Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We All Gotta Grow Up Sometime

NO MORE WORD VERIFICATION!!! COMMENT AWAY!


I have to give it up.
I don't want to, it's been an unending source of amusement to me for years.
I'm going to miss it.
Seriously.
I have decided it's time to quit making fun of the Natural Horsemanship movement.
All of it.
Even...Parelli.
It's too bad, because I still have a huge reservoir of jokes waiting in the wings. Sigh.
Recently I have had two events happen which made me reevaluate. I just hate it when that happens.

The first came about when I dropped in to watch a NRCHA event in my area. I was missing my old fellow competitors and friends. I was aching to watch a good fence turn or two. I wanted to size up the locals and see how behind I was falling. So I gathered up my cohort and fellow cowhorse lover Kathy and we went to catch some action.

I was visiting with top Colorado trainer Jill Cook when the name Parelli came up. I did my usual eye roll and snort, which Jill missed. I am really glad she did. Keep in mind, this is a group of horse people who don't discuss Natural Horsemanship, ever. It truly means nothing to them. The techniques are all known to them, usually because the basics are part of every decent trainer's repertoire and are pretty much covered in the first thirty days of training. Or they're techniques not used because of a difference in approach, but not because of ignorance, because of choice.The idea of choosing what is considered colt starting 101 as a way of life is not their deal. Nothing more, nothing less.

"You know, he showed at our xxxx event last year," Jill said.

"What? You mean Parelli?" I was amazed.

"Yep."

"How'd he go?"

"His cutting was amazing, he told me he's been riding with xxx and it's making  huge difference. The rest he hung in on."

"Well good for him, I like hearing about one of these guys getting out and competing."

"Did you know he has an autistic son?" Jill asked me.

"I didn't."

"I loved watching how he and his wife are with him. They have him riding and competing and he does real well. Pat talks to him through an ear piece and walks him through, he does a real fine job. It was great watching how they interact with him. They help as needed but have let him become a real hand. That has to be so hard."

I walked away from the conversation with a full plate. The only Parelli I'm familiar with is the showboater, the man who sells his way as the only way, the man in the ads with a cult type following I just don't understand.

At our cowhorse event he came quietly. No entourage, no fanfare. He was a family man working and competing in a tough competition. The impression he made among hard core horsemen who for the most part, only vaguely knew who he is, was a good one.

My next eye opener was finally watching the movie "Buck."

The "magic" was as exaggerated as I expected. Goodness, if every colt we dealt with was as rowdy as the ones they portrayed in the movie there would be an awful lot of busted up horse whisperers out there.

Training aside, which was pretty much what I expected, it was the man who got to me. This quiet, gentle man had overcome so much because of horses. His life time of equine study had taken him so far. He had broken the chain of abuse that haunts families like his, saving his own family, his daughter's future family and himself through learning how to train a horse.

The changes he had gone through were identical to my own. So close, it physically hurt me to watch the movie. It definitely cleared up some questions I carry with me about my obsession with, not just training horses, but doing so by understanding their minds. Why I can't stop, why I always try to keep learning, keep moving forward. Every key I find to unlock the next door, well, it unlocks something inside of me too.

I've learned a lot in the last few weeks. I learned the thinking behind training through understanding is what these men share. It's not about the technique, thank goodness because I'm not buying a damn carrot stick or playing a single one of the 7 games, it's about getting to the core of who we are through the mind of a horse and sharing it with other people who want to know too.

So that's it. No more jammin' and slammin' on the horse whisperers. Just not going to do it, no matter how tempted I might be.
The reality is these guys are making a living studying the minds of horses. The rest is just fluff.
I'm sure going to hate letting go of all those Parelli jokes though.




67 comments:

Kate said...

A good reminder to us all. There are lots of different ways of working with horses out there - lots of different "systems" - but if the intent to do well by, and understand, the horse is there none of the other stuff really matters in the end. The barn I'm at has people doing lots of different things, including Parelli, and it's good for me to keep an open mind while I keep on doing what I do with my horses.

strivingforsavvy said...

:)

Susan said...

Great post! You put into words what I have felt for years now. I've taken clinics with some of the horse whisperers and studied others through videos and such. Each taught me something, but in the end it is as you wrote. I never bought into the gimmicks (one tried to push his particular rope halter on me just because my rope halter was slightly different than his, huh?) and a couple of times I got turned off by egos, but when I was able to get past that stuff, their communication with the horse was awesome.

I haven't seen "Buck," but I read his book "Believe" and it had the same affect on me as you describe, dealing with past abuse.

You could still throw in a Parelli joke here and there. He's a funny guy.

Jan said...

Janet,
I studied the Parelli system for a while, but then decided to back away from it (became really uncomfortable with some aspects of it) but I learned some good basic groundwork from it that I still use. I also studied Clinton Anderson and use some of his exercises. Ditto with TTouch massage. And I like some of John Lyons teachings. So I have taken some of the teachings or examples from several. I now, jokingly, say that I use parTTanderson training!! LOL. I think a good horseman will keep an open mind and evaluate any new teachings they hear. I, too, was quite touched by the character of Buck Brannamon in his film. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

Barbara said...

I have to disagree with part of what you are saying. The only thing that Buck and Parelli have in common is the horse. Buck is interested in the horses and in helping people not be afraid of their horse. Parelli is about the bottom line. I didn't have an opinion until I watched them both in person and listened to them talk about horses years ago. Nothing has changed my mind since, and I do enjoy the very good NH jokes.

Peanut said...

I'm glad to hear that Parelli may be maturing and letting go of some of his ego. When I got my first horse 11 years ago, I bought some of his (expensive) tack. I was infuriated that the nice bridle had the name Parelli in no less than 5 prominent places on it.

I really enjoyed the movie Buck - I didn't know of his personal history until then.

mugwump said...

Um, Barbara? That is what I said. They both have the horse in common.
I've decided it's enough for me.

I don't plan on swaying anybody else's choice in how they approach their personal relationship with their horses by making jokes about what is giving them success.

If you choose to miss my point, that's OK.

Kel said...

I'm speaking out of total ignorance here so forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't most of the NH stuff this day and age just a distillation and re-branding of the teachings of Ray Hunt (and even the Dorrance brothers before him)?

If the person has the welfare and well being of the horse in mind, who cares what it's called. Its when commercialism and egos get in the way that the horse suffers. Probably every method of horse training has something to offer -- its up to the individual to never stop trying to learn and bridge that gap between human and equine instead of forcing things into a "one solution fits all" ideal.

The problem lies more in the folks that blindly follow one style without taking into consideration any other method, especially when they don't take the time to try and really understand the horse as an animal and not some anthropomorphized fantasy.

My $.02 anyway....

paintarab said...

My stance is that I don't like Pat Parelli, but I like the parelli methods as a training TOOL to be used with all other training tools. I have not enjoyed handling horses that are trained by pure parelli methods, but I have seen a lot of success when it is used as a tool along with other methods. I think I lucked out because when I took the level one course I had a fabulous instructor who put each of the "games" into context with the discipline of the barn. She explained how each method taught the horse something useful to us and the horse as hunters/jumpers.

mugwump said...

Kel - yes

horsegenes said...

Pat Parelli's sister used to live in my area and our kids used to go do gymnastics together. She told me stories about he would sneak out of the house when he was really young to go work at the stable close to where he lived. She also talked about his son. In fact she and her husband picked up there family and moved to be with Pat so she could home school his son. They are super family oriented and supportive of one another. Part of the family still lives close by and are very active in our community.

Buck.. my big paint horse was in that movie for a split second - does that make him a movie star? Part of that was filmed at the facility I was boarding at. The part with the nasty palomino. My horse is outside in his paddock watching the goings on. I was out there every day while he was there. The first day when I got there and the participants had new fancy chinks on, with big mustaches and flat brimmed hats, camping out in teepee's I kind of went.. WHATEVER! Who is this guy? I am kind of ashamed to admit that I blew the whole thing off. After watching the movie I should have tried to at least audit. He truly has a gift for teaching and communicating. He is coming back to our area but the clinics are booked several years in advance.

Laura said...

:-)

ANH said...

HorseGenes... Save your money.
I have to disagree with you on Buck. I took a clinic with him a few years ago and found that he had no gift for teaching people what so ever. I try to be open minded and still to this day give him the benefit of the doubt that everybody has bad days (clinics).
I am going to employ a saying here from an old timer I have ridden with (Jack Henning) 'When you go to a clinic you always learn at least one thing: I sure wouldn't want to do it that way'
Buck was all out rude, dismissive and had a hard time managing the huge numbers that were in my clinic group. I have been to and ridden in Parelli events and let me tell you they have nothing on the costs related to Buck's clinics. I did find the cult atmosphere similar to Parelli at the Buck clinic.
Where he lost me, and I mean completely lost my respect was when he started trashing my horse's breed and the fact that I showed my horse in competitions. It was funny when Buck would place little challenges in front of me to 'trip me up' and show the other participants that his methods were superior. Didn't work but was funny, heck I had to find something to amuse myself in between lectures and Buck showing off his superior roping skills rather than teaching us.
I may come from a different 'place' than you (which was funny as I was raised on a working ranch and can ranch rope with anyone) but like you said 'We all share the horse in common’ I came away from that clinic with nothing other than a lighter wallet and a strong distaste for the 'Cult of Buck'. No problems with different methods or approaches, just wish the street went both ways.
Good people are good people no matter what their style, saddle (or not) that they throw over a back or shape of their hats, step into a ring daily or never once. I don’t dislike Buck because of NH, I dislike him for being a poor clinician and not having enough basic respect for himself to offer some to me.
Just thought I would ‘throw my hat’ into the ring.

KD said...

Yay Mugs! Whatever works for us, right? I've started some trick training with my horse and the best thing it is teaching me is patience. No quick fixes.

TBDancer said...

In my opinion, these horse whisperers or whatever you want to call them, have taken the works of the Dorrances and Ray Hunt--who all started by studying herd behavior and adding a BIG dose of common sense--then put their OWN spin on it with terminology or "special equipment," and gone out to market their wares.

And good for them.

Anyone who attends these workshops or clinics, who watches in person or on RFD-TV or wherever and who LISTENS to what these folks are saying, will get something out of spending their time.

Whether you decide to buy into what these folks are selling or "run away" is up to you. I know there are things about each of the "experts" that drive me crazy, but I can always learn. As Kate said, it's good to keep an open mind when it comes to working with our horses.

Anonymous said...

You should read Buck Branaman's biography. He talks about his life at home in such horrible, vivid detail it was almost hard to read. He is truly an amazing man.

Anonymous said...

ANH:
I know a lady who got the money together to trailer out to Clinton Anderson's ranch for a week long clinic, and she pretty much said the same thing about him. He was a rude, overbearing ass who trashed her horse's breeding and did almost nothing but showboat.
I guess you can't get along with (or agree with) everyone out there, as there are people who love both Buck/Clinton who'd be aghast to hear that their idols may rub other people the wrong way.

Anonymous said...

Pat Parelli is a bigger tool than the carrot stick he pushes people to buy. Check out his "stellar" training methods in the link below
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gf7w_1ifus

This video is reason proof enough that he is an a-hole, but it also burns me that he incorrectly empowers new riders/owners into thinking they can correct any horse related problems on their own without the aid of a trainer. I've seen more horses confused an infuriated by the Seven Games than any other method put together. The auction is full of parelli rejects that started out as well intentioned projects.
Also his wife refuses to wear a helmet when jumping and defends this practice by saying well trained horses won't drop their rider so a helmet is not necessary. Yes she's an adult, but she's also a public figure. If she refuses to wear a helmet herself she and her husband could at least put a lid on their faulty logic. I'm sure Courtney King Dye had a well trained horse.

He may have a few good methods, but that does not excuse the rest of his behavior.

Also, his mustache is gross.

Anonymous said...

ANH, thanks. I was considering a Buck clinic. Here they cost $650 for three days. I think I'll hang on to my money instead.

glenatron said...

You can still lay into Monty Roberts, though.

Not that I think he gets much press in the US, but in England everyone thinks he is the mystical horse whisperer rather than a self-aggrandising, credit-stealing, sneakweasel with an aptitude for putting himself at the centre of a lot of tall tales and general publicity that massively outweighs his slim, gadget-lead, expertise with horses.

Snipe said...

There is still plenty of fodder for NH mockery without including the people who came up with the programs. For instance, some people will take a well-trained horse which has competed at a national level, with no problems to speak of, and run it through the seven games. I doubt that Parelli told that particular sycophant to do this, so he's off the hook, but it's still a ridiculous and unnecessary thing to do.

horsegenes said...

ANH
I just kind of blew off the Buck groupies. I have never been to one of his clinics as a participant or auditor. In the movie he comes across as a very direct communicator. Maybe not so in person. Although a dear friend of mine went to see him a couple of weeks ago at a clinic (auditing) and he was pretty direct with her. She didn't like it one bit but later admitted that he was right and that even though she didn't want to hear it, she needed to hear it.
I can't get my head wrapped around learning only from one person or method. I have played with the parelli stuff - I am sure that it is useful and that it really all depends on the clinician that you work with and how the process is presented. The clinician that I worked with was a joke - to this day I have never seen her actually riding a horse. After that experience I came up with... Those who ride, do, those who don't ride, do Parelli. Bottom line is that we all need to keep a open mind and a sense of humor about these guys or we will end up being haters. I don't have enough horsey time in my life to waste any of it on usless emotions.

ps... I am going to steal your quote. :) It is a good one.

http://horsegenes.blogspot.com/

Heather said...

Part 1:
My husband is a farrier, and I would qualify myself as an advanced amateur. I don't get paid to work with horses, but I actually ride and work with my horses. I also am friends with a couple of different equine vets, and am involved with a rescue. So, I know a fair number of people in my local horse community. Anyhow, what I've distilled from my experience with people and horses and listening to my husband and friends talk about their clients is that there seems to be a pattern with the whole NH movement.

Generally, there are two types of people who do NH. 1) Real horse people who are looking for new tools for their tool bag, insight into the horse mind, or one of a dozen other things. But, these are real horse people trying to do the right thing, which is to continue to educate themselves. These people attend the occasional clinic, take what they need and abandon what they don't. These people are not the problem.

The problem lies with the horse equivalent of the Weekend Warrior. The ones who either have a horse they shouldn't have or want a horse. They've read every Walter Farley book ever written and they keep Misty of Chincoteague by their bedside. (Yeah, I know, gross generalization here.) But these are the ones that have a fantastical vision of what horses are about. They have neither the nerve nor the knowhow to own a horse, but they want to be that person in the commercial who rides the pretty horse down the beach. They don't understand that the reality of that magical horse ride on the beach involved a lot of training, nerve, and time.

Anyhow, these people go pick themselves out a horse and they proceed to have problems because of their inexperience. So they go to a NH seminar and they "See the light". Or, worse yet, they go to one of these clinics, "see the light", and then go buy themselves a youngster. But the bottom line is this: They have no business with a horse, but now they have one and they go to one of these clinics, which is essentially nothing more than a motivational speaking event. Of course the motivational part works and they now believe they are a Real Horse Trainer (tm). They have their CDs, stick, and special rope halter - they are ready to ride bridleless down the beach. The end result of many of these people's misguided efforts is a horse that is so messed up that it takes months to straighten it out or, sometimes, is unfixable. A lot of them end up getting hurt. Worse yet, a lot of them get their vets and farriers hurt.

Heather said...

Part 1:
My husband is a farrier, and I would qualify myself as an advanced amateur. I don't get paid to work with horses, but I actually ride and work with my horses. I also am friends with a couple of different equine vets, and am involved with a rescue. So, I know a fair number of people in my local horse community. Anyhow, what I've distilled from my experience with people and horses and listening to my husband and friends talk about their clients is that there seems to be a pattern with the whole NH movement.

Generally, there are two types of people who do NH. 1) Real horse people who are looking for new tools for their tool bag, insight into the horse mind, or one of a dozen other things. But, these are real horse people trying to do the right thing, which is to continue to educate themselves. These people attend the occasional clinic, take what they need and abandon what they don't. These people are not the problem.

The problem lies with the horse equivalent of the Weekend Warrior. The ones who either have a horse they shouldn't have or want a horse. They've read every Walter Farley book ever written and they keep Misty of Chincoteague by their bedside. (Yeah, I know, gross generalization here.) But these are the ones that have a fantastical vision of what horses are about. They have neither the nerve nor the knowhow to own a horse, but they want to be that person in the commercial who rides the pretty horse down the beach. They don't understand that the reality of that magical horse ride on the beach involved a lot of training, nerve, and time.

Anyhow, these people go pick themselves out a horse and they proceed to have problems because of their inexperience. So they go to a NH seminar and they "See the light". Or, worse yet, they go to one of these clinics, "see the light", and then go buy themselves a youngster. But the bottom line is this: They have no business with a horse, but now they have one and they go to one of these clinics, which is essentially nothing more than a motivational speaking event. Of course the motivational part works and they now believe they are a Real Horse Trainer (tm). They have their CDs, stick, and special rope halter - they are ready to ride bridleless down the beach. The end result of many of these people's misguided efforts is a horse that is so messed up that it takes months to straighten it out or, sometimes, is unfixable. A lot of them end up getting hurt. Worse yet, a lot of them get their vets and farriers hurt.

Heather said...

Part 2:
Early in his career, my husband was called by such a person. He didn't get any scary signs on the phone so he agreed to go out and trim the woman's horse. When he got there, the woman immediately began talking about all the Books and CDs that she had. Of course the horse couldn't be caught in a 12x12 stall, so after 30 minutes, my husband asked "So, I thought you were working through the X trainer books." The woman's reply was - I am, but I'm not going to work with my horse until I finish reading them. At the point that the horse almost kicked my husband in the head, he told the woman to "Call him when the horse finished reading the books." And he went home.

I guess the moral of the story is that these NH guys have tremendous power as motivational speakers. They help and encourage people to believe that they can do anything with a horse if only you buy their particular set of training materials. But the problem is that they don't talk about the reality of the situation, which is that not every person is cut out to have horses and not every horse is cut out for every person. Sometimes you need a trainer. Sometimes you need a different horse. And the sad thing is that the ones who pay for this oversight of the NH speakers are not the speakers themselves. The horses, farriers, and vets are the ones that pay the price. I know my husband "doesn't take new clients" if a new person calls and the first words are something about "I do Natural Horsemanship." And it's not because he hates NH methods, it's because he values his own life and those horses are usually dangerous. And I've heard that same story from my rescue friends. My vet friend always takes a tech to handle the horse if there are NH people involved.

So, I think that's where the bad blood comes from. Horse professionals are the ones that have to pick up the mess that the NH folks leave behind. And, after you've picked up the mess enough times, you get tired of it.

deedee said...

Mugs, Thanks, as always for your thoughtful sharing.

To those of you still dissing the Parelli's,
I am one of those city raised girls (now 62) who always loved horses. After years of taking riding lessons from good people, I still didn't have much. Lots of data points, no underlying structure to organize my knowledge around.

I came to PNH (old Parelli) at 50 because I am an engineer's daughter and what he had to say about horses made too much sense not to check it out. His approach provided a structure for me to organize what I knew around and multiply it.

My husband, car racing guy from New Jersey (and MIT) fell in love with the relationship aspect he saw in the Parelli demos. Our horse, whom I stole from Pat Parelli, seduced my husband into loving horses and playing with them, in that darn old Parelli way.

Neither of us had a life time of ranch growing up to learn the how and why of horses. Pat and Linda Parelli provided us a structure and direction to learn alot.

Nobody has to like Pat. He is a big talker. But he always acknowledges his teachers and mentors. And what they went thru to open up his thinking.
I know Pat and Linda. Both are quick with a joke on themselves.

And I have worked with many not so big name NH trainers, instructors who bring the sense and kindness and clarity that people and horses need in order to learn.

And there will always be examples of students who mis-represent their teachers. I don't think Buck or Pat or Martin or any others are at fault when a student (especially a casual student) massacres their approaches, and may ruin the horse's future. Pleanty of traditional trainers do that with no help from NH. And many don't - cuz underneath they understand the principles horses need them to know.

So, keep telling jokes with a smile and a good heart.

Funder said...

I think Heather's mostly right. The people who become real NH groupies are usually scared of their horses, or at least scared to ride them. If they're enjoying their horse time playing games, fine, more power to you dude. The hardcore ones are kinda like extremely religious people - it's usually apparent pretty quickly that they're zealous, and you can then be on your guard for their horses' shitty ground manners.

scsarah said...

I have been to a Buck clinic and enjoyed it thoroughly, and can only dream of riding with the ease, lightness, quickness of the release, and the ability to feel the horse’s try as quickly as he does.

Well, I can dream and set that as a goal.

Is he tough on people? Hell yeah! The clinic I went to there were three or four women that had attended the same horsemanship 1 clinic for FOUR YEARS and had not learned a thing. They had no control; the horses were spoiled brats, and a danger to the other riders in the clinic.

And, Mugs, keep up the jokes! I love a good joke….so does my ‘boyfriend’…even if it is on me! I will make sure the Depends are on tight…..LOLOLOLOL

The best thing for me is to listen to horse people and take what I want out of it and leave the rest alone.

Damn, I just wish it was ME who thought of the extra special halters and carrot sticks…………*sighs*

Good for you for being secure enough in your own skin to change your thinking and to see that many of the NHers trainers are just people like us, flaws and all. And they are trying to help us help our horses.

Anonymous said...

As a Parelli kool-aid sipper as opposed to drinker, I've been involved in PNH since 2002. Most of the NH wrecks I've seen are because of owners who can't bear to "make" their oh-so-special-beloved horse do what's required to succeed in PNH or anything. My PNH horse is expected to do what I ask when I ask. The biggest problem in all clinics I've attended is always the owner who won't assert themselves and be in charge. I've seen instructors show the owner what to do, but the owner won't do it. After all, we don't want to "force" the oh-so-special horse to do anything he doesn't want to do. Consequently, you end with a horse that knows that he's in charge. The owner waves a stick around, but the oh-so-special-beloved one knows that stick will never be used at Phase 4. I always get pretty riled up because those owners give all NH a bad name. OK, I'm now off my soapbox.

I've been around Pat, Linda and Caton (Pat's son) many times. Regardless what you think of the man as a trainer, the way he works with his son is amazing. Caton had a stroke at 12 yo. It's incredible to see what Caton's accomplished as a horseman over the years.

Mugs, I always enjoy your writing. Keep it up. This is djjfoxhunts but I think I'm showing as anonymous.

Breathe said...

I started with Parelli and moved on to Rashid. But what I really like about PNH is the focus on getting away from methods that were harsh by any measure. Unfortunately the techniquess, like religion, get muddled by the masses and marketing.

I know. I'm in marketing. We oversimplify everything in marketing.

The 7 games give focus to setting boundaries. The carrot stick is simple desensitization. The riding of patterns is not much different from getting a horse set on a barrel or reining pattern, just much more basic.but few people I know actually carry thru on the techniques and instead raise bratty horses.

IMHO a horse trained in PNH methods should have excellent ground manners, period. The problem with PNH is that it seems to stop at ground work.

Rashid focuses on energy and flow and on getting out of the way of our horses. Just finished a clinic with him, and he worked with DQs and cowboys. And everyone came away with something worthwhile.

It's funny how actually seeing the humanity of someone you've had fun making fun of can turn your head completely around.

It's a good thing it does.

By the way, you have the double word verification going. Makes commenting a PITA. You have to adjust a setting if you want to revert to old, easier style.

Whywudyabreedit said...

I will go to a Buck clinic. I will not go to a PP clinic. Good to hear some respectable stuff regarding Pat though. I am not ready to give up the jokes, but I appreciate where you are coming from too. As human beings we probably benefit more from appreciating commonalities than from highlighting differences. I just can't hang with his more born again followers. I realize that they are not all that way. Some of them are friends of mine.

mugwump said...

Thanks breathe - took care of the word verification problem

redhorse said...

All I can say is, good for you for keeping an open mind. I also liked Buck in the movie. I hope the fame doesn't go to his head. I had heard about Parelli's son and how well he's done with the horses. He also seems to sincerely admire his wife and treats her well, and I've seen the opposite with the BNTs. So, I'll concede that he's a good guy, but I still don't get the cult thing. And I still think you could share 5 or 10 of the best jokes.

Anonymous said...

Mugs,you seem to be posting less of your horse stories and more puff pieces. Does this mean you are actually writing a book? That would be awesome. I love your horse stories, but posts like this one are really terrible. Grow some stones and form an opinion. Not every method is ok. Parelli's methods have led to a glut of spooked, ill mannered and untractable horses.
All these comments about his autistic son are just a red herring. I'm glad he and Linda are good with the kid, but that does not legitimize their horse business. George Bush was an excellent family man, but we all know how well he ran the country.

Mugs, I criticize this piece becasue I have read so much from you that is amazing, particularly your Sonita saga. Your posts have been the highlight of my hectic work day, but this was just a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to anonymous, I truly enjoy all of your writing - very thoughtful and thought-provoking. 'Puff' pieces??? Wow. I love the horse stories, but I also love the ones that make me laugh or make me consider my horsemanship on a deeper level. Keep up the good work, Mugs

Peanut

Fetlock said...

Holy crow--can't believe the comment about how this is a "puff piece." Bloggers who take the time to write something thoughtful offer a piece of themselves for free. Try thanking Mugs for her generosity rather than whining about her topic du jour, Anon.

Speaking as a total noob, I jump at the chance to go audit any clinic--no matter WHO is running it. At least it's a chance to watch an array of different horse and human personalities interacting.

I can't think of anyone I know who has horses who's never had a thorny problem that they've had to try to solve. Watching and learning from any craftsman (or woman) at least gives a girl a chance at avoiding the "reinvent the wheel" syndrome whenever a problem pops up in her own backyard.

Becky said...

It amuses me to no end that:

"Grow some stones" was written by "Anonymous".

And then the order for you to "Form an opinion" was followed by an entire paragraph on why the troll disagreed with your opinion.

And then that person proceeded to talk trash about Parelli in a post where you talked about how you were giving that habit up.

Does anyone else see the irony? It gave me a much needed laugh this morning.

I know, I know! I shouldn't feed the trolls! I'm sorry. I promise I'll be good next time.

scsarah said...

Puffy Anon said: "Grow some stones and form an opinion."

I think Mugs showed her strength by publicly voicing her change in thinking. THAT, puffy Anon takes stones of steel.

The weak minded and those weak in character can never admit a change in thinking.

Ahh, and I guess hiding behind the 'Anon' moniker takes real stones......

mugwump said...

Dear Puffy Anon - Two midol and heating pad can often reduce puffiness,along with cranky knee jerk responses, go ahead and give it a try.

I have rattled on about whatever crosses my mind horse-wise since this blog began.

Don't see it ending any time soon.

Because, well, it's a BLOG.

My stories come as I see fit.

RHF said...

I loved Buck! A little sad you won't be poking fun at the NH scene anymore... I think it's fun to point out the silliness in all "disciplines" ;)

Pam said...

I've never posted a comment before, but I second Mark Rashid as a cut above any other trainers I've seen. He truly knows how to teach people and what he teaches you is doable. I've seen him work with DQs, jumpers, endurance, etc and he gives simple instructions that make huge differences and have people smiling ear to ear and saying, "Is it really that simple?" His books are wonderful and remind me of Mugs writing, they have you LOL. Even my non-reading husband reads his books. He's the only clinician I've seen giving people back their money because he's assessed their horse and seen that it is a physical issue not a training issue. Or looked at saddle fit and seen that as the problem. He watches every horse that comes in and can pick out physical problems vets miss. I've personally seen Buck, John Lyons, Martin Black, Clinton Anderson, Leslie Desmond, Ray Hunt and Harry Whitney and a few good lesser known trainers. Never seen Parelli though. Harry and Mark are the only two I'd pay money to ride with. Mark and Harry are on a different track that I can follow. They've learned effective ways to communicate and DEMONSTRATE what you need to know. Mark combines his martial arts training into his horsemanship and brings another level of understanding to riding, breathing, blending and energy to the whole experience.

Pam said...

I've never posted a comment before, but I second Mark Rashid as a cut above any other trainers I've seen. He truly knows how to teach people and what he teaches you is doable. I've seen him work with DQs, jumpers, endurance, etc and he gives simple instructions that make huge differences and have people smiling ear to ear and saying, "Is it really that simple?" His books are wonderful and remind me of Mugs writing, they have you LOL. Even my non-reading husband reads his books. He's the only clinician I've seen giving people back their money because he's assessed their horse and seen that it is a physical issue not a training issue. Or looked at saddle fit and seen that as the problem. He watches every horse that comes in and can pick out physical problems vets miss. I've personally seen Buck, John Lyons, Martin Black, Clinton Anderson, Leslie Desmond, Ray Hunt and Harry Whitney and a few good lesser known trainers. Never seen Parelli though. Harry and Mark are the only two I'd pay money to ride with. Mark and Harry are on a different track that I can follow. They've learned effective ways to communicate and DEMONSTRATE what you need to know. Mark combines his martial arts training into his horsemanship and brings another level of understanding to riding, breathing, blending and energy to the whole experience.

mysanity said...

Everyone learns differently and the wisdom of many is better than one. Take what you need and file the rest.

But....I've worked with a couple of NH trained horses and they are no fun, I think the horses play Games, like, let me get out of work by *hooking* up every 2 seconds.

I'm getting a leather halter for the mare I'm leasing. Every single boarder has Rope halters and I don't like them. This mare doesn't need a training halter. She needs comfort.

Anonymous said...

Buck's a good horseman, but not a good "personman."

Ime, every above average trainer and handler I've ever known got along, and understood, horses much better than people.
So, I don't take poor people skills personally if they're presenting stuff that is worth learning.

Hannah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hannah said...

You scared me at the beginning of your post into thinking you were giving up the blog! I'm glad that was just my mind jumping to conclusions.

As for my opinion...let's say I've read too much of the Fugly blog with Cathy to fully respect Parelli (and his ego...), but I can appreciate how some sort of "natural" horsemanship can work for some horses. I don't agree that you should be "BFFs" with your horse, but there should be a mutual respect, which can, for some people/horses, be achieved through NH methods.

pony said...

Personally, I stick with the reining/ cow horse people when I'm looking for advice. I've gotten great tips and tricks from both Larry Trocha and Les Vogt; sometimes I look to dressage trainers for advice, and sometimes I'll try a Clinton Anderson method out if I'm feeling so inclined. It's taken me a long time to learn that everyone has a different opinion and that if some horses have a hard time understanding something one way, they will probably understand if you ask them differently.

I don't know. I recently switched disciplines and am now riding my WP bred AQHA mare at hunter jumper shows with the intention to start her eventing. It was the weirdest, most extreme discipline change I've ever seen anyone attempt, but my leaser wants to event, my mare loves to jump, and it's been a really fantastic experience so far. Guess how we learned about flying lead changes? Larry Trocha. And we did it all in a jumping saddle.

Half Dozen Farm said...

I've been to a couple of John Lyons clinics (started my 2 year old with his method - worked out great) and have been a Clinton Anderson "fan" since before most people knew who he was. He was doing a demonstration at an event where John Lyons was headlining. Hardly anyone went to see the little, skinny, squirt with the funny accent. I did though. And his ability to handle a really rank mare made an impression on me. That was probably 12 years ago and I've been a "fan" ever since.

I put "fan" in quotes, because I've talked personally to Clinton probably a dozen times over the years and he hardly ever makes eye contact with me. To me, that is disturbing and shows he's untrustworthy. But whatever. Like anyone human, he has his good, happy, helpful days, and other days he comes across as a rude, arrogant, prick. Sometimes he's too aggressive or rough with a horse for my taste.

However, I'm still a "fan" of his techniques. He is a great teacher and his method is easy to understand and follow. I use most of it, but I also appreciate a thinking horse rather than a robot, so I don't drill on them like he does. Anyway, I'm just throwing in for Clinton. I do think he can be a jerk, but his training methods are extremely helpful to me, and I can separate and throw out my emotional feelings to him personally.

luvredponies said...

I didn't see the movie, but I read "Faraway Horses". It made me cry and it made me want to go to one of his clinics.

Merri said...

I've also been annoyed by some of the Natural Horse trainers who act like their way is the only way (like one of the earlier ones you didn't mention here), HOWEVER, I have learned to pay attention anyway, because they are all good at what they do, and they just chose to make a business out of it. Sure, they make a lot of money, and I don't agree with what some of them do - for instance, like not encouraging people (especially greenhorns!!!!!) to wear helmets! - but, well, somebody's going to make money at it. not me cuz i'm not a good business person nor that good with horses! anyway, very good post.
(I turned off WV too! I get some spam, but it's easy to delete.)
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Spotted_T_Apps said...

Pat was college roommates with my old cutting trainer. He told me early on that Pat knew the same stuff he did. When it came time to "grow up" my trainer decided to train cutting horses and Pat went into "marketing."

Guess who makes more money?

That said, there is a refence to said trainer in my book that I just finished yesterday! Check it out if you care to.

e-book
http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/partners/18928748


paperback
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/partners/18928667

FD said...

Eh, being British, I reserve the right to take the mick out of anyone and everyone, from myself to the Queen, and particularly so for true-believers and marketing bulshitters. And carrot sticks are never not going to be funny.

That said, I'm a proper magpie and will use whatever works, and trade it in a heartbeat if something else works better. I've always been happy to admit that some of the NH stuff I've found useful, especially as a filter for interpreting and understanding more traditional techniques. So I never did knee-jerk write off people who use the more 'woo' seeming methods.

Incidentally, couldn't give a monkeys about sad personal histories - they are not relevant and don't affect my approach one iota, any more than our PM's family history affects my opinion of his political policies.

ANH said...

FD....
I love that! I was thinking that the other day. How a person’s behind the scenes' story is used as a marketing tool. You can't tell me that Buck the movie or even book would have occurred without the back story of abuse. Same for Monty, etc. If I haven't been abused does that make me less capable as a trainer or rider? Snort. Not likely.

K said...

I don't believe Pat's son is autistic. He may have similar impairments to an autistic, but he had brain swelling as a baby and later a stroke, which led to both mental and physical challenges. There's actually a rather nice article in the current AQHA America's Horse magazine about him and Pat. It did make me respect Pat a bit more as a human being, even though I have no love for the Parelli marketing machine.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

What I question about the Parelli method is the hypocrisy.

There is video of both Pat and Linda publicly using questionable (I'm being restrained) training techniques that contradict their "teachings".
Pat "curing" a head shy gelding (scroll down) and Linda putting the fear of god into a petrified half blind mare with her carrot stick.

The video of the blind mare "training "session was taken down shortly after it surfaced. I saw the footage - there was nothing gentle or humane about it.

"Real horsemanship has a code of honor because how you treat your horse tends to be a reflection of your core values and principles. " Linda Parelli

We all make mistakes - lord knows I wouldn't want the world to pick apart my horsemanship - but then again, I don't charge an arm and a leg for it either...

I believe that everyone has something to teach us. Often it is what not to do. Beware the koolaid.

Analise said...

Hey, Mugs, have you seen this video? What do you think? :)

Spanish-Norman horse in full armor performs freestyle reining:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J8xgJ8ifDg

mugwump said...

Analise - I have always wanted to compete in cow horse with a Lusitano.
That being said, this horse was heavy, not driving well with his rear and very clumsy in his spins.
They were training errors as far as I could tell.

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