But there is a line to be drawn. I like Pat and Linda Parelli just fine. I've seen them in person and their horses adore them. Nevertheless, I'm at the end of my rope with NH worshipers. "Stop abusing your horse and use Natural Horsemanship!"
Well, aren't I a bitch? Everybody knows I beat and starve my horses and work them into the ground on a daily basis.
Not using NH isn't abuse. It has a lot of good points, and I incorporate a few of Parelli's methods to my training, but I don't use it, per se. And my horses like me just fine. We're buddies. :) I invite any NH elitist to come out and see them.
Furthermore, the way they desensitize those horses to the point where they can beat it with a tarp and hang lawn chairs from the saddle is just ridiculous. Why would you subject a horse to that kind of aggravation? Sure, they stand still and tolerate it, but I imagine they're pretty darn annoyed. And who wouldn't be, after having various pieces of lawn furniture and sheets of plastic flung in your face?
But you know what I absolutely hate the most? What positively makes my skin crawl?
When they stand up on the horse's back. It puts too much strain in a small pressure point and it looks stupid. Take the picture as an example. What good comes out of that??? Why would anyone want to do that? What good does that do the horse? My TB would take off if I tried that, and I wouldn't blame him. So your horse tolerates you standing up on his back like the freakin Statue of Liberty. Woohoo. I wanna see them jump a 5 foot fence bareback. Then I'd be impressed (I saw Linda jump a picnic table with her Danish Warmblood, and it was incredible).
My Thoroughbred was trained with NH, and before I had him, he had never been lunged. The barn he came from was a TB racing barn and they don't lunge or cross tie there. O.o WTF? They did that goofy thing on a long line where the horse runs around in circles until the handler looks at him, and then he stops and turns to face the person. I had the hardest time getting Vic to not turn in when he halted. How can you exercise a horse when you're not looking at him? Vic was a mess when I first bought him. No muscle tone, no self carriage, no collection or impulsion. You fix that with lunging. Side reins help, too. But ooohh noo! Side reins are evilll! Psh. Oh, and because I use a kimberwick I'm abusing him, too. You know why I use a kimberwick? Because he plows right through every snaffle I put on him. He's a hot blooded Thoroughbred. What do you expect?A kimberwick is not a cruel bit when used correctly. In the wrong hands, sure.
I wouldn't use it if it hurt him. I would never use any training method or tool if it caused a horse discomfort. I rest my case.