I do not consider CA a NH trainer. Not at all. He doesn't even consider himself NH.
If Pat were to do something bad behind the scenes, it would be evident in the way his horses acted around him when he went on tour. The horses he has, for the most part, were all "damaged" and "trash" when he got them, so they are extremely sensitive and very challenging. They won't lie, and if Pat were to do something, those horses would remember it and not trust him. It would take him a heck of a long time to get that trust and rapport back with those horses.
Whilst Parelli isn't my favourite NH trainer, Spirithorse is right in saying that it would be noticeable in his horses if he did use force. Horses have very long memories, and once trust is lost it is difficult to get back.
I noticed that everyone appears to be attacking my posts =P. I'm aware that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I'm not trying to change it. I'm merely stating what I've seen and noticed, and that NH has lost some of what it's trying to achieve.
Confident, Consistent, Kind Leadership = Trust, Obedience and Respect
How do you tell if someone has hit their horse? I'm serious here. I have seen people who hit their horses frequently, and they have GREAT relationships with their horses. Their horses follow them around all over the place, horse comes running up to them, horse trusts them completely.
For example, my friend has an amazing relationship with her horses. Yet, she is not afraid of smacking them when they cross the line.
The first mare was BADLY abused when she got her. Hated people, nearly impossible to work with, and more than a little dangerous (bucked, bit, reared, kicked... you name it, she did it). This mare is now a 2D barrel horse and much better off. This mare has had more than a few 'come to jesus meetings' about various behaviors. Yet, she has no lasting side effects.
DarkWillow: I'm sorry if you feel that I am attacking your posts. I find debate works better when we discuss everything point by point, that way we get a more total overview of what one is saying.
Horses are NOT children. They are not humans with fur. Pack/herd animals need a leader. If you're not the alpha horse, you're going to have problems eventually.
For a prey animal, how is it less traumatic to be chased by a huge green ball than it is to be smacked when they get into your space? See the fear on that horse's face?
Our Joshua loves my daughter. Her favorite thing is to walk around the round pen and have him follow her like a puppy dog. Guess what? She has had to smack him when he got into her space. But that boy loves her. Scared of her? No. She is a little girl, just over 50" tall. She has poor motor skills. She can control this a four year old 15 hand horse. She can ride him with a saddle and without.
The only similarity I see between horses and children is that those who do not demand respect from their horses are like those parents who want to be their child's friend instead of parent. That may be why we have so many disrespectful and lazy children.
Horses need a leader, not a peer.
We all have our own philosophies. I think this thread shows why it's a good idea to get a horse from someone with a similar horsey philosophy.
But a slap in response to an attempted kick or bite is way, way worse than 250 lbs slamming down on the horses back. Yuppers...
OR, the long shanked curb bit that is being yanked on too. Parelli has a horse that gaped it's mouth!? OMG!!
I punish my horses as necessary when they really misbehave. All of mine that I ride (Denny, Dobe, Koda) were farther into the fear spectrum when I got them. Denny had been horribly abused, Dobe had never been touched, and Koda had very little handling more than 4 years ago. Until they learned what was expected of them, I never hit them because they were scared enough already. However, once they figured out that they didn't need to fear me, they started to test me. Dobe was a leaner and personal space invader. He figured out that I was a member of his herd and not a predator so he started to try to assert his dominance. He walked into me one time and stepped on my foot. I slapped the crap out of his shoulder and then ran at him while tapping him on the chest making him back up. I did that for about 20 steps then just stopped everything and let him think for a minute. When he stood still, I went up and gave him a scratch on the shoulder to say "Okay, you screwed up and got punished but everything is okay now." He has never offered to invade my space again.
Denny started to be a real bear to catch. He would stand like an angel until I got my arm around his neck and then he would take off. He wasn't afraid of anything, he just was being a butt. So I put him in a round pen and walked up to catch him. When he took off and turned his butt to me, he got a huge pop with the lead rope and I continued to MAKE him lope around the round pen. Every time he would try to stop, I would encourage him to really move and if he didn't, he got popped again on the butt. It only took a couple of times of this for him to figure out that it was not okay to lunge away from me just to avoid being caught. Now, he is a statue when I walk up to him even in a 30 acre pasture.
All of mine get a small pop every now and then just to remind them when they step over the line. And as you can see, they are scarred for life and absolutely terrified of me.
What ruins a horse is not that they were hit, it is when, why, and howforcefully. Giving a horse a pop on the shoulder when he is ignoring rules that he knows is completely different from hitting a horse for every little indescretion like continuing to swish his tail after you put your hand on his butt or spooking at a loud noise. That is how Denny was abused. His owner talked her "cowboy" boyfriend into trying to train him. Every time Denny would spook and jump, the guy would get scared, jump, and beat Denny as punishment for spooking. He even broke one of his teeth with a 2x4. Yet, I can ask him for anything and he has not been afraid of me since after the first few times I messed with him. He will still get a pop when he breaks a rule that he knows but he is far from "ruined".
I understand that the anti-force NH followers seem to have had good luck with your methods and I applaud you for it. But, for it to be said that someone who gives a horse a smack when they need it is cruel, ignorant, or not a true horseman is just as offensive as when someone tells you that fluffy tactics don't work and you are silly for using them. I know that I have been guilty of the latter in the past but I think that everyone needs to look at the other side of the coin for a minute. Every horse is different and every particular method of training is different. No one method will work on every horse and not every method will work on one horse. That is why it is so important to understand horse dynamics and instincts. Some horses have to be punished for bad behavior and others freak at the slightest hint of force. IMHO, no one person can be a true horseman until they have mastered the entire spectrum.
What ruins a horse is not that they were hit, it is when, why, and howforcefully. .
Couldn't agree more and would like to add to your list is inconsistant corrections. To give even a small smack for doing something your horse should not do ( this would be a correct action) then not correcting them when they do the same thing is just as bad as over correcting.
In my case my horse knows when he has done something he shouldn't. I can take my whip and wave or swish it anywhere around him. Close to his ears or up and down near his face and he won't bat an eye. BUT if he has done somthing he shouldn't have I just have to show him the whip and you can see him back up knowing he snuck in something bad.
A horse trained to the whip is not afraid of the whip but DOES respect it and that comes only from a trainer that has used it to train or correct, never to abuse or beat.