I just don't understand how a person can say "all PP horses are bored, angry, teeth grinding, ear pinning and running away from their owners."
There are so many levels of Parelli training, and everybody from the very novice beginner to the trained 5 star instructors..... This is like saying all dressage horses hate their jobs and are angry, ear pinning monsters. Or all Arabians are psycho, wild nut bags. Or all Quarter Horses are post legged christmas hams that can't trot their way out of a paper bag.
Why would anyone make those kind of claims? None of that can possibly apply to all horses within that discipline or type.
I watched a Savvy club DVD yesterday, in which Linda Parelli was doing a demo with Remmer. She wanted to see at which point he noticed her. Someone put him in the round pen for her, and Linda snuck in a back way. She walked around the crowd, blending in, then started talking to him. "Remmer! Remmmmm...." His head snapped up, ears popped forward, and he started searching the crowd looking for her. He looked like a horse who just viewed his pasture mate across the parking lot. She stepped out of the crowd and walked toward the round pen, and he marched right up to the fence toward her with his ears pricked forward and greeted her with his head jammed up in her hands/chest. She rubbed him and greeted him, and he was clearly VERY happy to see her!
That's not me making up some story. That's a publically verifiable fact. Anybody can view Savvy Club DVD #14, December 2005, and see if for themselves.
The Parellis teach explicitly that the 7 Games should not be the 7 Jobs, the 7 Tortures, the 7 Tasks, or similar. They should be fun, provocative, interesting, always switched up and changing so the horse doesn't feel he's being drilled endlessly. You can run through the 7 games in a matter of a few minutes and the horse doesn't even realize you're doing it.
Just like ANYTHING - HUMANS have the ability to screw things up. Anybody can latch onto 7 tasks they feel they have to do with their horse every day, and drill it and kill it until the horse resents it. But riders of any training style can do the same thing.
Pat and Linda Parelli don't make horsemen. True horsemen are born with a sense of feeling, intuition, and timing. They have true compassion for the animals and almost a sixth sense when it comes to horses. A non-horsemen can take a program that was meant as a general overall guide, and drill it until a horse resents them.
Every day I "do Parelli" with my Arabs, but I have the timing, the feel, and the compassion to know what their mental state is that day, and what should be done and not done. I never do the same stuff in the same order. I never go to the barn with a mental checklist and plan according to the DVDs. That's insane!
I will tell you this - and you can choose to not believe it if you wish, but it's true. The one very difficult Arabian mare that I took to Pat Parelli for him to personally work, had changed like you would not believe. She was always a very dominant, opinionated horse who often resented any leadership I tried to give her. If I asked her to step over out of my space, I would gently touch a finger on her side, or cluck my tongue, and she'd move instantly. But she'd pin her ears and swish her tail at me. Everything was done with such ATTITUDE! Ugh it would get exhausting at times.
Well, she's still the same strong willed, opinated mare of course, but she's looking at me with ears up and forward, both eyes on me, in a questioning type expression now..."What do you want me to do?" Instead of "I'll do it but I'm pissed off about it."
Her expression, her demeanor, her attitude, and her general interest and spirit have changed for the BETTER. I love what Buck Brannaman says "Change the intention in your heart and you change the outcome." Through watching Buck, and Parelli, I have learned how to not be so direct line...("I will go out today and work on XYZ.") In thinking that way, I would get too focused on the outcome instead of the relationship. Anything the horse did that wasn't falling in line with my intended outcome would make me slightly annoyed or frustrated. NOT enough to physically harm the horse, or get rough on her, etc. but it was just my own mental and emotional state of being that the horse picked up on.
Since I now have the attitude of having fun, playing with my girl, putting the relationship first, we are actually making FAR MORE progress a whole lot quicker than we used to!
I attached a picture from a couple of days ago. We had already worked (played) for about an hour doing all sorts of fun things, but making a LOT of forward progress at the same time. This horse has come farther in a few months than she did in a few years. I can ride her bareback in a neck string out in the wide open and do poles, small jumps, transitions, halts, backups, rollbacks off the fence. Sure she still has the firery Arabian temperament but she is connected to me so much tighter now, that she feels she can truly get leadership from me, so she is so much happier, relaxed, and more easy going.
Yes I always had "leadership" of her, but it was more about "Do this. Do that. Go there. Stay here. Move your feet." Those things are all important, but I was lacking that deeper, emotional connection to her, like a foal has to its dam upon birth. That connection where the foal follows mamma and does what she does, doesn't spook or panic, or look to anyone else for answers. THAT kind of a connection is what we need with our horses. It's not an alpha horse/subordinant horse relationship. That's what I always thougth being the leader meant. But it's not. Not at ALL.
This horse is looking to me in a different way now. She is connecting with me more as if she was a foal and I was the mamma horse, than I'm her alpha leader that tells her what to do. Hard to explain, but in fact TOTALLY different. She is always looking to me, looking at me, ears up, expression soft and questioning. She used to enjoy being around me, and we had a great relationship, and clearly a good bond, but she an I really butted heads. It was always my will against her will. It's just different now.
No I'm not a kool aid drinker. I'm not a PP worshipper. But I do think that the lynch mob mentality regarding Parelli on the internet is a bit much. It's taken on a life of its own and most people who fight against it so hard probably don't know the first thing about Parelli in reality. They only know what they've read on the internet or been told by others.