Thursday, January 29, 2009

(Last Updated 1.31.09 10:00 AM EST) Bad Banana (CONCAVE) VS. Good Banana (CONVEX) Discourse - Comments and Responses CONTINUALLY Added

All conversation has been centered around this post labeled Good Banana OR Bad Banana - ( I have been receiving comments regarding the Parelli saddles and would like to post a response to explain a couple of things for you...

Blue font - Mariah Helms

Black font - Commentors

Green font -Post time/date

Janurary 29, 2009

So basically your saying that one of these saddles will take a horse with crappy conformation and make it look great? I would really like to see actual proof of that. Besides the fact I can get a CUSTOM fit saddle for the same price as what your trying to convince me will make my horse all better.

A lot of normal saddles are restrictive to a horses back, and cause the horse to use his muscles improperly. If a saddle restricts a horses back in any way, the horse resorts to a position that takes away pain. Such as we do when wearing a shoe that doesn't fit right, we walk incorrectly or position our foot incorrectly to avoid the pain the shoe is causing. So, if a saddle is hurting your horses back or restricting it, it will cause the horse to concave their back (bad banana) to avoid the pressure or lack of comfort and use the muscles on their bottom line apposed to their top line. If a horse is ridden in the bad fitting saddle regularly, the horse will develop the wrong muscles because of the avoidance and the muscles he should be using (top line) will become atrophied. So a horses posture can be changed by using a bad fitting saddle. If you put on a good fit, the horse will start to realize that the saddle is not hurting him and will start to use his top line more often... therefore building it back up and changing the way he carries himself. I am not saying this saddle will make your horse 100% better, but will help him on his way to becoming a more athletic horse.

I used to use a restricting saddle (because of ignorance) and my horse always had his head high and his gaits were choppy under saddle, when the saddle was off you could see that his back muscles were not built up as they should be. I purchased a Natural Performer from Parelli, and on the first ride he started to stretch into the saddle and now his muscles are built up and his gaits are a lot smoother... he seems happier under saddle also.

Yes, you can get a custom fit saddle for your horse or you can get a Parelli saddle. The Parelli saddles have been under research for many years and the saddle fits all types of horses. The normal size, is about 7 times wider than an average saddle, it seems it being so wide could cause problems in other areas too. But research has been put in and does not cause discomfort in other areas because the of width. The super wide size, is for wider horses. Parelli knows not all horses backs are the same, and different horses need different muscle development. That is why they made the Parelli Theraflex, a pad made for insertable shims and balancing the weight of the saddle. You apply the shims in the pad to allow the weight of the saddle to be in the proper place to make up for the under-used muscles, to help it grow back therefore creating a fitter horse. I play around with my shims every couple of weeks and see all the changes he is making for the better, and have seen my horse become more uphill and his gaits improve. If you have anymore questions about the saddles, please feel free to email the corporation that has created the saddles themselves and they can tell you anything and everything about them, as I am only a student and have limited knowledge.

I hope this has helped and cleared some things up, thank you for commenting!

6:00 PM (?)

Erin WROTE... Horse's shoulders are not attached to the skeleton by another bone (see anatomy texts) so an ill fitting saddle (too narrow or even simply placed too far forward) can cause the shoulders to be rolled forward, the back to be hollowed to escape from the pain. In this way it is possible for a horse's conformation to change (for better or for worse). It is not necessary to buy a Parelli saddle if you are aware of the elements of proper saddle fit. One of the main points is most people check the saddle when the horse is at rest, but the horse's back is supposed to be able to (NEEDS TO!) come UP when the horse is in movement. So a saddle that seems to fit at rest may be inhibiting the horse's movement in MOTION. For a horse who has developed the inverted posture (it is POSTURE, not necessarily CONFORMATION!), it is possible to rehabilitate this by a non-ridden hillwork routine done for six weeks. Do not ride or saddle during this period. When over, then ensure your saddle fit is addressed. Yes many people have done it and have pics although you didn't share where to send them.

6:30 PM

Everyonethinkstheirgooddrivers WROTE - Hi Mariah,You seem very intelligent and focused. It also looks to me like you can ride a horse. So, I say this in the best meaning way I can: you need to get into a different program. Horse training and teaching riding is not about taking one trainer's theories and using only those. It is about learning under multiple trainers (over long periods of time - like years) and combining the things that you like, the things that work for you and developing your own abilities. All training methods work, they just don't work on all horses. All teaching methods work, but they don't work on all people.In the horse community, those that have trained using books, videos and clinics do not get training/teaching positions. These things are not for people who are really going into the profession of training/teaching. They are there to supposedly help your average horse owner get through stuff. Those that have spent time as an apprentice/working student (years and years), get training/teaching positions. Best of luck to you.

Thank you! I appreciate your concern and your kindness... best of luck to you also.

L.L WROTE - More money making scheming from Parelli and crew.

They have to make money somehow, so why not make the horseworld a better place in the process?

My Vancouver WROTE - Who buys a horse that looks like da** banana in the first place? Thanks for encouraging backyard breeders to keep turning out these fugly animals---now they can just tell the suckers who buy them to spend huge bucks on a Parelli saddle. Thus correcting the fact daddy shoulda been gelded and momma kept faaaaar away from studs.

I am not encouraging anyone to breed ugly horses, but am giving hope to the people who DO have horses with poor conformation. Not every horse in the world can have perfect conformation, but every horse in the world should have the chance of being the best they can be regardless of who their parents are... it should be the same for humans also.

Now, I do not permit rude comments... if you are to rudely comment again, your comment will be disabled. I would love to have a friendly conversation with you, so would others... but we will have to keep the word "friendly" in there!

6:33 PM

Tara Fehr WROTE - Wow, my stomach sunk when I read some of the comments above mine. I just cannot believe how people can be so blind to logic. You are completely right though, so keep it up!! I've got a Thoroughbred off the track right now that had virtually no back or neck topline muscle and, through the Parelli work, he is gradually developing all the necessary musculature for a wonderful posture. It is just so obvious to me how PNH makes so much sense I cannot believe people can be so close-minded about it!! Anyways, good luck!!!

I know! That is great Tara! You will have to email me some before and after pictures sometime! Cheers! Mariah

6:35 PM

Tara Fehr WROTE - Oh, and for those who say that Parelli does not work on all horses, well try it out then. Thus far I have not (and neither has Pat or Linda Parelli) found a horse that did not appreciate natural horsemanship. It's not a method, it's a program based on horse psychology...all horses are horses and us such posses the same instincts and basic psychology. It's not rocket science!

7:08 PM

Minnie68 WROTE - Tara, I know one gelding who has been totally and completely ruined - made UNRIDEABLE due to parelli horsemanship and the guidance of a parelli trainer. Before the owners decided to go with this program, this horse was quiet, responsive and pleasant on the ground and undersaddle. He would load into a trailer without batting an ear and was just an all around nice horse.After 6 months working with a Parelli trainer he was a whole different animal. He was a nervous wreck, would take upwards of 2 hrs to load on the trailer and would sweat and shake like mad while in it. Undersaddle he would act fearful and developed some dangerous behaviours. He is now a 100% pasture horse thanks to being Parelli "trained". I have worked with a few Parelli trained horses, and have yet to find one who shows ANY level of respect for the person working with them. There are MUCH more effective training methods then this that are much LESS dangerous to the horse and rider.

I respect your opinion, but have you done Parelli with this horse? Maybe you aren't showing the horse respect in your body language, therefore they are returning the favor! Just something to think about, once you know horse phsycology you will understand why they are doing things, rather than blaming it on a program.

O & B from AZ WROTE - I wish that the more negative commenters would at least try Parelli before putting it down. I was not for or against Parelli at the beginning of 2008 until I met my new H/J trainer. We purchased a gelding who looked nice enough. He was in show condition but he could've been better. He had a natural amount of muscle atrophy on his back, a sore topline, a bulging amount of muscle on the bottom of his neck with an underdeveloped crest, his chest was narrow and to top if all off, he is 1.5 to 2 inches shorter on his entire left side. When we purchased him he was a horse who was seen as a h/j that would never move beyond schooling level successfully, he would max out at 2'9" and he would always be obviously crooked, he wouldn't do a flying lead change and he would either hollow out his back or 'ball-up' his neck. Basically, we only bought him as a starter horse and knew what we were getting into.A few months later, after buying in to as much Parelli as we felt safe, we have seen much improvement. We now own a Theraflex pad which opens up his shoulders, giving him more scope (so much that there is sometimes talk of a mini prix future), freedom, and making him carry his head straight. We use the Natural Balance shoeing which has totally changed his canter and jumping style (for the better of course!) and he occasionally gets to play Parelli games with either me or my trainer. We've tried the saddles but they felt too wide for me so we just use a regular close contact wide tree now. We also swapped out his bit for a rubber one to help out with the Parelli things we were doing. All in all, I've seen what wonderful things Parelli can do for horses and people. Many horses at my barn have tried Parelli and for all of them there have been only pros and no cons. All of the horses are in full time H/J training but receive the Parelli training on the side regularly. I hope that everyone who disagrees with Parelli tries it before they feel the need to insult it. The best of luck to you, your horses, and your future Parelli career Mariah!


January 30, 2009 - 8:00 AM

Tara Fehr WROTE - Minny68, as O and B from AZ pointed out, try the method out before criticising it. I've seen a lot of ruined horses in my lifetime too and fortunately for Parelli (and ONLY for Parelli) I was able to turn these proclaimed "untrainable" horses into exceptional partners.Rather than judging a method based on random individuals who claim they are within the program, spectate at a clinic or check out Pat and Linda on tour. The horse you describe is NOT the type of partnership Linda nor Pat would strive for in their students.Please just open your mind and check out the professionals out there rather than the few (who exist within any aspect of our industry) who give any horse owner/trainer/handler a bad name, regardless of the "training method". Thanks, take care!!

Well said! We all need to continue to kill them with kindness, instead of the badgering negativity and foul language they throw at us... they are showing a lack of emotional fitness and respect for other horse owners.

Horseowner WROTE - I'm sorry you have to read so many negative comments. Your post was linked on FHOTD, a cult like web page for kids/teens that pokes fun at others. I initially read the page but it has turned into a hate fest. I don't follow Parelli either, but that doesn't mean I have to be insulting. To each his own. I watched your videos and it is clear you have a good relationship with your horse, and some of the haters could only wish for a horse so well trained.I don't follow any formula for training, but do use the concept of feel from the Dorrance brothers, which I believe Pat initially started his program with. I remember when he just had a book years ago. But if it works for you, great...I think the tone of your blog is positive and just wanted you to know.

I knew the comments sounded like that group! Well, it's great they are learning some from my blog, and I hope they continue to view and stay open minded about their horsemanship. Thank you for the positive comments! It is VERY appreciated!

2bayponies WROTE -Wow. Ever hear the expression one bad banana spoils the whole bunch? There are good trainers that use PNH methods as well as bad. Unfortunately everyone seems to know or know of a bad one, that doesn't make the whole program bad folks. Man I used to like the fhotd blog but it sickens me to see how many people read her blog and than run out and flame some innocent bystander who is just as entitled to her own opinions as anyone else is. It's really just mean spirited.. Sad.

I used to also follow them, since I learned so much... but the attitude was always negative and digressing. You can never learn in an environment that is not positive, progressive and natural... that is why I stick to the Savvy Club Forum, I learn just as much there.

Anonymous WROTE - I agree that a poorly fitting saddle can restrict a horse's movement and even cause it pain. Never having tried Parelli myself, I can't say whether their saddle fits every horse beautifully or not. I can, however, say that I am currently using a conventional saddle that fits and have achieved a, as you put it, "good banana horse". This saddle only cost $500 (used), as opposed to the $4000 Parelli saddle. It is therefore my PERSONAL OPINION that it is not conventional saddles that cause "bad banana horses" but badly fitting saddles - conversely, it is not necessarily Parelli saddles that cause "good banana horses", but simply having a saddle that fits properly.

I totally agree with your hypothesis, there are a lot of GOOD saddles out there... that are right for your horse. I personally just wanted to get a Parelli saddle since I am pursuing it as a profession. I have heard some Wintecs are very good saddles, and also the natural balance saddles are great too. Thank you for that observation!

Jenny N' Sonny WROTE - Mariah, GREAT comments back to those "not so friendly" comments. You are truly a great horseman and I wish you, Sundance, and all of your partners the best of luck! I completely enjoy reading your blog and maybe (hopefully) I'll be half as good as you someday!Keep up the great work!!!~Jenny (SonnyWimps)

THANK YOU! I am sure you will be just as good as me, and better if you keep up the good work!

Thebundychick WROTE - Its funny to read that most of the people who criticize Parelli, do it from second hand information and have never actually studied the program themselves.Although i don't have a Parelli saddle, I use the theraflex pad & shim system, as well as follow the guidelines for keeping the saddle well behind the scapula.The topline on my horse has changed like you wouldn't believe! All of a sudden he can move freely, he is a lot happier to be moving forward - a LOT happier to be ridden - and an all round happier horse.

Well said.

9:02 AM

Lucy WROTE - Hi Mariah,You've proven to be in control of your emotional fitness and respond to these comments in a calm, controlled and informative manner. It must be a tough situation for you to have your beliefs scrutinized but don't let it get you down for one second, girl! Sending big Savvy hugs your way. Lucy xo

Thank you very much Lucy! I actually find this to be very intertaining, informative and is helping me become the best ME I can BE... I love learning from these situations. Hugs back to you, from half way across the world!

- THANK YOU TO ALL THE NEW BLOG FOLLOWERS and my Parelli Family that has been stepping in and supporting me -

10:19 PM

Roland Millington WROTE -Well, I figured I may as well throw my two cents in the ring as well. While I think any vehicle that enhances the experience of a horse and a rider is wonderful, I have to say the saddles that I have seen here and at Parelli expos I have attended just plain lack quality. The skirts roll, as opposed to having a nice, quality, rounded leather look to them, they were 5-stitch per inch stitching, which while common on a 600-1000 saddle, should be considered shameful on a saddle costing 4 times that much or more. And while a properly built saddle will indeed help your horse be comfortable and perform better, what I saw of the Parelli saddles, the Ralide trees (which I question, frankly, as I would much rather have a bull-hide wrapped tree), the spotty quality of the leather, stitching, etc., just make me seriously wonder that if I was going to pay 4-5 grand for a saddle, why I would go for a poorly built saddle, with sub-standard materials, when I could as easily afford a custom made saddle by other reputable saddle makers? The one I saw was 4 grand, and I wouldn't pay $400 for it. As for curing conformational faults that are bred into a horse, I'm sorry. That's laughable. Bone is bone, poorly attached muscle is poorly attached muscle. No saddle will make his withers grow, or his low-tied neck suddenly reposition itself to where it should tie into his chest, or his sickle-hocked legs suddenly develop this amazing look. Long pasterns will not shorten with a better saddle. And only exercise will get rid of a hay belly on a horse.I applaud you in your desire to make the world a better place for a horse, however, if I'm spending that kind of money on a saddle, the maker's name on it will be Jerry Shaw, not Pat Parelli.

Januray 31, 2009 9:30 AM

Hello Roland! Thank you for commenting. I somewhat understand your point of view. I actually HAVE a Parelli saddle and have had it about a year now. The quality of this saddle is EXCEPTIONAL and the tooling is beautiful, my horses have enjoyed this saddle and so have I. My horses are in much better shape, and I actually have improved my riding. As with any good fitting saddle, it will hold the same results. As to changing conformation, you CANNOT change the horses skeletal system, but you can help a horse CARRY himself differently and improve the way he uses his muscles. If you put any animal on a health program they WILL improve to a certian degree, even if their mother and their father were fugly horses. Just like people, if your parents were ugly of COURSE your not going to look like a model. BUT if you healthy that person up, help them carry themselves correctly, keep them hygenic and treat them the way they should a person will improve... any animal will improve with the right treatment, does that mean it will change their bone structure? Or the fact their parents were fugly? No, but they will improve.

Anonymous WROTE - I watched clinics by Parelli trainers (as well as watched videos of Pat) and found them to be boring. And if they are so horribly boring for me I can bet you on anything they'll be twice more boring for my horse. But if Parelli works for someone - that's great. What run me nuts though is the fact that lots of "parelli" people think Parelli methods is the only way to go and everyone else using different methods is an idiot, abusive, you name it. I've heard it just so many times....BTW, neither saddle, pads, etc. can fix a bad confirmation (I'm not talking about lack of muscles or bad trim here, but the true issues). However certain saddles/pads fit certain horses better and it's a way to go - find one, which actually FIT the horse. It does NOT necessarily costs $$$$ of money.

Some clinics can be boring if you do not understand what they are doing, a Level 1 clinic compared to a Level 3 or 4 clinic has a dramatic difference... but watching some modern dressage horses doing flatwork with their head crunched into their chest and mouth strapped shut with no relief isn't the easiest to watch either. As to the Parelli saddle conversation, please read the above response to Roland. Thank you!

CaitstClair WROTE - While Parelli doesn't work for me, I understand that it works well for other people/horses. That being said, I think what people take offense to is the insinuation that it is the ONLY correct way to work with EVERY horse and human. The same goes for the saddle. To say that this saddle will fit EVERY horse perfectly is ridiculous. Kudos to you, Mariah for keeping a level head. You seem very knowledgable and I have no doubt you will go far. I still read FHOTD (which is how I found this blog) but agree the followers can be mindless and hurtfull. Hopefully that will change. As an aside, there is a difference between making a living off of horses and what many NH big name trainers are doing. As to FHOTD being a cult? There are some, yes. For a Parelli person to call them out on it? Pot, meet Kettle. Both groups have cultish as well as sane followers.

I personally do not think that Parelli is the ONLY way you can be with a horse, there are a bunch of horse owners that are happy with their relationship with their horses that do not follow the program... I just personally decided to take this path because I feel it is the path for us. I agree with you on the cult hypothesis, we both have our pros and cons. Thank you for the kind words, I apprecaite the friendly and constructive conversations... those types of conversations are the kind conversations you can learn from. Rather than foul and offensive comments, you can leave constructive critisism where we all can learn from your point, and mine. Thank you!

Renee WROTE - Good job Mariah! You are wonderful example and inspiration to us all. Fugly is nothing more than a bully with a megaphone, so don't let her or her followers get to us. Only your horse can tell you want's right.

Thanks Gal! Great to see your here. XO

Horspoor WROTE - Mariah, you seem to be doing well. My only concern is a saddle is not going to fix a horse with poor conformation. Correct saddle fit, and riding can help a weak topline. By riding correctly, teaching the horse to work from behind and 'carry' himself you can develop the topline. I would suggest keeping an open mind. Look at other trainers, and programs. There is no one fix fits all. You and your friend may both wear size 5 pants, they however may not fit you the same. Different styles are more flattering to different people, just like different techniques work better on some horses than others.

Thank you, I agree with your argument... please read the above response to Roland.

Skylla WROTE - Oh Mariah, My heart aches for you.. I know what you're trying to do with your blog and these immature and awful people come on here and ruin your good intentions... Sweetie... please keep your chin up.. we love you and support you and you're brilliant..and for all you NEGATIVE people.. Mariah is not saying that you must buy a Parelli saddle to magically fix your horse.. but that there are studies that show how to help correct a painful saddle fit.. regardless of the saddle type. Yes, Parelli saddles are designed to alleviate this problem.. but with proper knowledge and tools.. any saddle within reason can be made to work.. albeit maybe not as well.. but workable.. so get off this poor girls back for trying to help people help their horses.. didn't any of you learn from your parents.. "if you can't say anything nice.. don't say anything at all.. "

No comment needed, your brilliant! XO

Sjgwin WROTE - Kudos to you for your polite responses to those who are criticizing you! The best way to turn away anger!As someone who found Parelli when I was first getting into horses, really liked the easy learning style and then researched other trainers and their styles, I would encourage you to seek information from as many sources as you can. It will make you a better, more well rounded trainer, no matter the professional course you seek.Even Pat Parelli learned from many different people in the course of his life. It never hurts to have as many tools in your toolbox as you can! We have worked with many different horses from wild Mustangs fresh off the range, to well broke grade and registered horses. We have found Parelli methods to work very well with some and not so well with others. Sometimes other trainers methods work better with a particular horse and a particular problem. We have seen good trainers and bad trainers at all levels and methods. The bottom line is to seek knowledge and keep learning. More knowledge never hurt anyone or any horse- the implementation of that knowledge can but that is where wisdom and common sense come into play- You have many years ahead of you...Keep an open mind! Good luck in your endeavors!

Thank you! Great advice, and great story... thank you for sharing! XO

Alaina WROTE - Hey Mariah! I'm currently studying Parelli as well and felt that I had to post. While I really appreciate the Parelli program and understand their need for marketing products, they're saddle is NOT good for the horse. They're recommendation of "slide the [non-parelli] saddle back a bit" puts the saddle on a part of the horse's spine that is NOT designed to carry weight as it is a weaker part of the horse's back.If you want a performance saddle (English or Western), custom made that addresses a horse's left/right side asymmetries, then I would look up DK Saddlery - . Danny's saddles are everything that the Parelli saddle is not. Multiple countries have him outfit their Olympic riders and he openly challenges any performance or competing rider to see if they can't get better responsiveness using his saddles. While I know Parelli works with some of the US Olympic riders, I know for a fact they are not riding in Parelli's saddles! In fact, there are even some Parelli licensed professionals currently using Danny's saddle over Parelli's! In addition, Danny teams up to perform studies with Veterinary Universities to actually do scientific studies on how saddle fit affects horse's movements. The sad thing about Parelli is that they are so focused on marketing and putting their label on something to sell it (overpriced) they aren't reaching out to experts in saddle fit or natural hoof care (i.e.: Pete Ramey).The funny thing is that right now I can't afford one of Danny's saddles. I'm riding in an inexpensive Wintec which fits my horse perfectly and will upgrade once I have the money to do so. The The amazing part was looking at all these saddles in the 1000-1500 price range that didn't fit my horse as well as the $400 Wintec. Amazing. I was willing to spend up to $1500 on a saddle and the $400 one does the best job fit-wise for the budget I currently have for saddles.When it comes to spending $4,000 on a saddle, please don't think Parelli has the answers. And if you get the chance to go to Horse Expos look up Danny. You won't be disappointed (unless, like me, you can't afford one of his saddles right now!).Take care!

Hello Alaina, I agree with you to a certain extent. Parelli can't be the BEST SADDLE IN THE WORLD, but it sure is darn close. I disagree on the point that Parelli just puts their label on anything to sell it, Parelli does extensive research and tests their products on their horses before selling it to anyone else. Pat and Linda Parelli has their best in mind when it comes to supporting their students. Thank you! Take care of yourself also!

Jo WROTE - Your emotional fitness blows my socks off :D you're gonna make a brilliant instructor !! Jo x

Thanks Jojo! I hope so too! XO

Princess Finger WROTE - Hey Mariah! It's great to see so many savvy people coming to your defense on this one! Not being in the position to purchase a fluidity saddle, we have taken the knowledge and applied it to our saddling habits as a ritual. Several good points have been brought up on both sides of the fence here. No, no saddle will "fix" bad conformation, but proper saddle fitting will certainly encourage any horse to use their entire body properly and not just the muscles and skeletal areas not being pinched, pained, and discomforted by ill fitting saddles. Kudos for mentioning the hill therapy as well! If we ever get through this deep freeze here in NEPA, we'll be starting it to get the kids back into working condition.As for the fhotd blog, well, I do check it daily, and Cathy has brought to light some important issues within the horse industry. Granted, I don't like her attitude towards Parelli, but I keep in mind, where knowledge ends, ignorance begins.....Brandi and Dream~ LBI~ official Level 1 by Jesse Peters 09/27/08Mariah and Abbie~ RBI~ playing in level 1

I am very happy with my savvy family that has stepped in, I am graced by their support and very thankful! Thank you for your observtion also!

To those of you that follow my blog and support me, I would like all of you to know that in total I have had OVER 25,000 visitors! I have also been featured by Parelli in all the Celebration handouts, at the Parelli Celebrations... one whole page! Thank you all for your support!

9:57 PM

Extravert WROTE - Hi Mariah, Extravert here.... well done for such a considered and calm response to some very negative posts. I wanted to add something here. I have been studying parelli for 9 years and have achieved enormous amounts that I would NOT have achieved if I had not sought out this program. But I also discovered that there are astonishing horsemen and women out there who have never picked up a carrot stick and have a true deep connection with their horses and their students, and I have found that you kind find visions of such partnership between humans and horses in the most ordinary of places and not just a parelli arena (although you'll find them there more often). The parelli program has opened my eyes not only to what is new and exciting about NH but also to what is already out there and always has been out there in the most usual places. Saddles are a tricky subject and without being difficult I think you'll find that it was 'balance' saddles that conducted some 15 - 20 years of research which Linda connected with and took on to her own saddling range. I have tried lots of different saddles on my horse -from super expensive balance saddles and custom made close contact saddles to western treed, western treeless and standard english bates GP. My horse goes best in an inexpensive treeless GP saddle. I think Linda and balance team (together and separately) have done so much good for the saddling industry in helping people understand that horse need room to move and atrophy is not 'normal' but saddle fit is as individual as bra fit is for us ladies! (o; keep doing what youre doing and keep an open mind and you'll go very far and do wonders for people and horses.

You are very savvy girl, didn't know you'd been doing it that long! I totally agree with every comment you have stated, well said. XO

Frozen Pony WROTE - You are a GREAT example of emotional fitness! We could all learn a lot from you.


Kelsay WROTE - Just imagine... if Mariah has this much patience for people, how FANTASTIC she is with her horses! You Go Girl!!!

Please remind me the next time I see you to give you one of my signature Mariah hugs, you so deserve one. XO

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow in NC

We finally got some snow, we usually only get 1 day in January for snow and have not had this much in a long time! 5 inches as of 8 AM and still coming strong, no school today!

The Barn...


The Arena...


The Shed... (Where the ponies are munching.)


The Gazebo by the Arena...


Snowy Hay in front of Barn...


Breeze and Sundance munching hay under shed...


Sundance playing peekaboo...


Taco inspecting the camera...




The Pasture...


Snowy shed...


Peekaboo, I see you!...


Here's a video, Bebe made it special for us... he made it clear his teeth were white and clean and deserved some attention from the camera, not a shy guy, eh?

His teeth really are white! His canines are coming in, he has half of a lower on his left jaw, very cute to look at... it's like seeing a little kid without teeth and half a one growing in!

Have an awesome week, and keep it savvy for me!


Mariah, Breeze, Sundance, Taco, Bebe, Starsky & Doc

Monday, January 19, 2009

Where am I?


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. - Proverbs 3:5-6

Where am I? In stage 7 & 8! I just checked off all the tasks on stage 5 and all but one on stage 6. The last task I have not done before but I know I can do it, so I will test when I go out today to make sure. So, I have Stage 7, 8 & 9 left and have about 6 months to finish them in order to get my green string before October. I will be assessing my online, liberty and freestyle as soon as the auditions are out and then as soon as I am done with finesse, I will assess that also. So I am pretty excited, I really hope it works out and I get accepted in to the FL Celebration Savvy Spotlight. Oh, the SAVVY Kids made it into the TN Celebration Savvy Spotlight! I am very excited about it, I will not be there... because of current financial situations but hope they do really well. I am sure they will, I can't wait to see the video. You can find them at

Please keep rooting, sending positive thoughts and prayers my way... it's not easy doing this alone but I am sure if I give it all I have, I can do this.

Thank you!

All my love,

Mariah Helms

Friday, January 9, 2009

Comment Responses Conversation

JO said...

I loved the mounting from behind! I spent literally the WHOLE summer trying to do that, and could only manage if I did it from a tyre...
so well done, !!!
Jo xx

Thanks Jo! I know I wouldn't have been able to do that before, because I have been going to the gym and working out the past couple of months! Got to get those leg muscles strong, it gave me those extra couple of inches I needed. I bet you could do it if you built up more muscle, it worked for me! Thanks!

NICOLE said...
Hey Mariah!
I really like your new video. :) :) :)
How did you learn to mount like that? :-O
Great job the the barrel jumping! My horse is getting more confident with jumping, but I think it will be a while before he can jump that high. :P
About the ears- I am at level 3-4 and my horse (LBE) is exactly like that lots of times. And he will have his ears like that at liberty lots of times, even when we play in big pastures when he will stay with me and do stick to me and circling without wanting to leave, so it couldn't be because he doesn't want to be with me...
He especially does this on figure 8's :/ Even when he is doing them at liberty. One way I have found that gets him to put them forward on the figure 8 is asking him to canter on a small figure 8 with a shorter lead rope (8ft) lol I have not asked him to do that much, and he doesn't get it perfect, but he tries (he is a pretty coordinated horse). His ears usually go up when I ask him to do that, so maybe he was just bored with normal figure 8's...
Another thing on figure 8's- sometimes I use my stick to much and accidently use higher phases to direct him when he would have listened if I just pointed with my finger. That is one thing that makes him put his ears back.
For my horse, backing him up does not seem to work for getting his ears forward and "Wipe that Look off your face!" REALLY doesn't work at all. I don't know if this kind of ear pinning should be treated like dominance. I think it is more like the horse is saying he is either bored or there is too much pressure. With my horse, if I treat it like dominance, his attitude gets worse.
I have also noticed that when I play outside of the arena or in a pasture I with lots of trees and uneven ground, he usually will not have any problem with ears. :)
I sent a question to about it a while ago and they said that it sounds more like he was putting his ears back because I am asking him to do something he already knows how to do and he is a little bored. They said that I should just not pay too much attention to it and try to get more interesting, and eventually he will stop putting them back.
I have been working on playing less in the arena and when I do play in the arena, to ask for more challenging things, reward for a good attitude, teach lots of new things, and when he does something with his ears forward and a great expression to always move on to something else. :) That has been helping.
Thanks for posting the video, I really enjoyed watching it. :)
Let me know what works for you and your horse :)
I love LB horses, mine is sure teaching me a lot! :P

I saw Amy Book mount like that, and just decided to try one day! I am sure it helps being 5' 11" too! ;) Thank you for the comment, I have used a lot of these and have had success. I also started a thread on this topic on the Savvy Club, maybe if you check that out it will help you too! Yes, LB horses really make you think! I love it too.

LUCY  said...
Hi Mariah,
Thanks for the video update, I really enjoyed watching it.
I think the beginnings of the Spanish walk was my favourite bit, in future I hope you can get a clearer film of it.
It must be mild in NC if you can play out in a t-shirt, lucky! :)

Great! Yes, it was getting quite dark when I filmed it! I hopefully will get a new one up soon. The weather changes as much as my mares mood does, a lot!  69 degrees (Fahrenheit) one day, 20 degrees the other... that's NC for you!

LISA R said...
Hey Mariah!
Loved your new video! Is is very inspirational! You are quite athletic to mount like that! Loved the spanish walk too! Hopefully I'll be able to get to one of your play days when you have one! I'm not too far!

Thank you Lisa! We are having a play day soon in the spring, maybe the beginning/mid of February... if you'll give me your email address, I send a notification to the members and you will hear a long with them.

Thank you everyone, I enjoyed talking to you! Hope to have more conversations like this in the future.



Thursday, January 1, 2009

Lakeland, FL Celebration Savvy Spotlight Application

Here is what I submitted in email: (I also submitted my form, but it's got some information I am not going to share.)t

Hello Parelli,>> This is Mariah Helms, I am 17 years old and an un-official Level 3 graduate. I started Level 3 in June of 2008 and am almost ready to audit and get my green string as of December 2008. I have not > participated in any clinics and have only had 2 private lessons from > a Professional in my journey, I also am a backyard student... > learning by myself. I plan on becoming a professional as soon as Pat > says I am ready and will be down to the courses in Florida as soon > as I am old enough. I count myself as a super student, because > Parelli is my life and I study and play with my super horses 2+ > hours daily. I hope and pray that I will someday become someone who > can teach and help other people live their dreams, such as I do, as > a Parelli Professional.>> I believe applying for the Savvy Spotlight and being passively > persistent in the proper position will help me get out there, and > maybe someone will recognize the potential I may have. I appreciate > very much the opportunity you all having given us students (the > future of Parelli), I do believe the Savvy Spotlight is another > great step-up for the program that will change the lives of horse > lovers everywhere, and will better the chance of the program > thriving in the future.

Here is their response:t

Dear Spotlight Applicant, We received your application successfully. We will contact you with the final decision between Sep 21st and Sep 25th, 2009. Thank you for your patience. Best regards and Happy New Year! Operations ManagerParelli Natural Horsemanship (Inc)

I am very excited, I replied and asked if I needed to submit a video closer to the celebration... so we'll see what we have to do.

Keep on praying please, and sending good thoughts... it is very appreciated!

Much Love!