I am in the Parelli program, when I started I had SERIOUS
problems with my horses because of my lack of knowledge. Recently I passed my Level 2 audition, I have come a long way and now have no problems with my horses, in fact I learned that most of the "problems" I had before, were of my own making. I have never been able to afford private lessons, so I attribute most of my progress to the PNH program.
I am by no means a Koolaid drinker (as some here like to call PNH students) I do follow other techniques and trainers that fit in with my overall training principles. I have only purchased 2 training tools from Parelli (1 carrot stick, and 1 bridle) all of my other NH training tools are the cheap knock-offs from ebay
. So the idea that it's all about selling equipment is false, you can do PNH with whatever NH equipment you like.
When I read rants on this forum about PNH, most of the objections I see are because of people seeing PNH students doing things they perceive as stupid or wrong, but I would like to point out that the idea of being a student is that you are LEARNING, so of course it's not going to be perfect and yes you will make stupid mistakes along the way, no matter whose training you choose to follow. Many PNH students are first time horse owners trying to train for themselves. Is that ideal? Probably not, but cut them a little slack, because it may be the best they can do right now. Getting one on one training with a pro is usually a better choice if that option is available to you. BUT by choosing to train a horse for yourself you will learn things that you can learn no other way. As for too many ground games,(the word game is simply used to remind people not to take things so seriously that they get mad at their horses) I'd rather see a beginner trying to get respect on the ground than not getting respect in the saddle.
In a nut shell, Parelli is about building a respectful, trusting, loyal bond with your horse, there are a few principal techniques and tools used to establish this, but aside from that, the student is at their own discretion.