Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
I'm not opposed to NH as a whole. In fact, I use some of the elements with Aires (our personal favorite is the "What's this?" game that our friend taught us who uses CA's methods). HOWEVER, I personally don't think it is for every horse. The gelding I used to have was "trained" by some of those "Kool-aid crowders" who watched the Parelli DVD and then thought they were all-knowing.
Dakota is 3/4 arab and 1/4 saddlebred and will take advantage anywhere he can. He was fat, lazy, spooky, and a downright pill when he was sent to my friend for "re-training" because his owners couldn't handle him. He was lazy because, according to his owners and what they "learned" from PP, if he acted spooky or afraid of something while under saddle, they got off him and put him away so it wouldn't cause him to be afraid of whatever it was. So, he learned VERY quickly that he could just act like he was spooked and it got him out of work. Same thing on the ground. He would spook at his own shadow if he thought it would get him out of doing something he didn't want to do. It took literally DAYS of a stronger hand forcing him to confront the things he was "afraid" of before he became even remotely sane in-hand. It took further days of forcing him to stand tied on the wash rack before he stopped dancing around because his old owners used to put him away if he acted antsy (because, again according to them, PP said to). It took WEEKS of daily work to teach him how to lunge (because, according to his owners, PP says not to lunge) to get him to where he was rideable again. When my friend did ride him, he pulled his head so far into his chest that his chin was literally touching his chest. Why? Because these people who swore by PP rode him in a martingale that was adjusted to keep his head that close in.
However, the spooking and all that weren't his real issue. His real issue was the fact that their trainer (who was a self-taught PP disciple) would not correct the tack problems, but kept stepping up the harsh aids in order to get Dakota to behave. They started him over 24" fences as a 3yo because their "trainer" said it was okay. Dakota loved to jump until it started to hurt. As a 5yo, he started having arthritic changes in his hocks and refused to jump because it hurt so bad. So, they switched him to Western pleasure (he is SO not a WP horse!). Their saddle was too small and pinched Dakota's shoulders, so he let them know he didn't like it by becoming difficult to handle. The "trainer" put him in a twisted wire snaffle straight away. She didn't even TRY to figure out what the underlying issue might be. That ticked him off even more, so the "trainer" had them riding him in spurs (rowled Western spurs). That made it even worse, so they tied his head down to his chest. However, after a few months of working with him, a saddle that actually fit him pretty decently (never met a horse so hard to fit a saddle on!), and calm, consistent training, I was riding Dakota in a french-link snaffle with absolutely no training aids. He was calm (bordering on half-asleep lol) and responsive. Never tried to balk, spook or run off with me (like he did his old owners). Yes, I had to shank him quite a few times to get him to listen and stop being an idiot. Yes, he got fisted in the ribs when he tried to dance over the top of me while I was wrapping his legs before a workout (apparently any sort of "violence" is strictly abhorred by the NH crowd?). But, that's what it took for this 900lbs horse to realize that 170lbs me was in charge and that his stupid BS wouldn't fly. No amount of wiggling the lead rope to make him back up or any of that stuff was going to stop him climbing up my shoulder when he thought he saw something that *might* spook him.
We have a lady at the stable where we board that did Parelli with her arab gelding. When I mentioned that I had to shank Dakota, she nearly blew a gasket. She spent a good thirty minutes lecturing me (without me able to get a word in edgewise) about the evils of shanking and violence against horses in general. She said just wiggling the lead rope at him would have been enough. As soon as her steam ran out, I informed her that Dakota had initially been trained using PP's methods and that was what caused me to have to use such a stern hand with him. Her gelding got out the other day (she lives 2 hours away) and it took FOUR people a good thirty minutes just to catch him in a stall he'd wandered into because of the Parelli games she uses (the "Catch me" game or something like that?). When I brought that up, she had no response other than "You didn't play the game right." I'm sorry, but I shouldn't have to play a game (that I have no clue about) with another person's horse in order to catch it. None of the other horses (that were trained with more traditional methods) are difficult to catch in the turnout, but her gelding is nearly impossible. Just sayin'...
As for the NH making horse training "dummy proof"...here's one of my FAVORITE quotes by British author, Douglas Adams:
“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
I think that this is the case with NH. It makes every armchair cowboy think that they're a trainer, when all they end up doing is ruining a good horse (as in the case of my Dakota).
Do not tell me I can't...because I will show
you that I can.
Last edited by DraftyAiresMum; 07-12-2011 at 11:21 AM.