Monday, July 5, 2010

Never Ending Self-Improvement - Just add 1 gallon of EFFORT, and watch it grow.

With the persistent practice of the Parelli Program, an uncontrollable urge grows inside you. An urge of passion and love, a fire that cannot be extinguished.

Let me explain further... ;-)

It is NOT the physical passion, love and fire that humans so well express... but I believe it may be just as exciting and rewarding or even more so.

This urge, is the need to improve ones-self. For the sake of ones-self, and the sake of the humans and horses surrounding yourself. When you begin to dip your toes into this program, it grows... starts externally, but like a cold chill, makes its way internally. That's when it starts! You realize that you, really don't know that much... contrary to your prior belief.

Are you familiar with this saying... "You don't know how much you don't know, until you know it?" Well, the more I know, the more I find I don't know, the more I do want to know. And I KNOW I will never know it all, and it will take more than a life-time to know it all... I don't think I'll have more than a life-time to learn all I want, but I'll sure darn try my hardest.

In effort to know everything... ;-) , I am attending Parelli University in the fall of 2010 and Winter of 2011. In preparation of my quest to know everything, I am reading a long list of books that Pat Parelli has recommended himself. Now, I do honestly truly love books, but I will not read it if it does not catch my fancy. Thank goodness, Mr. Parelli, has an eccentric yet marvelous taste when it comes to educating one's self via paper and ink. I have thoroughly enjoyed diving into these books, and soaking up all the information served on my plate. The feeling of knowing you are doing everything you can to better yourself, and therefore bettering other horses and humans, is very fulfilling. (Let alone helpful!)

I would like to share with you a couple of tid-bits, in effort to inspire you to take the challenging yet rewarding path of "Never Ending Self-Improvement". A book that I personally, and believe Pat would also HIGHLY recommend himself, is "Natural Horse.Man.Ship" by... Pat Parelli (of course!) This book blasts of Pat Parelli's own personality and his own beautiful thought patterns, his way of thinking will throw you off track at first if you do not know him. But through this unique way of putting things into perspective, he has changed the world. My friend and fellow Parelli student, picked up this book for the first time and randomly explained, "This man is crazy! If I knew nothing of him, I would deem him nuts!" Yes, he does have wonderful ways of explaining such a simple task, and can colorfully inject the importance of his point in a way that you will hardly ever find hard to forget.

This book contains so much information on the common sense and simplicity of the horse. He explains the complex, and molds it into something simple. Is this journey simple? By all means NO! Understanding the tasks, the concepts, then doing the tasks and applying the concept is what we are all striving to do, year after year. Yet he lays them out, simply. As simple as night and day, black and white. Do it, or don't do it. Apply, or do not apply. Strive for excellence, or do not.

Here are some of his simply complex teaching points, on the subject of "Natural Horse.Man.Ship". I encourage you to do more than just scan these few points, but to look at the true meanings and natural application of this knowledge. By knowing this, what can you achieve? I will add a couple of comments on the tid-bit in parenthesis.

The Dynamics of Horse Movement

The Walk

Beats: 4

Weight Distribution: 60% forequarters, 40% hindquarters

MPH: around 2 to 4

Foot Fall Pattern: left hind, left front, right hind, right front

The book gives this information for all gaits, including the back-up. Just to help you get adventurous in your thought pattern, I will ask you this... How, by knowing this, would help YOU improve as a horseman? How by knowing this, could YOU help your horse? Think about the problems you may be having in riding, or even on your ground work? At more than just a walk, what if you know these facts at the other gaits? Like the canter? Ponder a bit for me, I came up with quite a bit!

8 Principles of Natural Horsemanship




4. Horses and Humans (each) have 4 responsibilities... (do you know what the responsibilities are, are YOU upholding your responsibilities, so your horse can uphold his?)



7. Horses teach Riders, and Riders teach Horses


7 Keys to Success... I know you want to succeed. To you know the keys to success?

10 Qualities of a Horseman

(Did you know that there are 3 and 1/2 for the horse? And that you are responsible for supplying that 1/2?)

I hope I've given you enough to get the cogs in your head churning. The moment I opened his book, mine were operating in over-drive... I do believe they still are! If you would like to see a list of a handful of the books that Pat Parelli recommends, please email me at If you have any comments, leave one here or I would gladly love to strike up conversation with you at the given email address.

That's all for now, I'm off to read... just a little more!

Mariah Helms


Priscilla said...

YAY! My heart skipped a beat when I'd seen you'd written another blog post!! YAY!!! So cool! And true!

Nancy, smiling! said...

Hi Mariah! Pleased to meet you "virtually". I found your BLOG via the Parelli BLOG that sends out notices to us avid readers out here in the boon docks.

If it's alright with you, I'll keep the address to your BLOG so I can keep up with your journey. It helps me A LOT to read about other Parelli students and to stay in contact via the internet. I'm pretty much my neck of the woods. Sometimes the negative blow back isn't easy to deal with (IE. "Just get on that goldern horse and ride the ever lovin' heck out of him!" and "What are you doin'? Makin' him into a circus horse?" You get my drift.)

Your BLOG is very direct and easy with itself (obviously you are easy with yourself) and inspiring.

Thanks so much for being brave enough to post. I've really enjoyed reading it.

Yours naturally (love that signature!), Nancy Ness, always smiling

Anonymous said...

Great post Mariah. I think it is time for me to read Pat's book again. :)
Judy from Canada

Parelli Central said...

Absolutely LOVE your post!

Petra Christensen
1Star Parelli Junior Instructor

Mariah Helms said...

Thank you all, very much!

Mariah Helms

Anonymous said...

Great post Mariah! I believe I'll re-read that book as well,as Judy said.

Btw, any word from Parelli regarding your audition? I'm so curious, and I'm sure you did well!

Anonymous said...

Great post Mariah! I believe I'll re-read that book as well,as Judy said.

Btw, any word from Parelli regarding your audition? I'm so curious, and I'm sure you did well!