The Parellis' Opinion on Helmets -- ???? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 09-18-2009, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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The Parellis' Opinion on Helmets -- ????

This summer, a lady named Patti had an unfortunate incident where her green horse spooked during a dismount and she suffered a head injury. While she was in bed recovering, she watched some of, as we call it here on the Fugly blog, RFD (Really Fricking Dumb) Television, and saw plenty of bareheaded riding courtesy of Pat Parelli. Linda was jumping with no helmet, her long blonde hair flying free in the breeze. Then they had an episode where a physically disabled young woman was riding with no helmet despite the fact that it was clear her balance was impaired. Patti saw fit to write a letter to the Parellis pointing out that they should seriously consider adding helmets to their collection of carrot sticks, silly string and whatever else they're selling for $200 these days. Here is the reply - and as I always say, folks, I don't make this stuff up.

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 in accidents with horses.?

FHOTD in: OK, so here's an analogy using that logic: Women get murdered in their own homes also, so it's a fine idea to walk down an alley in the worst part of town at 2 AM by yourself. Go for it.

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 continue to occur and hope that
the helmet, body protector, etc, will protect us from the consequences.

FHOTD in: Seriously, you're not this stupid, right? You can't be.

First of all, you seem to be arguing that ALL horse accidents are caused by bad behavior on the part of the horse. That really MIGHT be the dumbest thing I have ever heard in the horse world. The worst horse accident that happened to a friend of mine this year was due to a loose girth - her exceptionally well trained and well behaved horse did not misbehave at all, yet she wound up with her pelvis broken in several places. Falls happen all the time because of a lack of rider skill/balance, equipment failure, etc.

Another friend of mine just fell off at the standstill…she was attempting a brilliant maneuver where she was going to dismount back onto the mounting block. It failed, she biffed harmlessly into the dirt and I am gonna make fun of her now. " class="wp-smiley">

OK back to topic…Secondly, you seem to be arguing that there is some way to 100% cure bad behavior in a horse so that the horse will never misbehave again and therefore no accident will ever occur. WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? It's a living creature! It is going to have bad days! There is something out there that will scare it and you can NOT do ANY kind of training/desensitization that will 100% prevent that from happening. I've seen a police horse freak out and jump into traffic, and those are as trained as can be not to do that. Or what if the horsehas pain you haven't discovered yet? Back soreness turns many a safe older packer into a bronc, sometimes with very little warning. My readers could tell you stories all day about "bomb proof" horses losing it.

Seriously, whoever wrote this, have you ever worked with an actual horse? I simply cannot believe the idiocy of this paragraph.

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 a helmet to protect
them, they would be better off not riding until their horse is behaving safely.

FHOTD in: OK, you heard it from the Parelli people. If you are not supposed to ride until your horse is "safe," you are going to have a long wait because there is no way in the world to accomplish that! HORSES ARE NOT SAFE. They're a thousand pound animal with a mind of their own. But hey, I guess you can buy zillions of dollars worth of crap in the meantime, while trying to reach this nirvana of training THAT DOES NOT EXIST.


The arrogance here is amazing. WE can train your horse to be so safe you won't need a helmet. Never mind that every Olympic rider, every professional trainer who is at the top of his/her game since time began has failed to find a way to do this - WE can do it. Just buy all of our crap. Jeeeezus. WHO FALLS FOR THIS?

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

FHOTD in: Hey, I admit I do not wear a helmet except to jump - I'm one of those people who hates having a sweaty forehead and chin - but I certainly don't think I'm brave. I think it's dumb and potentially self-destructive, in the same league with putting too much salt on my food, another bad habit I'm often guilty of.

I do believe in freedom of choice for adult riders who are aware of the risks, and I know it will be a cold day in Hell when the western folks turn in their hats for helmets, but regardless of your personal choices, trying to argue that a rider ISN'T safer with a helmet or that somehow good horse training can eliminate the need for any helmet - completely IGNORING the part that rider skill/balance and just plain luck play in how accidents happen - has GOT to be the DUMBEST thing to ever come out of the Parelli camp. This tops the advice to feed carrots to a horse who is trying to bite you and I thought that was bad enough.

We hope this helps,

From the Faculty, Parelli Centers

FHOTD in: Well, it helped me write another blog about you guys!

Poor Patti, if her head didn't hurt already, I bet it did after reading that reply!

Well, I guess they are safer if you never actually get on them! Fugly Horse of the Day

Mods, I think I caught all the swears... please edit if not.

The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography
JustDressageIt is offline  
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post #2 of 24 Old 09-18-2009, 08:59 PM
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Are you kidding me?

"I was eight years old, and I've never forgotten her face when she told me about watching you ride. She told me she saw you, and your horse was dancing in the moonlight."
-- A.C. Crispin's "Sylvester"
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post #3 of 24 Old 09-18-2009, 09:00 PM
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Glad you made a seperate topic, JDI.

I think that email is completely insane. If an adult chooses to ride without a helmet, that is their choice. But to say Parelli trained horses are so well trained and safe, that a helmet is not necessary is just...idiotic.
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post #4 of 24 Old 09-18-2009, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, it is each individual's choice to wear a helmet. I personally encourage everyone to wear helmets, because my own life has been saved by one in the past, but it is your own choice.
Now, being as influential as the Parellis are... what does this message send??

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JustDressageIt is offline  
post #5 of 24 Old 09-18-2009, 10:18 PM
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OK, that was wierd...they don't allow for freak accidents? If your horse falls? If you happen to be a less than perfect rider and loose your balance? Wierd wierd, WIERD!
I'm a western person and I ride with a helmet on trails and starting colts. It's not traditional, it's not cool, but hey, I've got a mortgage, a son, a husband and a job. I can not afford to be vain! I should wear it more often - all adults should, especially to set an example for younger riders!

~Lindsay~ Mom of 2, wife to the goldsmith, doula and childbirth educator in training, life-long horse dork
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post #6 of 24 Old 09-19-2009, 12:30 AM
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Yes, it is ultimately an adult's decision. But to blatantly lead people who don't know any better that without a helmet they are "safer" because they oh so love their horse and don't think he would EVER spook is disgusting. There are plenty of horses I know that hardly ever spook, but it would be naive to trust any horse with your life. All horses react quickly, are fast, and weigh a lot. You can't EVER train that out of them.
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post #7 of 24 Old 09-19-2009, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by roro View Post
Yes, it is ultimately an adult's decision. But to blatantly lead people who don't know any better that without a helmet they are "safer" because they oh so love their horse and don't think he would EVER spook is disgusting. There are plenty of horses I know that hardly ever spook, but it would be naive to trust any horse with your life. All horses react quickly, are fast, and weigh a lot. You can't EVER train that out of them.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

~CoCo 17hh 4 yo OTTB~
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post #8 of 24 Old 09-19-2009, 09:22 AM
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Oh waw, what a piece of work. With some luck a horse will finish her off.

Promoting the beautiful Canadian Horse
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post #9 of 24 Old 09-19-2009, 10:44 AM
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I was about to make a thread on this. I think this is bloody nuts! IMO these natural horse training stuff has really brainwashed a lot of people. Shame on them for actually advocating that people should not wear helmets.
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post #10 of 24 Old 09-19-2009, 10:48 AM
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Wow, the level of arrogance in that is just nauseating. I have always thought that the Parelli's were a bunch of cocky son of a guns but this is just way over the line. Most of my horses are very well behaved and a couple of them I would venture to call "bombproof" but I am still aware that accidents to happen. The idea that you can "train" the spook out of a horse is just stupid. They are prey animals, they are GOING to spook. Riders are GOING to fall. There is no avoiding that, in the words of world champion bull rider Donnie Gay "When working with 1000+ pound animals, it is not a matter of if you get hurt, it is when and how bad." For someone as influential as the Parelli's, that reply is a very dangerous statement.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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