I bet if you asked Pat, he would admit to not being the best rider. He rides better than I do. I am not shy to admit that.
Anyway, the original question here was Pat or Clint. We haven't heard much about Clint. Anyone?
My opinion is that Clinton Anderson is a bully. I have never seen ONE interaction between CA and a horse that was positive. The horses always look terrified, they are panting and sweating, they are nervous, and they are looking for an ESCAPE AWAY FROM HIM. That's his whole training platform - terrify and exhaust the horse to the point he just does whatever you are forcing him to do just so you'll leave him alone and let him rest. CA's method treats the horse more like a piece of farm machinery than a sentinent being.
I think many people love CA because his heavy handed comandeering type of training is more in line with classical, traditional horsemanship, than with natural horsemanship. If the horse doesn't respond to what you want - just get out a bigger bit! Get a bigger whip and lash him with it harder. Put on a die down. Put a bicycle chain over the nose. Snub him to a post and let him fight until he falls down. That is the type of horsemanship that most people embrace, for reasons unknown to me.
This month's Horse and Rider magazine has an article on what to do if your horse won't stad for shots for the vet. The short term solutions are twitch, lip chain, sedation, snubbed up to a post..... The only truly KIND and compassionate of those options is sedation. If your horse MUST be vaccinated TODAY for whatever reason, have the vet throw some Ace granuals in the feed, then slip the shot in once he's groggy. But the fact that lip chains and twitches are even used in horse training in the year 2013 is mind boggling to me. Yeah yeah I know all about the "endorphin release" and getting a dangerous horse under control....I still don't agree that some of these harsh techniques are necessary.
So most people see nothing wrong with CA because his techniques fall in line mostly with that old fashioned mentality that a horse is nothing but a hunk of hide and hair to be dominated and wrestled into submission.
Everyone hates Parelli here, so maybe I'll use Buck Brannaman instead as an example....he is firm and determined without ever getting his own heart rate up. He doesn't chase horses around the round pen or get himself worked into a lathered up tizzy chasing the horse with lariats. He asks for the horse's respect with a sort of quiet, calm, gentle demeanor.
Mark Rashid talks about the difference in LEAD horses, and DOMINANT horses. Lead horses have that calm, confident temperament that makes members of the herd WANT to follow their authority. The lead horses can direct members of the herd with the slighest flick of an ear. The lead horses in a herd are the strong pillars that reinforce their position only if directly physically challenged. But otherwise, they do not chase or stir up trouble in the herd. Dominant horses are the ones running around stirring up trouble. They are constantly busy. They are always moving, and nit picking other herd members. They create fights and beat other horses into submission with physical force. Dominant horses move a foot and everybody scatters in fear of getting kicked or charged.
I have a great example of these two types in my own small herd. I have a mare who is a dominant bully. She has to live alone because she will NOT allow other herd members to have peace! She constantly walks around, pushing them out, demanding they move, and is never satisified with what lower ranking herd members are doing. If they are standing over there, then SHE has to go stand over tere and make them move. If they move over here, then SHE has to go stand over here and make them move. If somebody is drinking from the tank, she'll run right over there and demand they get out and leave. She would be the one to inflict physical damage on other horses.
A gelding that I used to board for a lady was the perfect example of a lead horse. He could stand there like a statue and the herd would move around him. He never chased, charged, or kicked and bit anyone! He could give them a look and they would move their feet. His owner said he's always been number one wherever he was boarded, but it's so weird because he rarely DOES anything! He just stands there and the other horses have total respect for him. But he's a lead horse, versus being a dominant horse. Dominant horses don't necessarily gain respect from herd members. Herd members might FEAR them, but that's not the same as respect.
CA behaves like a dominant horse. Buck behaves like a lead horse. Same end result but ENTIRELY different path and journey to arrive there. Buck leaves the horse's dignity intact and Clinton breaks the horse down mentally. Buck creates a partner. Clinton creates a machine that goes through the motions.
CA is so busy running around, chasing the horse, driving him, throwing lariats, jumping in front of his flight path, jerking on te lead, throwing his arms up in the air....CA is in a lathered sweat, and so is the horse at the end of darned near every interaction he has with a horse.
Buck has that quiet, leadership deameanor. He gets into the horse's brain without anybody breaking a sweat. He can stand still and get more done with a horse than Clinton accomplishes running 5 miles around a round pen.