I am afraid that my observations do not match yours. I do not look at it like 'drilling a horse into submission'. I tend to see it as teaching horse that being quiet and agreeable makes for a happier horse and a more pleasant relationship. The happiest horses I see are the horses that decided that their human leader is worthy and they have nothing to worry about. The spoiled ones remind me of the spoiled children you see throwing tantrums in a store. Have you ever seen a 'happy' spoiled child? I haven't. They are all like spoiled horses -- completely miserable. The well-mannered, relaxed and non-anxious horse is certainly a happier horse.
As far as CA is concerned, I have been around Clinton Anderson many times. His horses are happy, healthy, well turned out and being obedient has not hurt them one tiny bit.
I agree that horses are happier (in general) with leadership. Where we differ is what we see as leadership and what we see as pure 'control' for the sake of it.
Relating to human psychology is not a good comparison, but as you have raised that example them let me expand it.
Sure in terms of children I too cannot stand the spoilt disprespectful ones, and much of our problems now relate to that side of society and a lack of boundaries and responsibility. However just as bad as no rules are the ones with too many. The micro-managed, overly disciplined and controlled, almost bullied child. I know a few of those too and they are the most likely to turn out to be serial killers or commit suicide. (notice how serial killers are always the ones that were quiet and unassuming?)
There is a balance. A middle ground. Clear distinct boundaries, but within those boundaries some freedom to be children. To develop and to grow.
Unfortunately in the horse world, largely the balance is missed. I see it here all the time. The two extremes. "Oh help me I don't want to discipline my horse I want it to love me - why does it kick?" VS "You need to GET onto it!! Show it who's boss! Move it around, whoop that ass!!".
As for CA. I totally completely and utterly disagree. I do not see happy horses. I see 'broken' horses in the truest sense of the word. He is not a horseman he is a trainer. His job is to break a horses spirit and will as fast as humanly possible. That is what he does.
Just look at Mindy. No mind. No will. No spirit. I saw his retirement demonstration. It was shocking. I try to control my negative emotions, but I could have knocked him off that horse and throttled him. It wasn't a salute to Mindy it was an ego show off moment for him (again! Arent they all!). He had her backing this way and that, twisting here and there, spinning any which way and for however long he liked. All the time her mouth was gaping as he yanked on the curb. Her hocks were jarred, and you could see her flexing to avoid the spur.
That is not a man who cares about horses, who wants to be a better horseman. That is a man hungry for fame and its trappings. THAT is his priority not the horse. Compare him with someone like Mark Rashid.
That is why he only ever chooses horses that are no challenge. Simply a little spoilt, a little flighty, or no foundation. I have never as yet seem him work with anything bordering on aggressive, or truly dominant. Fact is he couldn't. His cookie cutter approach would get his ass handed back to him in much the same way PP dropped the bat when he came across a horse that even slightly didnt fit the process.
The well-mannered, relaxed and non-anxious horse is certainly a happier horse.
Exactly. Relaxed and not anxious is something I rarely see when CA is around a horse.