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.