and Linda Parelli jumping a horse bareback with no helmet. Also, while I was bedridden, I watched a couple of Pat Parelli's episodes, and he had a young person who was physically disabled riding without a helmet, and it was obvious her balance was not good. I sent a letter to the Parelli's asking them to please advocate the use of helmets. This is their reply, which I think is totally STUPID coming from professionals.

~Patti from W.Va

The Parelli Faculty's Response:

Hi Patti,

Thank you for taking the time to write us. We understand your views and concerns. As quoted by the faculty at our ranch:

You are quite right--helmets are fabulous things, and they save many lives. Tragically though, people who ARE wearing helmets also die or suffer serious head injuries with horses.

Our program is intended to address the safety problem at its root--which is behavioral--rather than address the symptoms of it. Our message is about developing the relationship with the horse, and the savvy level of the rider, so that unsafe behavior is addressed long before the rider gets on the horse--rather than allowing the unsafe situations to occur and hope that the helmet, body protector, etc. will protect us from the consequences.

The reason you do not see our people wearing helmets is because we try to teach people that rather than be brave because they are wearing a helmet to protect them, they would be better off not riding until their horse is behaving safely.       

People have called us brave for not wearing helmets, but we say they are a lot braver than we are. We could not get on their horse until we have addressed the issues that cause it to behave in unsafe ways.

We hope this helps,
From the Faculty,
Parelli Centers

In July 2009 The Parelli Savvy Club put out some information on Linda taking a FALL....oh my. A 'misbehaved' horse?!

"Linda was cantering her horse Remmer in a field when he tripped and stumbled approximately twenty feet trying to regain his balance. At the end, he pitched on his nose. Linda was KNOCKED OUT for a few minutes, and under his feet when he tried to get up. She is recovering well at home and has four broken ribs."

I'm willing to wager a head injury too, if she was knocked out for several minutes....uh duh? But, no, that won't be mentioned.

For real? Do I need to expound on this insanity? A well-behaved horse is a very desired and necessary thing. So is a helmet in many (and in my honest opinion, all) instances. Let's see. I've been riding since I was six, and am bringing up my green horse to be a jumper. Last week I went off when he popped a jump set at 2'9 at about 4 feet. I guess my horse is misbehaved, and I'm a bad rider. MY GAWD, I HAVE NO SAVVY!!! I do know one thing. Even if either one of those things is true, my GPA helmet saved my lil' butt. And the butts of more than a couple of friends. Working in a hospital on the pediatric side I have seen more than my share of head injuries in children due to falls and horse accidents, and sadly, heard of some deaths too. Perhaps the U.S.Eventing and Showjumping Teams should stop wearing helmets as well. I mean, they are only jumping giant objects that make my mouth drop open in wonder! I went down to the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, (the USET winter practice grounds) and those jumps will amaze, astound, and yes, frighten the HELL out of you up close. But again, if their horses were trained correctly.....
I have it! We should all train our cars correctly, and stop wearing seat belts! I am SO smart! To me, that is EXACTLY what that reply said. So my Parelli disgust is largely, (OK, completely) due to that PREPOSTEROUS reply!

Meanwhile--My Parelli video is for sale. 'The Seven Games of Parelli Natural Horsemanship' Twenty bucks is the going rate plus s&h of oh...3 bucks? Email me at with the moniker 'Parelli' if you want it.

ZE new helmet... When you fall you have to have something to show for it!! ;) Supposed to be the 'safest' you can really get without going titanium, which I so can't afford! I also picked up a Tipperary Sportage in cocoa brown for my trailriding. Yeah, my shoulder hurt so bad the following day, I felt I needed two new helmets! :) (Really, just birthday presents to me-self!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Suwanee River Challenge~ACTHA Ride

Live Oak, Florida

I LOVE this mural!
My friend Brian tells me I am "Brokeback Hilton" camping!

Our horses stalls were about 250 feet from our campsite! :)

Part of the campgrounds....

And what fun is camping without dogs? This is Harley at 10 months..

And Amber (3 months) totally crashed in the bathroom!

Cast of characters from left to right: Kasi on Cash, moi on Jackson, Susie on Dakota, Rick on Monster, Kathy on Elmo. : Not pictured: Babette on Cutter, Suzanne on Kaluha, and Quinn on Tequila

Our first American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) ride ever! I decided not to compete, just to "ride" and have Jax and I both get some learning in! He was SO great!!!

Rick and The Monster -- a.k.a. 'Mr. Ed!'
We rocked our emergency dismount at a trot, good deal!

Susie having FUN!

Kathy my Barn Owner.... lookin' good on Elmo!

We are BOTH looking and thinking about this one!

The approach...

Reach for it, REAACHH for it...

Got it! Right before Jackson wheeled around into a major 360! I never lost the hat though, and even got some applause!

Suzanne nails it in under a minute!! :)

THE TARP with a sprinkler spraying across it... Some had to walk across...

...And some of us had a steady Eddy like Cash to walk us across! Good BOY Jackson!

Great scenery, eh? The river is RED from the tannic acid in the the trees! It's so beautiful and odd... 
Great pic of Kathy and Elmo!


Awww! Love this pic of Jax!

Kathy my Barn Owner (and schlepper of Jax and I to awesome rides, and shows! THANKS! :)

Kasi and Cash
High Point Winners!

Babette and Cutter
2nd Place Winners!
YES, our group rocked it!

Susi & Dakota making the hill look like cake!

Believe it or not, I'm deep in thought about something here, Lord knows just WHAT! Yes, I promise I'm not about to cry! :)

Rick (Kathy the barn owner's hubby!) and I contemplating cantering the trail-- then all eight of us in our group did! ;)

Cutest pic from the entire weekend!


Kasi and Cash took the OVERALL Champion for BOTH days! --Deserved!!!-- The first pic is just a little part of her leg, that is how far down she had to reach off his hugeness!