Hi. I'm new and registered just to reply to this thread. I know my post, as an unknown user, will probably lack credentials with you guys as you all seem pretty familiar with each other.
I'll just say, about myself, I've made my living as a "fixer" of problem horses, of all disciplines, and I have sat a lot of horses. I'm not a big name trainer, I sure wouldn't win money in the NRHA, but I'm effective at what I do and have been quite successful helping people, that are having a hard time, enjoy their horses.
That said, whenever I'm been called to help people with their equine issues, I have to go with whatever training they've been attempting to apply. I take time to listen to the owners to see what they've been watching, seeing, thinking, doing, etc. Then I try to set it up for them to transfer that to their horse in a meaningful way.
As related to this thread, Parelli vs. Downunder, I've noticed this about the owners that I have worked with:
The people that have chosen Downunder tend to be more aggressive than the Parelli folk. They have more of a "horse, you will listen to ME" attitude, and can be quick to blame the horse for the failure of communication. It can be difficult to get them to see that they're often in the wrong position for the action they're wanting. It can take a bit for them to understand that the horse is doing what he thinks is asked and being punished for it. Makes their horses a quivering mess when applied inappropriately. I've also worked with several that specifically chose Clinton Anderson because they felt he advocated starting out their new approach in a bridle...they were directly opposed to riding in a halter, period, and had all sorts of justification for that.
On to Parelli - the cult mentality certainly prevails there!!! LOL (I showed up to help a lady wearing "Savvy socks", I kid you not.
) They're usually the opposite of the Anderson folk. They're normally way to quick to think they're applying technique in the wrong manner. Horse will act like a brat a few times, they give him a cookie, and head to the house to watch a video to see what they've done wrong. All the while their horse is hanging out in the pasture with his buddies having a nice, lazy life. LOL Most of the problems I see with the Parelli training is rewarding a horse at the wrong time, thereby teaching him incorrect responses, at best, and reinforcing disrespectful or dangerous behavior at its worst.
After speaking to so many of the people that follow "training kits", another similarity shows up...that is an underlying, often unspoken, feeling that they're not good enough, or their goals are not big enough, to seek help from a qualified, successful trainer. Or, they've gone that route and felt intimidated in that environment, or not accepted, or never good enough, or whatever, and that's where people really love being a part of the Parelli's or whoever. They belong to that group, and it can be life changing for them, so they can get pretty danged defensive about that. LOL (I've witnessed, on this thread, you guys get pretty heated about an offensive comment towards your disciplines, tack, political views, etc., so you should know how that goes...
Just my observations. The people I work with are just normal, everyday owners that (usually) have realistic goals for their horsemanship. And, it must be said, that they were having problems with applying the programs, so these are not the stellar success stories that I know are out there...I've seen amazing transformations using both programs! Truly amazing! And, that's all anyone wants, right? To see horses and riders doing amazing things, in harmony with each other, right?