This is so new.

This is so new for me... Please join the discussion. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Linda Parelli uses pain in training a horse, and she doesn't know it.

I don't know Parelli training. I do know Linda Parelli inflicts pain on this horse. She slaps the horse's legs, hindquarters, and face, with a line. Never does she have the attention of the horse in a way that "reaches" him. Never does he experience and react as if he understands proper positive instant consequences and negative instant consequences. Never does he learn to trust her more. She tells the owner to watch out and move away because she might get hit by the line Linda is using to hit the horse. Linda understands the owner would get hurt. How does she evade applying the same logic to the horse?

Apparently this video was not posted legally, but Linda Parelli has posted a response to it on her blog, so perhaps she will allow it to remain on the web. As of this writing, there are 211 comments on her blog. I recommend reading all of them.

Linda Parelli's Blog

From Linda's response, "We had to get through to him..." "I had to increase the intensity until it matched the intensity of his fear, which was dangerously high." She reports the horse showed great improvement through the training course. The owner comments on the blog that she thought the training was positive.

How can Linda Parelli not see she inflicted pain?

Many traditional training methods use the equation that if a technique produces a compliant and improved horse, the technique was justified. Many champion horses were subjected to pain in their training histories.

Why is it so hard to recognize that inflicting pain on a horse is not okay? That the ends do not justify the means?

When I saw Monty Roberts working with horses publicly at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, in the 1990s, he did not use pain. The contrast between how he worked and how I had been taught myself and seen other traditional trainers work, was an intense shock to my system. I had been wearing blinders and they came off. I had a kind of psychological collapse; I was shaking and in shock. Painful awakenings do that to a person.

Monty talks in his books about a typical audience member he often meets at his demonstrations. Women come up to him afterward and explain, with trembling voice and fear, that they had experienced abuse in their relationships. They feel compelled to tell him this because they recognize him for standing strong on the principle that no one has the right to hurt anybody or any animal, for any reason.

I was never abused in an my adult relationships but I was abused as a child. Even with many years of personal work, another layer of the onion peeled off when I watched Monty. My sense is that how one comes to open to seeing the truth, is a tender and vulnerable process for each person individually.

In the meantime, please let's talk about how how to recognize what is happening when one inflicts pain on a horse. What is happening for the horse, and the human.

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