From a recent visit to an online equestrian forum:

I am sending this to a couple 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 Parelli and Linda is jumping a horse bareback and no helmet. Also while I was bedridden I watch a couple of his episodes and he had a 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 Parellis asking them to please advocate the use of helmets. This is their reply, which I think is totally STUPID coming from professionals.

Patti – w.wa


Does this look like a good idea to you?


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 in accidents 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 continue 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 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 would not get on their horse until we had addressed the issues that cause it to behave in unsafe ways.

We hope this helps,

From the Faculty, Parelli Centers

As a fascinating conclusion to this insanity, a post about Linda Parelli’s recent fall.

People respect this man’s organization enough to send them a great deal of their hard-earned cash. I understand that there is a lot to be learned from any trainer, especially one so accomplished as Pat Parelli. Yet I hoped that he would feel the responsibility incumbent upon him by virtue of all those faithful adherents and send out a message in support of safety and security. Doesn’t Parelli Natural Horsemanship have lawyers?

Given the recent outpouring of support Courtney King-Dye ( after her training fall, it would behoove the Parelli camp to change their strategy, and fast.

My original blogpost,, has some really interesting comments form some very thoughtful people. If you have the time and inclination, take a look.

For more information on the SUCCEED Courtney King-Dye Fund and Riders 4 Helmets July 10 National Helmet Awareness Day, please check the following links:



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Comment by 4XChestnut on July 14, 2010 at 11:38pm
So, what Parelli is saying is that anyone who wears a helmet is riding an unsafe horse...

"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."

Comment by Kimberly Cox Carneal on July 8, 2010 at 2:03pm
I agree with you 100%. It's not a matter of how well you train your horse or the degree of trust you have between you. The fact is that horses are animals with reactions like all of us, and they will react. With us on top. We come off. Plain and simple.
Comment by Geoffrey Pannell on July 8, 2010 at 6:15am
Well written Courtney, I don't care how well these people THINK they can make their horses SAFE before they get on ,they are just an accident waiting to happen. I've been riding horses more than 40 years and I have to say I do have the odd fall from them every now and then. Always have a helmet on!!! No matter how good you THINK you might be , stuff happens that can put you on your bum.
I know I've had some whopping falls over the years, bustard some bones but , touch wood, never had a brain injury ( some say you have to have a brain to injure it, that's why I've gotten away with it for so many years! ) I remember my old dad said to me when I was about 10 " If your going to ride em, your going to fall off em" .

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