To see some of my marginally more organised rants, try these links. If all else fails, try hitting them with whips. It works with horses, doesn't it?
My Parelli Blah Blah Blah post has found its way onto the Horse and Hound forum, not my natural habitat, and although I had promised myself i wouldn't say any more on the subject of Parelli Catwalk etc, the post in response did manage to irritate me enough to get me typing.
Here follows the text of my original post, and the H& H objection
Pat Parelli is getting a lot of flak at present for a video of him working a horse at the Festival of the Horse. If you want the details, just google parelli and catwalk and it will be all over your computer like a rash. You will also see old videos of Pat and Linda Parelli working with horses in a way that "enlightened" horse owners won't like.
The Festival of the Horse video possibly shows PP going on for longer than he should have. Now I would have used a completely different approach, mostly involving treats, becuase that is the way I work. I doubt I would have been any more successful. But nothing PP was doing was cruel. Going on too long has to be the commonest mistake in horsemanship, the "one more go and he'll get it right" syndrome. Been there, done that.
The old videos of Pat loading horses and Linda with a horse on a long line are old videos. I have done things I regret. I suspect most people reading this have done things they regret. I hope I have improved as a horseman, but I have hit ponies with sticks and whips, I have banged them in the mouth with bits. I have been rough and agressive. I can't undo that. Some things are on video, they are all in my memory.
I can't delete them, I can't not have done them, but I am the horseman I am today because of my past mistakes. I hope I have learned, but the learning process is not helped by vicious attacks from the sidelines.
What is it about "natural horsemanship" people that they are so keen to attack those on their own side, but stay fairly quiet about the compulsory whips, compulsory bits, promotion of inbreeding, enthusiasm for shoes and disdain for safety that characterises traditional horsemanship.
I know a lot of Parelli enthusiasts, and I know they are completely wrong to pay money to Pat Parelli when they could pay that money to me. Yes Pat Parelli is a good businessman and makes money. Gosh, and nobody who does traditional horsemanship makes money, or is rich, or successful, or arrogant, or opinionated.
I don't use Pat Parelli's methods. Pat Parelli doesn't use my methods. I think mine are better, and I suspect he feels the same about his, but he has fought long and hard against the bedrock of tradition which I respect. I respect the Parelli enthusiats I know (and I still think they could give the money to me).
I watched a Parelli trained guy working with a string of young polo ponies, all on rope halters, all on loose reins, all fit and alert, and a joy to behold. I respect that and all the other examples of good horsemanship from PP's teaching. PP may have gone on too long at the Festival of the Horse, but then again it may have been necessary. His style isn't my style, but that doesn't make him a bad man. He's richer and more successful than I am, than most horsemen, and that doesn't make him a bad man. He may, repeat may, have made a mistake.
Most of us have. [Quote]
And here is the H&H forum answer
I think for the most part it misses the point. The point is that what people saw at the Festival of the Horse was not what the Parellis advertise - methods that use trust and understanding rather than restraints and mechanical devices.
The issue is not whether or not people cut down NH per se while not saying anything about whips, etc. (which is a strawman argument because the majority of responsible horse people I know are just as adamant against the MIS-use of such things as they are against the misrepresentations put forth by PP). Nor is it whether Parelli-trained horses are well behaved (the old end-justifies-the-means argument).
The issue is whether there is hypocrisy in using methods you've previously decried.
As soon as people steer their argument away from the specific instance and into the realm of "well, traditionalists do this..." or "I know Parelli-trained horses that do that..." they've lost the argument, in my opinion. It just becomes deflection rather than debate.
The straw man nonsense is just that. I am perfectly at liberty to discuss the use of whips and compare it to what PP did or didn't do to Catwalk. I only said that in my opinion, compulsory whips, and encouraging incest in horses are more important issues that attacking PP.
However, the idea that "responsible horse people are just as adamant against the MIS-use of such things as they are against the misrepresentations put forth by PP." is a truly frightening statement. Hitting a horse with a whip is nothing like saying its a left brained insomniac, or whatever the correct Parelli terminology is.
To repeat myself yet again, I don't use Parelli's methods, but he doesn't use mine so we are quits. But to equate his teaching with hitting horses, or forcing stallions to mate with their daughters, is sick. If this is the Horse and Hound version of "responsible horse people", I'm staying irresponsible.
But what got me typing was the old "hypocrisy" attack.
Horse and Hound's forum is up to page 166 on this attack on PP. Horse and Hound reported from the Festival of the Horse and their journalists interviewed stand holders there. If the Parelli Catwalk issue is so massive where is the Horse and Hound story. Well it's here,
and it reports the furore on the online forum, but no Horse and Hound journalist is prepared to make any suggestion that anything wrong happened at all. Is this hypocrisy?
All the statements by the BHS that vets had found a lesion and stopped the display seem to have disappeared into thin air. Is this hypocrisy?
And Horse and Hound forum can take the credit for getting me started on hypocrisy. I have been tryoing to avoid discussing this interesting subject because I really don't need new enemies.
Read the Brooke Hospital report on cruelty to horses.
In poor communities overseas, millions of families depend on horses and donkeys to earn a very basic living.
When animals become sick or injured, traditional treatments are often used, but some of these practices do more harm than good...
If you were to see the ‘treatments’ endured by these horses and donkeys, you would despair and wonder, what could justify such painful
and hopeless actions?
Why pour battery acid onto a horse’s wounded flesh? Or rub hyena faeces in a donkey’s eye? Or practice ‘firing’, by branding an animal with a red-hot iron?
And now read this article form the Belfast Telegraph of the 28th July2008
Horses brought to Ireland for 'barbaric' treatment of injuries
Monday, 28 July 2008
English horse owners are bringing their animals to Ireland to have them 'fired' for leg injuries -- a procedure that is now banned in many countries but not in the Republic.
For centuries, horse owners and trainers have been using the treatment for torn ligaments, caused by overexertion on the race course or competition field.
But now, veterinary surgeons question whether the treatment really works -- and some believe it is a barbaric practice that should be discontinued.
'Firing' involves putting what is like a hot branding iron to the horse's legs which increases the blood flow to the damaged tendon, after which scar tissue develops and the horse can be put back on the track fairly speedily, instead of having an 18-month lay-off or complete retirement.
OK. Can anyone see any trace of hypocrisy? Is it only me that sees this as sick, blaming the poor in third world countries for doing things while struggling to survive, which the rich in your own country do for fun?
It is this sort of hypocrisy that continues to justify the use of whips against horses, when there is NO other animal you can buy a whip for. If responsible horse people from the Horse and Hound forum, care about hypocrisy, try looking at this hypocrisy and doing something.
But I won't hold my breath.