Im sure this thread should be moved to the NH subsection.
XO Such comment will be very contentious. The NH trainers like PP and CA have a lot of fans. So what I say is my personal experience and opinion based on observation and use of these methods. I do not want this thread to break down into a slanging match between any members here.
Firstly PP has gotten a lot of negative press following a couple of video incidents involving a couple of horses that he couldn't get to do what he wanted in the time. The horse wouldn't let him halter it so it eventually broke down into a battle of force, with ropes and ties and two people fighting the horse. Not ideal and unfortunately PP then launched a PR
campaign trying to make excuses and saying nobody understood what he was trying to do etc.
However as per my post on the NH subforum - PP vs CA similarities I would rather focus on the method not the personalities. Its always easy to run anyone down and it doesn't accomplish anything positive in my opinion.
Theres positives and negatives of both PP or CA methods. Its easy to understand and it provides a step by step process. It also promotes consistency which is so often lacking in handling horses and which they so desperately need. These things make it good for people who have little support or experience. At the same time it can also be dangerous. Though there are similarities every horse is different and needs different treatment which is fluid and moves with the horses responses, not cooky cutter, paint by numbers 1-2-3.
Secondly though it is easy to understand (ie carry out) it is not a method that encourages understanding. Few people understand why they are doing what they are doing. How it all fits together. The path. As such they cannot adapt to their needs or different horses. They often become repetitive drills. Horses are compliant because they are drilled, not because there is real communication. Its like knowing some random words without learning to form sentences. You could memorise a foreign dictionary but not be able to speak the language.
Its not all bad and in many cases horses are treated better this way than they might be otherwise without some direction to follow. However I do have some key concerns with all these trainers;
1) They come from 1 place only. The assumption that all horses will and do dominate us unless we dominate them. Dominance comes from moving the feet. This is very crude and very wrong in my opinion. It will only get you so far, as certain videos demonstrate. (and PP is not the only trainer caught here)
2) Their methods are promoted as 'horse language' and based around a model of the alpha mare. Again very crude and unproductive as well as incorrect. Whats also of concern is that the marketing is aimed particularly at people that have little experience with horses and want a 'better way'. I see such people clapping and worshipping CA at his events. The same people that would act horrified if they saw anyone else being so overly aggressive with their horse. They are being brainwashed into the dominance model again. I am not the mamby pamby, butterfly kissing type. However I believe in doing as little as needed. Set the boundaries and allow expression within those boundaries. Much of the training I see these guys do is egotistical and way in excess of what is needed. Which leads me into;
3) They place little emphasis or concern over the physiological or mental welfare of the horse. CA is especially guilty of this. The incessant backing especially at speed causes problems in the back, hocks, stifles and can take years to undo. Similarly the constant rope waggling causes bracing and head lifting. Problems with the teeth, poll, neck and withers. The sideways work (in hows its taught) again causes similar problems. I see it time and again. I now insist on examining horses without any knowledge of what they do or how they are worked. I can tell you when a horse has been trained with NH methods in the same way I can tell a jumper or a dressage horse. The same injuries and stiffness occur time after time and their owners have little to no knowledge of what damage they are doing.
Then theres the mental. For me this is the worst. Not in every case of course, but the mindless repetition and drills leads to horses that people seem to think are well trained. Well drilled and shut down is not the same thing as well trained. Add to this the constant micro-management and the assumption that everything is dominance.
I am not against NH. Like any tool it can be used well or used badly. My concern is that people try to get a better understanding of it first, and learn to question. Think about your horse a bit more and the guru a little less.
You don't need these things to develop a relationship with your horse. In fact it can hinder a real relationship. Relationships take many forms. Whether it be liberty working or herding cattle. If you consider your horse he will consider you and a team can begin to form.