Pat Parelli Responds to Catwalk Video

Pat Parelli has done an open letter via video video about the Catwalk demo.

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Comment by Shirley on July 28, 2010 at 6:36pm
You and I have exchanged thoughts for quite some time now. I think you know I have a lot of respect for you. I hope you know that I have a great love for horses and I adore my 4 legged partner Cash and would never hurt him. I'd never want to hurt any horse.
I personally have three times seen Pat use a not so Parelli traditional method with each involving tying up a leg for a short time. They were each situations where someone had used traditional methods with no luck so Pat resorted to a 'tying up a leg' method. As far as I know, each worked to fix the problem.I didn't like the techniques. But they kept the horses from being useless or dead. Pat does repeatedly tell his students to take the time it takes. I have also seen him not finish a horse cause he didn't think it was in the best interest of the horse to push. But that is not the case with Catwalk.
I don't see what Pat does as an amusement for audiences or a spectator sport. It is a teaching and learning least that is what it is suppose to be. I have sat with a large audience of a very silent crowd as Pat patiently worked with a horse for a couple of hours and did help it go from right brain (high adrenalin) to left brain (calm and relaxed) and then do a variety of things to help the horse learn new things and gain confidence. Often the horse would go from hot to relaxed from unsafe to safe.
I personally can not discard all of these good times for a couple of not so good times. And it looks like in each situation the horse has been fine and goes on to have a better life. A better life if it's going to live with people.
I have never been bored watching a horse be trained slowly, progressively. I have at times wished the trainer would just slow down a little and give the horse a few moments to "get it' But that was not Parelli trainers. I often see a need to give the horse a few moments to think and absorb but then they are pushed too quickly. I think people need to work with their horse as a team not just on their horse. No, Pat did not do that in this case but he's one of the people I learned that from. Some was intuition cause I know how easily a pushy person or pushy teacher can just shut my brain down. I hate to see someone doing that to a horse but that is so common that it makes me sick.
My problem is this all good or all bad attitude so many are exhibiting. For those that think Pat is all bad, they are blind. For those that think Pat is all good, they are blind. Does Pat like to make money? Yes, why shouldn't he? He charges about the same as anyone in the industry. He also is a generous man.
He has built at least 4 large training facilities in the world (2 US , 1 Australia and 1 in Europe) to help others learn how to train and coach in a gentle way so others can learn. He was getting spread pretty thin trying to do it all. He couldn't do it all.
I also don't think Walter Zettl would have traveled across the US with Parellis for a year if he thought Pat was abusive to horses.
I do wish Walter would speak out how he feels about this but that's not likely. I also wish Pat would speak out and explain his unusual actions that day. Maybe in time he will.
So for now I will use the good I've learned and not use the harsher techniques. Not many things are black and white. I'm not a cultist, I don't believe Parellis can do no wrong, & I'm not blind but I also know when something has been very helpful and not harmful that it shouldn't be disregarded as all bad. It's not like a basket of apples.
Comment by Jackie Cochran on July 28, 2010 at 1:12pm
I think that the problems people are having is because Parelli talks like he would NEVER have to use these old horse-breaking methods.
This shows the absolute futility of trying to cure a problem QUICKLY. Of course when you have a paying audience waiting for you to work an absolute miracle it can be nearly impossible to take the time needed (unless you don't care about your paying audiences.) Horse training is not a good method to amuse paying audiences, good horse training is SLOW and incredibly boring as a spectator sport.
Comment by Shirley on July 28, 2010 at 12:08pm
My horse and I have benefited so much from the four home school packets that I have. Nothing in any of those teaches anything like this. I have a great relationship with my horse. This is not like Pat, I don't think it is taught in any of his apprenticeship classes. I know it is him doing this demonstration & I have not a clue why he resorted to this extreme plan. I know Pat didn't invent this method and I have seen other trainers do similar. That does not give him any reason or excuse to do this now when he has plenty of other arrows in his quiver. I sure don't like it. I wish his explanation answered some questions but it does not. I'm sure it will not be the end of his career and doubt it will effect it much at all. Time will tell. I hope he will remember his own teachings better the next time he is confronted with any horse no matter how difficult. I have seen a similar technique shown at MSU at the stallion exhibition as a way to control a horse by running a chain under their top lip when attached to a lead line. I didn't like that either but there was no upset with the crowd. I'm sure if that is used on a horse and it gets very excited, the horses mouth is gonna be much worse off. I've been told stories of a horses tongue getting nearly cut off with a bit. I've seen people force a horse to lay down in a technique to use when a horse doesn't want to cooperate with traditional training. If you saw the movie with Robert Redford "The Horse Whisperer" they used a last resort technique that I remember as being very similar and Pat Brannaman was the real horseman behind that . He is still respected for all the good he's done for horses. I will continue to follow all the good I've learned from Parelli and I imagine many others will too. There may be some that are guided by blind faith but I do not believe that to be the case with the majority. And most aren't stupid. Most aren't cruel. If this type of thing should become a pattern at all I will be rethinking the situation. I hope Pat "takes the time it takes" to 'not' do this technique again. It strikes me as being something from the 'old school' training he's gotten along the way when he was younger.
I sure do not like the idea of running and running a horse in a round pen when ever it won't comply with what the trainer wants. I see that as being cruel also. Just as cruel if carried far enough. Some have mentioned that here as if it's a good thing. I don't think so. Monty Roberts does this, I think Chris Irwin does this, correct me if I'm wrong. Many well known horse trainers do this.
I really did not like how Chris Irwin responded either. I thought that was distasteful also. At least not cruel to a horse. He has now privatized his youtube video to the owners of Catwalk but it is still available in many places to view if someone wants to look for it. I have not heard if his offer was accepted by the owners but I can't see how he can prove anything if Catwalk is now accepting the bridle without issues.
Pat has done many demonstrations currently that do show him to be a good horseman. Anyone that doesn't see that has an eyesight problem. He just won an award from the Humane Society of the United States. I do not remember the exact title and don't have time to look it up at the moment.
If the homeschool packets are used and followed properly they should not lead to Distressed, anxious, headshy and nervous horses. If followed improperly it certainly could lead to those problems.
If this type of thing continues I will be rethinking my position and I sure hope it does not continue cause I'd see that as a great loss. There are so many people and horses all around the world that have benefited from the program.
I'd like to hear how many people actually left the scene when the Catwalk thing was going on. Why did the horse eat lunch with Pat as he shared his sandwich with him if he was terrorized by him. Horses don't forget cruelty from a human. I've seen them react when they
Comment by Jennifer Lamm on July 19, 2010 at 5:56pm
good comments you guys.
Comment by Dorothy McDonall on July 18, 2010 at 12:11pm
I would have more respect for him if he'd actually faced the camera and allowed us to see his eyes and body language while delivering this. This is a bit of a cop out in my humble opinion.
Comment by Kairen Jamieson on July 18, 2010 at 10:18am
I now wonder what the UKs' overall impression of the American NH is after seeing Pat as the US representative for it...because really...that is what he was doing...not just show casing the Parellie program...but representing the US as one of their "beloved and respected" trainers.
He cleared the arena out of disgust with his actions...and then insults their intelligence with this shoddy explaination....The US can keep him and his wife...just glad he did not say he was from Canada is all.
Comment by Frank de Greef on July 18, 2010 at 9:46am
Parelli only made things worse with this 'video.' How stupid can one be?
If sweet Catwalk was indeed one of the most difficult horses Pat has ever worked with, I wonder where he (l)earned his 'expertise.'
Comment by Jenny Mustoe on July 17, 2010 at 6:05pm
You realise the mistake, of course. Two great nations divided by a common language. Pat doesn't speak English UK Horse.
Comment by Geoffrey Pannell on July 17, 2010 at 5:55pm
I think you've hung yourself on your own rope there Pat my boyo! I didn't see any passive persuasion, I didn't see any particularly difficult behaviour. I would like to see some video of what you did the next day when no one was watching!! Your losing fans quicker than the Titanic takes on water!
Comment by Kathryn on July 17, 2010 at 4:05pm
I watched the video of the demonstration and read the blog post that Linda wrote about it. She said "A couple of people were upset by what they saw but we have nothing to worry about except a misunderstanding" What???? For one not only a couple people were upset it made tons of people EXTREMELY angry that they say what they are doing is "natural" when really most people would call it downright abuse. A misunderstanding, really? We misunderstood that apparently tying up a horse leg so it cannot walk is "natural". I think this is disgusting! Maybe if they used patience and perhaps a carrot or two he would have been easier to bridle. I have never supported Parelli before and I will never EVER buy and of their ridiculous products. The Parellis don't care about the horses they care about the money that the horses but in their pockets. I could go on for years on how angry they make me but that won't help anything anyway.

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