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Dennis Reis

I can't afford any of his materials but I try to watch Dennis Reis whenever I can. His "tip of the week" tubes are a good chance to get a taste of his methods. This weeks is excellent IMO.

Does anybody else watch him?


I don't get RFD TV in my current package, but used to watch him occasionally.   A good friend does his clinics all the time.   She sailed through her Parelli Audition tapes during the free month last year.   They are very similar.

Dennis doesn't talk so much though.  

I like that video, she's nice and soft in the lines.
cynthia peterson

I think you are right. Carol, DR does use many of the same maneuvers. I do believe his higher Level kits do have more advanced moves tho, And he does have a pretty nice finished horse, the bay. Rumor has it he took lessons from another well know and knowledgable NH horseperson to learn that part. His wife is a cute helper too. He doesn't have Pat's charismatic personality or Linda, and some don't care for that part of him (not having Pat's charm) But, he does have a good Package set.

His, "changing eye" is more along the original Horsemen ideas, and that is his trade mark "million dollar move." It has much more value then most people believe. He also moves with the horse in the circling "game" like every other Clinician does, except Parelli.

DR and Pat did do some clinics together in their younger years, according to Pat's book RYHIYLH. In my mind when Pat tells the story of when he first seen Linda at a OZ Clinic, Pat said "here comes trouble" (because of her fancy trailer, etc.) Dennis was there at the clinic with him ( Pat actually said, boys, here comes trouble) and I always wondered how fate would have turned out if Dennis would have been the guy she fell for (Dennis didn't get married until the last few years) I guess it's a girl thing to wonder about those things    This information is all in Pat's book Raise Your Hand..

Anyhow, yes, he does have some good stuff, is a good rider. And  Carol, the satellite company used to have RFDTV free (so they could offer it thrown in the package) Now, I have to pay extra to get it. But, it's worth it.

I think he is an excellent teacher, but his voice was so extreme for me.  I could not take being at his clinics.  I did a tour stop and that was enough.  But, he is good.  Just not someone I can learn under , personally.  

But, I respect another person liking his teaching.  I am more quiet about a clinic...his voice is loud to me...very loud to me.
cynthia peterson

"thelmanelle" and I have discussed this before, and she is my fiend!  His hee, hee and repeating things can irritate many. IMO I think he is so in the moment, and those hee hees are a expression of pleasure the horse learned what he asked, that he forgets other people are there. That's a kind way of saying it.

He was so shouting at one lady to put down her stick that she could not hear him due to the videoing, crowd and his shouting.  Hee-hee!

It was much!  But, he is smart!  And his wife is an excellent rider.  Very excellent.

I attend his tour stop every spring, in Springfield,MO,  love him and Debora.  He has given me a tremendous amount of good advice over the last few years.  I find his genuine love of horses magnetic for me.  Debora is a great rider and fearless too; her horse Atreyu can be quite a handful
cynthia peterson

I think Dennis said something about how Debora (was his girlfriend at the time, they are now married) was a dancer and had bought a hot Arabian because it was "pretty." She has come a long way with that horse.

He used to have a whole hour on RFDTV, now it is half hour.

She was a dancer and she does a cool dance routine on her horse!  Her balance is remarkable

From what I've seen of him I like him.   I think his Hehehe...'s are cute...comes across to me as if he is really enjoying what he is doing.

Techniques are about the same as PNH with a little different spin on how to teach the, but for the most part...the same.
I find him entertaining.
cynthia peterson

Balance is something we all could learn better of. She should come out with something on that. I was at a Martian Black clinic and one of the best things he said was everybody should take lessons to learn how to fall.  If you have no fear of falling, you can do so much more with your horses. Lessons like Martial Arts or yoga, or something like.  You can't fall good if you are not balanced.

He just flat likes horses and is determined to give them the best deal.  I have also NEVER heard him publicly be disrespectful to another clinician.
cynthia peterson

I think you are right, Jackspark. I think the fact he gets so in the moement when he is doing things with horses shows that. It is also his downfall for a "pajazz" Charisma bang like Pat has. Because he gets so wrapped up in it, taks to himself, does a odd giggle, it turns some off. IMO I like that about him.  It is annoying, but I like the in the moment deal.

That changing eye deal he does, he calls it his million dollar move, is so important. It is like Buck Brannaman and some other Ray Hunt/Dorrance followers do. If a horse tries to put you on it's "good eye"  you have really have not as much going as you thought. It is something that should be dealt with from day one like DR does.

Dr Deb tells how she was at a Tom Dorrance clinic and there were something several people trying to trailer load horses. They were un aware of trying to get the horse go in with the wrong eye first. I seen Linda and Pat both miss this at tour stops (ask with the right eye0 In fact that is where Pat failed in the "whisper" DVD out. It seems so odd they both do?

jackspark wrote:
She was a dancer and she does a cool dance routine on her horse!  Her balance is remarkable

In the book on Cavalia, they use both acrobats and equestrians throughout the show.  They found it was much easier to teach acrobats to ride a horse then it was to teach equestrians acrobatics.

That said...I am positive I'll never be a vaulter.   LOL

The best I ever did was the pony express mount at a canter, and that was when I was 16.   Now, any acrobatics I do are purely unintentional.  

Yes, DR's Million Dollar Move IS worth a million bucks! His laugh and voice have never bothered me; he just makes me smile and appreciated how he gets lost in the moment or maybe in the zone or vortex or somewhere....

I'll be checkin him out again in March, can't wait.
cynthia peterson

In a recent Dr Deb clinic I went to, Dr Deb talked about how horses use a dominate eye because they have a dominate side. Because of that, they can be so crooked that they have to "shut off" one eye, sorta like blind in that eye. If they didn''t then they would go crazy. If you think about it, that is the cause of so many confusing things the horse does that we don;t understand. Like why the one eyed horse in that Linda Parelli DVD went so ballistic when Linda forced it with slapping it with the heavy snap. Dr Deb explained horses think they will DIE, not just be afraid, but die, if they can''t trust/see what is going on. At a Tour stop in Madison WI a couple years ago or so, Linda worked with a horse that was so dulled up by going into itself, what Linda would call catatonic. Linda tried to get the horse to do the things they do at those tours. Go around a barrel, step on a tarp, etc. Sometimes she asked with the "good eye" and everything was progressing. When she asked for the "wrong eye" the horse froze up or got very RB about it. I kept saying "Change eyes Linda" to my friends. I looked over to Pat who was watching Linda. Tell her to change eye, Pat, I told my friends. She got no where with that horse. At the end she worked for a long time trying to get the horse to go on the elephant stand. Linda would take the wrong foot, wrong eye. Linda become so upset she started to cry. She told the owners it was because the horse was so "damaged." And a horse sure can be if no one ever understands it can not do something because it thinks it will die. I walked where she would talk to the owners. She was still crying, and I think I was by then thinking this could have turned out so different with changing the eye.  

Anyone who has seen the "In A Whisper" which is the first colt starting Contest, RTTH. Pat, Josh Lyons, and Craig Cammeron were the contestants. Josh won. Pat had a horse he did the same thing to, choose the wrong eye. He continued until the horse became sullied up and defensive. IMO if you go along with the horse, like Pat said himself, first, then the horse will go along with you. Sadly, he didn''''t. It ended with Pat losing and then standing on a confused horse, taking his shirt off and waving it around in a false victory.  I can hardly wait for a "do over" in the 2011 one Pat will be in. It is called the Road To A Horse.

So, is that Changing Eye a million dallor move, you bet.

Thanks CP, that was worth a million!  Never have seen In a Whisper, gonna rent it from GU.
Docked by the Bay

I am glad to see that people here like him because I always have.  And his talking and giggling I totally get, I tend to do it too when I am working with my horse, it keeps me focused on what I am doing and reminds me what kind of result I am looking for.  I loved his "stay in the buggy" thing.

I'm not clear about Dr. Deb's views of a horse "shutting off one eye". It seem's to me that horses are aware of what is visible in both eyes, though their attention may be focused on only one side. I think that is the value of doing a lot of practice in changing eyes. It helps the horse to become balanced on each side and de-sensitizes them to the constant changing of their attention.

I like Dennis' "tee hee" and think it serves a purpose that many miss. Dennis really exagerates his "exhales" and I think this serves the same purpose. Exhaling is something that I'm very concious of and Dennis Reis has helped me to recognize it's importance. I think his "tee hee" is used the same way. There are some words that just can't be said without exhaling. Whoa is a good example.  


I do that too Jack.  I guess that is probably where I learned to exaggerate it.  He also talked about whistling and I picked that up too.

I exaggerate the exhale too.  I think I got it from Pat, "Ahhhhhh, it's just a bird" and relax.   Even when it's a deer or a cow.   I have breathed my way past many horse eating dragons along the road!  LOL

I'll have to watch his "tee hee hee" some more....might be worth cultivating...


He does it a lot when the horse gets a little "goosey"  It keeps him from reacting, I think;  keeps his mood light and fun during some right brained incidents.
cynthia peterson

Dr Deb's theory is because the horse focuses different then humans, that their eyes are on the side of the head. If the horse is crooked, then the focus is off, so the horse tends to just use the eye that is seeing the full view, the best side.  The bad eye gives a distorted view to the horse that is confusing and in time the horse disregards that eye. To the horse, if it has to use the "off" eye it can;t process if the things that are going on is going harmful. As I said, to a horse DD says it will die. That is why they defend thierself so fiercely and suddenly, even to what seemed like harmless, like striking out at the handler that asked them to move over. Or going into a trailer when they can't see clearly what is in it or were to go. Or in the circling game when they can;t see the handler on that side. Of course, some horses are more crooked then others. But it has been my experience if the horse even holds a little of the tendency to put you on one side or the other, we didn't do enough to get them over it and there will be trouble ahead.

Do you think there is a good eye and a bad eye, or just a dominant side the horse feels more comfortable with?  I have one who's side changed after a bad injury and treatments on the left side.  And I've posted about Zar before, who has a different dominant eye on the ground as to in the saddle.  And I have a few horses that seem pretty even, much the same on both sides.   They still have to be trained on both sides, but they don't seem to have a problem with either side.

I have always felt that there was a dominant side.  Not heard about the dominant eye theory until today.  I also have a horse who is quite happy whatever side she is on....... I just thought it was because I did a lot of work on both sides.  Interesting stuff
cynthia peterson

Carol, I think it can change. I too, had a young horse with a eye injury, and that is his "weak" side. In fact, I thought when I started him I had got him "over" it. He seemed even, felt and could go straight. But, when I took him out of his elment (riding in the fields then in the arena) he showed me I still had work to do.

No Dust!

This week Dennis Reis has been showing a few of his students doing some of the excercises. This clip shows some good examples of groundwork and driving from behind.

I'm impressed by the simplicity of these complicated movements.

"No Dust", indeed.


YEARS ago, i met dennis at a horse expo, and i think i was still on the fence as to which direction my money would go.  DR or PNH....we were having a nice chat in his booth, and when i mentioned parelli he got a bit defensive.  not bad....but he said that his program was way more conprehensive than the parelli program, and does more advanced stuff.  it is the only time i ever heard him talk about anyone else.

I chose parelli for what it is best at....and that is easy to understand, remember and follow.  DR program was about numbers for the 'games' as far as names, where pat made the million dollar 'catch phrase' of porcupine etc for names.  I figured both were alot of money, and the names made sense to me with parelli and thus the direction i went.  I watched DR for years on rfd-tv, and his personality lost out to pats.  

he can be anoying.....him repeating himself drives me nuts.....BUT.....from my current view.....i can say....he is right.  he does have some REALLY nice finnesse stuff and he does always seem to keep the 'no dust' theory at the forefront of his mind and think it has an immesureable value.  where i think honestly pat doesn't have it in the same way DR does.

his stuff is in my que on GU, and I think i will deffinately be seeing a huge difference in the upper level stuff, just my speculation of course.

I think one of his(and a few others) downfall could also be that he tried to copy pat in the savvy club, and certification levels and stuff.  he was the first to copy, and I think some people saw it as weisel kind of thing. the reason i think it hurt him is because he didnt' need all that to begin with.  things were going really well for him, and I am actually kinda surprised at the low turnout in that tip of the week video.  he certainly has had the exposure and a great following, so I am curious what has turned people off to him.  possibly parellis monopoly on the market??

I used to gauge everyone i compared to pat and thier personality as pat and linda are VERY charismatic......I have learned my lesson well as i have missed out on alot!

Tigerlilly wrote:
he can be anoying.....him repeating himself drives me nuts.....BUT.....from my current view.....i can say....he is right.  he does have some REALLY nice finnesse stuff and he does always seem to keep the 'no dust' theory at the forefront of his mind and think it has an immesureable value.  where i think honestly pat doesn't have it in the same way DR does.

I have to say that if the Parelli "Catwalk" incident bothered you, you probably would not have wanted to see DR's "laying down" demonstration that I witnessed in person.

cynthia peterson

It all goes to show it takes more then knowledge to sell a program. Pat and Linda are show worthy. Even now, Linda is a knockout with a surfer girl beauty and charm.

DR did do clinics with Pat in his early days. I think he sure knows Pat well. They did rodeo together with roughstock, there was a whole group Pat hung with and DR was one of them.  It was a whole group of young men out on tour with him, it must have been a exciting times. But, Dennis did more after that, he did learn more on the finesse things with ... well that is just a rumor who... but he no doubt knows it. That is the difference. Why Pat didn't, I don't know (until now with WAZ and Linda's pushing) But, without a doubt, Pat did and does know something impressive or he would not have such a following.  Pat was the Leader of that group. You have to ask yourself why? Ray Hunt, for instance, was way better then Pat, I think even Pat would say so. But, Pat sold the Natural Horsemanship, or what ever you want to call it, to a far more number of people. I have to hand it to Pat for that, and no matter what goes on from here on out can't change that.

I think Tom Dorrance said something like, he was the only one in this picture who was into having a horse not buck with him then those in the picture with him (Pat and Dennis were two of them) that were into getting the horse buck with them (referring to their rodeo days.) That's a heck of beginning for Pat to end up with being the King of NH don't you think?

Pat has charisma.  Dennis does not.  Dennis is a likeable enough guy but he doesn't have the "It" factor.  The "It" factor is why people still swoon all over Bill Clinton even though he's a scumbag.  You can't define "It".  Pat has It.

"Charisma" may be dependent on the individual viewers opinion rather than the subjects abilities with horses.

Larry, care to share more detail ot the incident you witnessed? Did you learn anything from the experience?

I know that Pat Parelli and Dennis Reis did an Australian tour together in the late 80's. I suspect it was during both of their "learning years" in horsemanship. Parelli's business success is unique but I often wonder if Clinton Anderson isn't more succesful financially. Clinton's tours seem to draw a much bigger audience and he seems to be more involved in many different areas of horsemanship.

Here is Dennis' recent "tip of the week". Evndently Sandra has caught an interest in the garocha pole. I suspect she has been watching some of the you tubes recently discussed on the internet. It's a nice vid and compared to her most recent tv shows her progress is evident. I look forward to seeing more of her developing these type of skills.


coveredbridgefarm wrote:
Tigerlilly wrote:
he can be anoying.....him repeating himself drives me nuts.....BUT.....from my current view.....i can say....he is right.  he does have some REALLY nice finnesse stuff and he does always seem to keep the 'no dust' theory at the forefront of his mind and think it has an immesureable value.  where i think honestly pat doesn't have it in the same way DR does.

I have to say that if the Parelli "Catwalk" incident bothered you, you probably would not have wanted to see DR's "laying down" demonstration that I witnessed in person.


No I probably wouldnt, but I also know, being in the rescue business, that sometimes you do have to go there.

But...and this is a big BUTT....what i had a problem with as far as catwalk and layingdown (had I seen it) is the where they did it, infront of whom they do it, and the why they do it.

I have NO problems with going where only a few men can have exhausted all other possibilities and actually taken ALOT of time trying other less drastic methods.  But that didnt happen with catwalk and that tells me it just might be about ego.
cynthia peterson

Well, Jack, you may be right about who is the most financially successful (for whatever reason) Because the truth is Dennis Reis and Clint Anderson didn't have to get "outside money." Usually, (and truthfully this is only my own opinion and experience) having a partner buy in your business signals the company needs more $$ inflow .... It also has someone else calling the shots  to the company's future direction then the orginal owner ....

cynthia that is so funny you say that. since my new found freedom from pure parelli, i have been watching everyone on rfd-tv and hrtv, whether i cared for them in the past or not.  to kind of gauge if it was a kool-aid inspired rejection or not.  anyways, i was just watching CA the other night, and it dawned on me ALL the sponsors he has,  ALOT......ALOT.....

and it brought me back to the days when pat had a lot of sponsors, and i pulled out some recent parelli stuff and no longer see a long list of sponsors.   hmmmm how interesting.

these sponsors dont 'sponsor' people if they dont think that person will generate them money.  also if they feel the person might be brining negative attention to them selves......they pull thier sponsorship.

clearly the sponsors are out there on the outside of parelli land, why aren't they knocking on parelli doors anymore?  i think things are far worse financially than people think.

regardless as i said, DR turn out was sad.

Jack wrote:
Larry, care to share more detail ot the incident you witnessed? Did you learn anything from the experience?

Jack, I learned a lot from the experience because it forced me to think about the ways in which different horses respond dfferently to different kinds of pressure and about the different ways people can apply pressure. I also learned a lot about the different ways different people respond to watching someone else apply pressure to a horse. What made this event such a good learning experience was the fact that it took DR about 3 hours to lay the horse down in a manner in which he was satisfied that the horse had actually submitted to the pressure. I think he said he ha laid down a thousand horses and this horse was the second most difficult horse he had ever done.

The duration of the event gave people a lot of time to think about what the horse was being subjected to and quite a few walked out, some because they couldn't stand to watch it any longer, and some because they were expressing their objection to what DR was doing.

It was similar to the reaction to PP's Catwalk incident except that asking a horse to lay down against his will is probably more difficult for a lot of people to watch than getting a horse to accept a bridle . A horse who had become dangerous to be around was asked to submit to pressure in front of a large crowd and the longer it took to do the procedure properly(in the eyes of the clinician), the more dissatisfied the crowd became with the procedure, and with Dennis. There were people even yelling from the stands questioning what he was doing.

I guess my most definitive conclusion from the experience was that if you are trying to teach a controversial technique like that to a group of people, the worst thing you can do is to give them a lot of time to think. If the procedure could have been  performed in 20 minutes, I'm pretty sure there would have been less objection to it. But I tend to think that the fact that DR took the time it took may have validated his skill. Any decent horseman can force a horse to lie down but that isn't the same thing as getting them to submit to the pressure. The objective, as I understood it, was to allow the horse to have a death experience and then release him from it, thereby letting him know that, having survived the worst kind of pressure he will ever know, he will be less resistant to other kinds of pressure that people might subject him to. I think the saying "Take the time it takes" has never been made clearer to me. Dennis is obviously a very skilled horseman. He was very efficient, very patient, even when things were not going as well as he had expected. It probably turned out to be the wrong horse at the wrong place but, to his credit, he continued on because to stop would mean that the horse would win, again, and that was what had caused the problem in the first place, that the horse had always won.

So, I did learn a lot about pressure from the horse's perspective, and reactions to that from the human perspective just because it forced me to think about those things. I wrote about it on the PNH forum. If you have access to that forum, you can read about it there but it's pretty long. I'm not sure it's possible to view it on this forum if I post a link to it. I guess Carol would know that. I just described what I saw and then watched the reaction to the event all over again and it turned out to be a reaction similar to what I had observed in person. Many different points of view were represented and good cases for those POVs were made. There is nothing like watching a horse think he is going to die to bring out honest heart-felt opinions. We had a good discussion on the topic and on the clinician whose identity I did not reveal at the time because I didn't want to make the discussion all about the clinician, as the Catwalk incident has been heavily about PP.  I'm a lot more interested in horses than I am in clinicians.


I've seen DR more than any other clinician, many tour stops over many years and have never seen him not take the time it takes.  IMO he cares much more for the horse than the humans watching.  I don't automatically endorse any clinician or isolated event but he is one that I would trust to offer the horse the best deal at the time.  Does it happen ALL the time, probably not.  I don't function at the same level of "good" all the time either so I certainly wouldn't hold others to some virtual standard.

Larry, the SC forum is private and any link to it will only work for those people who are members.   The only way to put the story here for everyone is to copy and paste it.   When i was taught to lay a horse down, it didn't take 3 hours, it took about 3 minutes.  You put a Flying W on the horse, then lunged the horse until you got the desired bad behavior (e.g., bucking) and then pulled the horse to the ground instantly.   Then you hog tied a third leg so he couldn't get up.  And finally you did every kind of pressure you can imagine.  Since he couldn't move his feet, he couldn't object.   The horse this was demo'd on quite literally gave up on living.  They had a hard time getting him to stand up again and realize he was still alive.   I was 18 when I learned this.  I then used it to break 11 wild Shetlands that we captured.   I'm sure I saved their lives by doing this, since they were headed to slaughter.   I can only say that I was pretty ignorant in those days.  I got a lot done, but it wasn't always pretty.  

I have a Paso friend who goes to DR clinics at least annually and studies with him regularly.   When PNH was offering the free auditions she recorded and sent in all her Level 3 tapes, and passed.  

I like Dennis a lot.  No, he's not as charismatic as Pat and Clinton, but you get the feeling that he's honest with the horse and honest with you.
cynthia peterson

Larry, I remember your posts (on another forum) of the laying down incident of Dennis's, and it was brilliantly written!

TigerLilly, personally I don't care for Clinicians hawking a lot of things, it belittles them. But, having a partner would be worst. And CA, the kid's doing OK, he still has that multimillion ranch in Ohio on the market and built another one in Texas, owned entirely by him (unlike say, the facilities owned by someone else   ) The same with DR, he owns his own and calls his own shots. The very Clinician you are banking on calling the shots, especially if you are throwing your financial future in with them to be a branded instructor,-- would be very important to me, then to have financial partner that had other interests financially then what the Clinician has. What if the partner wants to sell out, change directions different then the Clinician wants? What if the Partner says you are taking too much time with the horse at the Clinic (for instance)? Things like that could change the whole core of the Clincian's Program.

Parelli's sponsers. Let's remember them,- Coverall (out of business now, no fault of Parelli's) Winnie's cookies, some trailer company (which I think is out of business now too, a lot of them went broke with high fuel cost b/c they also built camper trailers).... but most of all they have a lot of thier "own" things as sponsors, saddles, horse supplment, boxed sets, horse equiptment, etc.

And Pat has something the others don't have, Linda. Pat is so right when he said her married the right person. Linda should get the credit to have Pat where he is today. And I think he knows it.

Carol, I was pretty sure that would be the case about accessing a thread to a private forum. But, I had never tried to do it either so I wasn't sure.

DR's method of laying a horse down is much different than what you were taught, Carol. I kind of did what you did with a 2 year old colt that I was ponying from his mother's back because I knew we weren't all going to get back to the barn in one piece. Actually, he fell down when he lost his balance from rearing up and I jumped down and sat on his head for awhile until he just gave up. It totally changed his point of view, permanently.

I have done it many times with cattle who had to be medicated out in the pasture. You can just feel them give up. I'm not sure I'm particularly proud of having done that but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. DR made a big point about not just throwing the horse off his feet. The horse must submit psychologically to the pressure. He must give in. Critical point, as I understood Dennis to say.

Cynthia, I remember being disappointed when I found out that Pat had incorporated and became affiliated with Mark. I would have preferred that he had not done that but he got so popular so fast that maybe it was the logical thing to do. And I agree with you about Linda. She has been a big reason for Pat's success. But now her lack of success with Allure might be part of the reason for their diminshed popularity. I'm not sure how diminished it is relative to other folks in the business. Maybe more than I realize.


Yes Larry, that was my experience with laying them down.  You hold them down until they basically give up.  I know with feral Shetland ponies that needed to be turned into kid-safe ponies, it was right to do - at that time.  I think now I'd take the time it takes to do it right, but knowing Shetlands like I do, I'm not sure that a couple wouldn't STILL need to be thrown.   They are way too smart for their size.    

When talking to Pat, he explained that they went with Mark because they were spending all their time doing mailing, packing, marketing, etc., and no time riding.  At that time they also were launching the Parelli Collection, and it was immensely popular.  I think HIRING a Business manager was a good idea.  I think selling over half the company to him was too steep a price though.  I have to agree with you Cynthia, I think you loose something when you no longer call all the shots.  

CoverAll was recently purchased by Norseman and is again in business.

I also think you're right Cynthia, they have so many of their own products to pedal that they don't need many sponsors.   Sponsorships are strange things and often create more problems then they solve.

I don't think Linda's decline has to do with Allure.   I remember that there was a large backlash after the Linda Levels and L&HB came out where a number of people were upset learning from Linda, when it is Pat they wanted to study.   Remember the discussions we had when the Patterns came out?   That it was nice to see Pat teaching again.  I think Linda took a back seat then and has stayed pretty quiet until recent Finesse changes from WAZ.   She still enjoys a loyal group of students, but not so much limelight now.

Since I don't follow them closely anymore I'm not really sure what is going on now, so can't comment further.   I do have to wonder if they have a 'slow down and turn the reins over to someone else' plan.  I know I would.

Sad that they sold half the business, and lost total rights to calling the shots, so that they had more time to ride and we are YEARS later and Linda still doesn't have time to ride.  She talks about it, Pat doesn't.  Seems like they sold out and still lost out.  that to me is sad.

Personally I think linda isn't declining, rather hit a glass ceiling, just as most of us do.  stuck in 'foundation' mode.  I think for her personal situation it has alot to do with taking what she learns or discovers, and too quickly turns it into the next thing to teach.  then because it is now part of the 'program' you have to support it strongly, when otherwise you may notice it isn't working more quickly and abandon it as not that 'effective' a you are stuck with it far too long as you recomended it to hudnreds of thousands of can't renig that quickly.  I will say, that I think she is finally on rise again with WAZ and maybe she has cracked the glass above her.  BUT.....she again has started teaching it and making it a part of program and is HEAVILY incorporating it.  luckily....this is a good riding technique IMO.  speaking of the game of contact of course.

but the one thing I think they have missed, and it is a vital point, is that with allure, he didn't start to make huge strides in his improvement until she started to have 'contact' with him.  this means that finnesse is teaching him responsibility PRIOR to freestyle.  that goes against thier fundamental teachings, but none the less is finally working.  for me....I agree with it, so great for me to have the validation  

as for DR and the laying down, i remember now the thread, and can cut and paste the original post if anyone wants me to.  I agree that the length of time may have been the deciding factor on peoples opinions of it. just like catwalk.  it starts to cause people to wonder if it is infact  a 'needed' procedure because it appears to not be working.  it then appears to be about ego.....'i started something and now need to finish it.....i told these people i could do it and if i dont they will think i CANT and have FAILED'

being that we are talking about MASTER horsemen, it leaves me to wonder though.....if the horse were given the proper time with the master doing less extreme.....shouldnt they be able to be successful....they are masters aren't they.  i think IF the 'demo' horse were at thier own ranch, they WOULD take that time, and the extreme technique would not have rushed into.  that again brings me back to the

IF they would do it different in different circumstances, then what does that leave as the 'reason' they did the extreme technique??

Tigerlily wrote:
but the one thing I think they have missed, and it is a vital point, is that with allure, he didn't start to make huge strides in his improvement until she started to have 'contact' with him.  this means that finnesse is teaching him responsibility PRIOR to freestyle.  that goes against thier fundamental teachings, but none the less is finally working.  for me....I agree with it, so great for me to have the validation  

Linda has a long history of opposing PNH with Allure.  Years ago Linda stopped riding Allure in the rope hackamore because she had more control with the snaffle bit.  She did not/was not able to use the rope hackamore to bring Allure through the Parelli program.  Then when the cradle bridle came out she stopped using the snaffle bit because the cradle bridle gave her more control.  She has not been applying the parelli program to Allure for YEARS.  Odd thing is that Pat is very successful with Allure, Linda has told stories of Pat getting on after a few minutes and riding all over the farm.  At that point Linda was spending a hour + on the ground before she would get on Allure.  IMO, Linda's journey with Allure undermines her credibility as a trainer and more importantly as someone who I should spend money with to learn from.

Edited to add.
Years ago I was teaching at a barn with a woman who taught dressage lessons.  Her approach was to teach the horse contact, she would control every step, teach the horse how to move via contact.  Then once the horse started to get it, she would then allow the horse to move on a loose rein.  Basically, a Finesse to Freestyle approach.  I had learned to teach a horse to be stabilized on a loose rein then and only then to start with contact.  Before PNH and with PNH I had learned Freestyle then Finesse.  I had many great conversations with the dressage trainer - we agreed that both our approaches were fine because the finished product was the same.  The finished product was a horse that was stabilized, could go on a loose rein while moving bio mechanically correctly AND a horse that could maintain contact with the bit.  

I added the above to point out that its not so much the particular method, but adhering to one method and actually getting to the end point.  Can Linda drop the reins on Allure and walk, trot, canter, gallop around the farm while Allure is stabilized and moving correctly?  If she cannot, then I do not want to learn from her.  I'd rather learn from some one like Karen Rohlf that can do the above with her horses or is actively getting to the point with her horses.


Yes, she has been using a bridle for a long time, but still had minimal success with him....UNTIL.....recently with her new game of 'contact'

she may have been using a bridle, but was still riding freestyle.

I agree with the 'freestyle to finesse' and 'finesse to freestyle' IF it works.  i think the problem is being stuck in ONE idea that it is the ONLY  right way.  some horses need contact to learn how to be responsible, others can easily learn the responsibility with out the support.

the problem also is that PNH teaches that finesse to freestyle is somehow 'micro-managing'  i say is simply managing the horse to help guide him to what his responsibility IS.  some horses just take a million years to get there on a loose rein and need guidance and support.  others may take years to learn with contact as they could have easily learned on a loose rein, didn't need the guidance, thus the contact IS like micromanaging. is the stuck in ONE way only that is bad.  PNH is stuck in that, thus Linda got stuck in it, thus linda had to break free from it.  regardless of the fact Pat could do it....she couldn't....and that made it wrong for Allure and HER.

Do you think maybe the Game of Contact is Linda finally cementing something she's hit at before over several years?  I remember around the time of the L&HB a video of her riding Allure on contact with a release, and talking about him having to "earn his reins," which Merle sounds a great deal like what you are talking about.  It also reminds me of the principle of starting out hard to go to something soft.   So the horse learns what is requested and then is requested lightly.   You're quite right, this is not normal PNH training.

This whole conversation reminds me of something we used to say in the Government, and that is that people have a tendency to rise to their own level of incompetence.   Most people stop there.   Some people, a rare few people really, push that level farther and farther.   I think Allure was that level for Linda and she's still pushing to achieve it.  

I think Allure does well for Pat for one simple reason, confidence.  Pat has confidence in his abilities so he is relaxed and has fun with Allure.  I think Allure is all about FUN, and that fits Pat to a T.   Linda is more about WORK and PERFECTION, she's also tiny and I think more then a little intimidated by Allure.  I have to admit, he's like a giant Bruiser, and big and energetic enough to intimidate most people.  

I'm still not sure if that makes it wrong for Linda to keep trying with Allure.   If it's all about the horse, then giving Allure to Pat is probably the best thing to do.  But if the point of PNH is human horsemanship, then keeping Allure keeps that bar out there for Linda to reach for.  

I think we all grow with a little Allure in our lives.
cynthia peterson

Carol, I think you got that right about Linda and Pat. Pat is all confidence and fun, Linda is the consumed student, and that works for them. Also, Pat could care if things gets rough, he can ride it out, and Allure knows it.

The part about Pat and Linda getting a partner b/c they were doing the packaging, getting the Levels, etc.... uh, heard that one from every business that wasn't making it. Because if Pat and Linda was successful they could have hired someone to do the "grunt" work. The very fact *they* had to do it shows there was not enough money to hire someone else to do it. The developer does the developing of the program and hires someone else to do the "other." That's the way I have always see it happening, but Parelli *could* have been a rare exception that loved to do grunt work.  If I said I had to give up my farm b/c I had to work too much, (there is enough to do marketing, organizing, buying, managing decisions!) then it would be because I can't afford enough to keep the farm and hire help so I can do the thing I do best.

The discussion on Linda, Merl, Carol, and Tigerlilly. I think it is true Linda has not been doing the PNH for years. And, if you think about it, she has brought Pat, and the other students she has take WAZ lessons, *in on* this adventure of hers too. Since Pat raves about WAZ *even with Pat's ego, at first he said he was going to teach WAZ what Pat knew, and it was to be a partnership. You don't hear him saying that anymore, just what WAZ has taught them. I take that is a *game changer*. Merle, I really like your mention of Linda's progression away from PNH with Allure, b/c that's what I see too.

Merle, Tigerlilly, and who ever else wants,--- lets start a new thread on what "we" understand contact, collection, be it what discipline, on a new thread? That is sure a good subject, and now we have Linda's input to talk about too. Maybe some who wonder about that but are not into Parelli anymore would like to hear about it?

new thread on 'contact' sounds good to me, since what linda was doing with allure previous, 'his earning his reins' was still VASTLY different than 'game of contact'  VASTLY.

so off we head to a new thread.....

Good suggestion we have gotten WAY OFF TRACK of discussing Dennis here.   So, let's put this one back on subject and proceed elsewhere.


coveredbridgefarm wrote:

What made this event such a good learning experience was the fact that it took DR about 3 hours to lay the horse down in a manner in which he was satisfied that the horse had actually submitted to the pressure.

I tend to think that the fact that DR took the time it took may have validated his skill. Any decent horseman can force a horse to lie down but that isn't the same thing as getting them to submit to the pressure. The objective, as I understood it, was to allow the horse to have a death experience and then release him from it, thereby letting him know that, having survived the worst kind of pressure he will ever know, he will be less resistant to other kinds of pressure that people might subject him to.  

I'm a lot more interested in horses than I am in clinicians.


Thanks Larry, I appreciate that your willing to share your views of what Dennisi Reis accomplished with this performance. I've never seen Dennis live but from videos and his tv show I find myself really liking his approach with horses. I thought he stood out in the "Ray Hunt, Ft. Worth tribute to Tom Dorrance" video and I think he has a lot to offer us all. I would be interested in reading your report of the event if somebody could paste it to an e-mail for me. If anyone is willing to do this let me know and I will pm my address to them.

I too am interested in the lessons offered by the horse.  


I have copied your posts of the account, not posts on the discussion.....just too many pages of that.....with your permission i can paste them here.

That's fine, Michelle. It might be a good way to get Jack's thread back on track. Permission granted.  

Remember, I changed the names of the main characters to protect the innocent.  


coveredbridgefarm wrote:
That's fine, Michelle. It might be a good way to get Jack's thread back on track. Permission granted.  

Remember, I changed the names of the main characters to protect the innocent.  


I think by now we know who "SAM" is.....but the "Spencer" shall remain nameless.  

get out your reading glasses y'all.....this one is a doozy!

Part one:

This is what happened at a tour stop that I attended recently. It was not anyone associated with PNH. I will refer to the horseman as Sam beacuse I want to be fair to him. This is, after all, simply my recollection of the events.

The first day's events were entertaining and informative and included an excellent demonstration of bridleless riding and other natural horsemanship tasks. At 3 o'clock, a problem horse was brought in for Sam to work with. Spencer was a 10 yr old QH gelding with a history of injuring people. His latest victim was the owner's husband, bucked off in 2 seconds. The result, a broken wrist. Neither the owners nor their trainers had made any progress with this nice looking QH in the 8 years they had owned him

Sam started him off in the round pen. The first problem: How to catch him again. He immediately started running and looking over the top of the pen looking for an escape route. That was no problem for Sam though. He is an experienced roper and soon had a lasso around Spencer's neck. The horse showed a total lack of respect for Sam and kept looking to the outside of the pen as he circled.

After about 5 minutes, Sam announces that this is an extreme horse with extreme problems requiring what may seem like extreme measures. He decides to hobble the left leg, puts a saddle on Spencer and proceeds to try to get the horse to lie down. Sam makes it clear to the audience that it is critical that Spencer lays down by succumbing to the pressure of the hobble rather than simply being forced off balance. Spencer's history is to fight against pressure of all kinds rather than give in to it. It's what has made him a very dangerous horse.

Sam works with the horse by lifting the leg up with the rope and wrapping it around the saddle horn, thus making him a three legged horse. Spencer, however, has other ideas. He struggles with Sam, he jumps around, rears up and generally lets Sam know that he expects to have his way with him just as he always has had his way with humans. Spencer is not afraid of humans. What he is afraid of is pressure of any kind. Humans aren't worthy of Spencer's respect, Sam explains to his audience. As it turns out, both Sam and Spencer will have underestimated their adversary this day.

The struggle continues on as Spencer repeatedly pulls the hobbling rope through Sam's hands forcing Sam to continually have to lift the leg up and rewrap the rope around the horn. Every time Sam does that, Spencer tries to come at Sam, lunging at him, rearing up, and most dangerous of all, striking out with his front legs. Sam has to avoid getting directly in front of the horse because that is when he's most vulnerable, especially if Spencer suddenly regains control of his left leg.

As I'm watching this, I'm thinking that I'm surprised that Sam would attempt this in front of this audience. But I'm also remembering something that I heard Dave Ellis say, "He who controls the horse's feet also controls the horse's mind".

The struggle continues on well into the first hour with very little give between the two combatants. Sam and Spencer both seem confident in the eventual outcome. Sam is constantly talking, maintaining a running commentary of his actions and what he thinks of this horse. It's like a play-by-play account of a sports event. "Stay over on this side" Sam says out loud, as much to himself as to the audience. "Stay away from those front feet, nobody wants to hurt you buddy, stay on his side, stay on his side, nobody wants to hurt you" as the horse tries to maneuver in position to regain control of his left leg. Sam maintains a constant dialogue as the audience settles in for what is obviously going to be a lengthy battle.

After at least a half hour of this Sam decides to enlist a little help from one of his assistants, a 53 yr old man named Jack. Jack's job will be to maintain control of the lead rope and try to impede Spencer's forward progress when he tries to press forward too quickly. So now it's two against one.

The battle continues on as before and into the second hour with Spencer and Sam still fighting over control of Spencer's left front leg. Jack spends almost all of his time backpedaling as he tries to slow the horse down as much as possible. He is in probably the most vulnerable position though, since he is almost always right in front of the lunging, striking horse. His only safety net is the distance he must maintain between himself and Spencer. Sam at least is positioned off to Spencer's left side. Sam's dialogue now contains instructions to Jack as well as to himself. "Keep a safe distance, Jack", Sam repeats, don't let him get you, don't let him get you".

The round pen floor consists of a couple of inches of loose dirt but the struggling horse has produced an uneven surface for all of the participants to navigate around in the pen. Since Jack is backpedaling most of the time he is having as much trouble staying on his feet as Spencer is.

Suddenly Jack trips as he is backing up and lands flat on his back. If the audience wasn't fully engaged in the action in the ring before, it most certainly is now. We now have a man lying at the feet of a crazed horse who thinks these two guys are out to get him. The only control Sam has over the horse is the hobbling rope which has already slipped through Sam's hands many times in this struggle, and Spencer seems to be energized by this sudden turn of events.

"Get up Jack, get up", Sam implored. It's amazing how a person's perception of time can be affected and distorted by the drama of the moment. Jack seemed to be moving in slow motion, while Sam and Spencer seemed to be moving faster and faster. Slowly, it seemed, Jack rose to one knee while Sam struggled at fast forward speed to retain some control of Spencer with nothing but the hobbling rope. Members of the audience screamed for Jack to get up. Slowly, it seemed, Jack got both feet under him while Sam continued to yell "Get up, Jack, get up". Slowly, it seemed, Jack straightened up and began to get his bearings. He finally answered Sam's demands to grab the lead rope again. As suddenly as this near disaster occurred, it seemed to end with Jack once again in control of the lead rope. Well, not really in control, but he had hold of it. Jack was game, if not overly agile. The question of who was really in control of the lead rope and, in fact, the entire situation, would not be determined for quite some time yet.

As though realizing for the first time the seriousness of the scene in the round pen, the mood of the audience changed, shifting from an apparently mutual consensus of support for what Sam was attempting to do with this dangerous horse to a concern for the safety of everyone involved. A couple of hecklers suddenly made their voices heard. "Why did you decide to abandon all safety factors?" one man with a very deep and strong voice shouted. "I didn't" yelled Sam. "You almost got Jack killed", was the man's quick reply. "No, I didn't" was Sam's equally rapid response, "You cannot fall down in this situation. Jack is the one who almost got Jack killed. You simply cannot fall down in this situation." Sam was now not only battling a very strong willed horse while worrying about the safety of Jack, Spencer and himself but he was starting to lose part of his audience. He was starting to lose his audience both figuratively, as people started to openly question his judgement, and literally, as a few people got up and walked out of the building. They would not be the last to leave.

Sam and Jack worked with Spencer for awhile until Sam decided that the horse needed to be cooled off with a quick shower. Even though it was cool enough in the arena to require us to leave our coats on, Spencer was soaked in sweat from the struggle. As Sam bathed him for a few minutes with the garden hose he explained to the audience that this horse viewed the effort to control his feet as a threat to his very survival, and to lay down under such a threat is to surrender his life. This extremely strong resistance to the pressure that Sam was putting on him was typical of the way Spencer always responded to all other kinds of pressure. According to Sam, everything was a life and death struggle with this horse. Cinching up a saddle was a life and death struggle to him, a struggle that he had always won before. They had given up trying to tighten up a back cinch. A human on his back was a predator that was threatening him. Most things that other horses learn to accept was still a life and death struggle to this 10 year old horse and to stop now would be to simply reenforce that idea in Spencer's mind. Once you start down the road that Sam had selected nearly two hours ago you have to finish it. And you have to win for the horse's sake because this horse was near the end of the line. His owners had seen enough people injured by Spencer. This was Sam's explanation for his audience before he and Jack resumed the fight with this strong willed gelding.

The struggle continued much as before although it seemed to me that Jack was moving a little quicker now. Who could blame him? He could have been killed and I suddenly thought of a good friend of mine who was nearly killed by a horse who first threw her out of the saddle, and then proceeded to stomp her into the ground. She is fine today but only after some serious reconstruction of the left side of her face. This horse business is serious business sometimes. After more of the same struggle between horse and men carried over into the third hour, Sam suddenly left the round pen announcing that he would be right back.

As I sat in the stands waiting for Sam to return, I watched Spencer and Jack resting. Jack looked pretty happy to be alive but wary of what might come next. He sure didn't look like a man ready to jump out of the round pen though. Give the man credit. He had guts. Spencer still looked defiant but a little weary, I thought.

Sam arrived back at the roundpen with his roping horse. I knew what was going to come next. Now it was 3 against 1. Two horses and two humans in a 45' round pen.

Sam went immediately to work. He pulled the gelding's leg up but the sight of the bigger horse seemed to give Spencer renewed energy for awhile. He slammed his shoulder into Sam's horse and reared up. I'm thinking that things could get pretty interesting if he comes down on top of Sam's horse, maybe even tragic.

But Sam and his horse had obviously done this many times before. They easily sidestepped themselves out of trouble and tried again to get the rope wrapped around both saddlehorns. The object is to get the rope connected from the horse's leg to the saddle horn on his saddle and then to the saddlehorn on Sam's horse and then use Sam's horse as an anchor to tire the geldiing out more quickly and to get him to give up quicker.

This was accomplished within about 5 minutes and now the struggle could continue with the end perhaps in sight, if it was ever in doubt in the first place. We were now at about the 2 1/2 hour mark. It seemed longer than that.

The audience seemed to grow a little quieter now. I can't help but wonder if they're just happy that the danger level appeared to be going down or if they were simply resigned to the eventual outcome.

Now it has come down to this: One defiant horse doing the only thing he knows how to do; survive anyway he can for as long as he can. And one horsetrainer determined to get the horse to give into the most severe pressure imaginable at least as far as the horse will ever know.

I have a good idea what was in the horse's mind but I can't pretend to know what was in the human's mind. Was this just a show he was putting on to entertain his paying guests? Or was he putting himself through this ordeal(as well as Jack) to save this horse, to make this horse useful and safe for his owners to be around?

Your guess is as good as mine. At this point, my focus is on Spencer. He was really starting to wear down now. Pulling against a big horse is much more tiring than pulling against a man who probably doesn't weigh 200 pounds.

Now he drops to one knee, but then right back up again. The time hasn't come yet.

Several more times he drops to one knee but again and again he gets back up. There isn't any quit in this magnificent animal. Forget about all of the people he has injured, forget about all of the reasons he doesn't trust people. Those issues can be discussed later. This is about an animal thinking he is going to experience death.

You can tell now by his demeanor that what has worked for him all of his life isn't going to work this time, and that he is becoming aware of it. Now when he drops to one knee it takes him longer to get back up. His body language is less defiant now.

And Sam? Well, Sam is resolute now, confident in his ability to complete the task he set out on nearly three hours ago. It has taken him longer than he expected it to but he knows he will be successful. In the stands, people have become quiet. A few more people leave because they do not want to watch the final chapter. Most people stay and many of the women and some of the men now have their hands over their faces.

Even though the people know that Spencer will live to see another day, they know that Spencer does not know that. They realize they are witnessing the death of a marvelous athlete in his prime, even if it is only in his mind, and they feel for him. They are, after all, horse lovers.

The stands are perfectly quiet now. Everyone who is going to leave has already left. The rest of us will stay to the end. I'n not sure why we are staying, but we are staying, Perhaps we simply do not have the energy to get up and leave. This is a draining experience if you truly understand what is going on.

Now Spencer goes to one knee and doesn't rise back up. And now he starts to lie down on his left side. But now he gets back up again. Sam looks untroubled by the refusal of this horse to give up everything. He has done this too many times to be worried now.

This process gets repeated 2 or 3 more times. This horse's will to live is almost more than the audience can take. As I look around I see faces strained with empathy for this animal. There are more than a few tears being shed.

Now Spencer lies down again but only about half down. It seems like I can hear the people in the stands pleading for Spencer to stay down so it will be over. "Just stay down Spencer. Tomorrow will be another day", they seem to be saying.

Are they pleading for the horse or are they pleading for themselves?

Spencer seems to be taking it better than some of the audience. And Sam? Sam waits patiently.

But somewhere from within Spencer fights one more time. He rises to his feet. Sam pushes on.

Quickly this time, he lifts Spencer's left front leg as he has done countless times this afternoon. It's now just a matter of time.

It's also approaching 3 hours since this ordeal began. As I sit in the stands anticipating that this will be the final time, that this time will be the time that Spencer will go down and not fight back, I have questions running through my mind.

Foremost among them is this one: When does this task being performed right in front of me cease to become an accepted method by which an unruly horse can learn to become a fully functional member of his human family, and when does it become an attempt to break the horse's will? When does it cease to be a training technique and when does it become an act of cruelty? If he had gone down more quickly perhaps the answer would have come more easily but, I suspect no more accurately. This process is so drawn out that it forces me to address that question and I decide that a line needs to be drawn somewhere.

Somewhere a line needs to be drawn, but where? At the beginning perhaps, or in the middle? Surely it should be drawn before it is allowed to proceed this far. Or is this just me looking for a way to avoid something that needs to be done because it's so hard for me to watch? After all, this sounds like Spencer's last chance.

Well, no matter now because Spencer has just gone down again, but this time on his right side and up against the rails of the round pen. His body is resting against the bottom rail, his head almost protruding between the first and second railings, his nose sticking almost straight up in the air, and he's not moving.

"Get him up, Jack" yells Sam from across the pen. Jack tries but the horse doesn't move. Now Sam gets off his horse and moves toward the fallen horse.

Do I detect some degree of alarm in Sam's steps as he covers the 30' feet from his horse to Spencer? And if I do, would that alarm be caused by a concern for the horse or a concern for his own reputation? So many questions that I can't answer.

Jack and Sam are both working on the gelding now, urging him to get up. It seems like it takes several minutes but it's probably only a few seconds before Spencer opens an eye and a few seconds more before he gets to his feet.

What just happened right there? Did the horse experience death in his mind and is now alive again? Just one more unanswered question.

Sam seems relieved that the horse is up but says that he must go through this process again. In his opinion, the horse didn't really lie all the way down.

This time, it's pretty easy. Spencer goes down and stays down. The horse has lost his epic battle with the human. The question is: Was it for his own good and was it worth putting the horse through it?

Sam seems satisfied, at first.

But wait, "We need to make sure he goes down and back up a few times in a row just to reinforce the lesson" Sam says. That seems to go well but, up in the stands, I hear someone say "That's cruel" in a voice loud enough in the hushed environment to be heard for several rows. When I fail to hear a reply to her charge, I look around me and try to decide what is going through their minds.

I cannot tell.

Sam's fans are looking straight ahead, pretending to have not heard the comment. These are loyal fans of Sam.

Then my wife says "I'll take Parelli, thank you very much".

No response to that either. It's probably a good thing because we were heavily outnumbered.

As far as my feelings on this? Well, I have questions, some of which I hope will get answered tomorrow. Sam has just announced that he will ride Spencer tomorrow.

That's pretty much the story of the first day. Spencer survived physically but I can't help but wonder how many times he went through the death experience. That's just one more question.

I'll tell you how everything went on the second day but you'll have to wait until tomorrow, just like I did.

For now, I would like to know what you think of this experience. I've told you about everything I knew by the end of the first day and tried to give you some feeling for what it was like to be there. I would like to know your answers to my questions or any other questions you might have.

Try to imagine what this experience was like for the horse. This was a beatutiful animal with an incredible will to live who was only subjected to the death experience in order to save him.

Sam pointed out that natural doesn't necessarily mean it can't get brutal. "Horses can be brutal to each other in the wild" he said.

Part 2:

There are lots of good comments here so far. All of the comments are good actually. Thanks very much for trying to get a handle on this subject. It's a tough one. Maybe it would be easier if someone could tell us exactly what is going through the horse's mind during this process. We are naturally conditioned to fear the death experience. Taking a horse through the death experience , not once but several times, sounds like a lot of trauma. But is it? I don't know. We don't do it with people as far as I know. Should we use a technique on horses that we wouldn't use on people? I don't know for sure.

Anyway, when I left the arena the night of the first day I felt like I occasionally have after watching a particulary brutal but realistic movie. I had lots of questions and I felt a little dirty. Had I just witnessed the systematic and relentless dismantling of a proud animal's spirit or had I just witnessed a process that could reasonably be referred to as life saving? To help me with those questions I did what I often do: I asked others who were there on the first day what they thought. These were all fans of Sam. They did admit that it was hard to watch yesterday, that Sam probably had underestimated the horse and even that perhaps that demonstration might not have been appropriate for that audience. When I told them that I was a PNH'r they were quick to point out that Parelli never would have attempted to work with this horse. Parelli is a lot of fluff they said, and doesn't tackle the hard jobs. I reminded them that Pat represents a large corporation and cannot take the same risks that Sam felt that he could. We parted on a friendly basis. They were nice folks, dedicated horsemen and horsewomen who were protective of their leader, as we would be of Pat. One women owned 62 horses.

When I got to the arena early I looked up the lady who owns the horse. Actually, the horse is her husband's. For 8 years he had been getting hurt with Spencer, as had she. The broken wrist was the last straw. The broken wrist was a bad break and there had been damage to his hand also, maybe permanent damage. They were at their wit's end with this horse. They were tired of getting hurt and having to worry about this horse hurting anyone who came near him. He was also a problem with their other horses. He always had a need to dominate them. She said he would choose one horse out of the herd and bully him/her for a month or so. Then he would select another horse and bully that one for a month. His pattern seemed to be to pick on one horse at a time. She discussed the options they had considered. Selling him to an individual was not something their conscience would tolerate because they did not want to live with the likelihood that he would injure his new owners. She felt that he would go to the killers if she sold him at an auction. She said she was an experienced horsewoman but could not handle Spencer. She seemed genuinely conflicted about this horse, not wanting to get hurt any more but not wanting him to go the slaughterhouse either. I got the feeling that Sam was indeed the horse's last chance. Either she would see some progress at this clinic or Spencer's days were numbered. She was very articulate and very easy to talk to, very willing to talk about her horse and the special problems he presented.

For me, the second day was all about Spencer. That came in the afternoon. It was to be the climax of the clinic and rightly so. Spencer looked pretty good as he was led into the arena. He may have been sore but not noticeably so, to me anyway. He looked fairly relaxed under halter.

Sam released him in the round pen. Spencer's reaction was quite different than the first day when his first reaction to being turned out in the pen was to try to escape. This time he moved around, but with less urgency, more alert than scared.

Sam encouraged him to move by waving the coiled lasso at him. Spencer obliged. He asked him to change directions by blocking his path. "This door's closed" Sam said as he forced the horse to reverse his direction of travel numerous times.

It is always interesting to me how some of these trainers can maintain a constant dialogue while they are focusing on the business at hand. It seemed like Sam did it as much to help himself as he did to keep the audience informed. It did reveal what was going through Sam's mind though, even when he was momentarily frightened of this horse as happened quite often these two days. At least that was my impression.

After a few minutes of this work at liberty, Sam lassoed the horse again. I thought that was interesting. I expected him to spend the time it took to teach Spencer to face up to him for haltering. There was no need to impress us with his roping skills because he had done that yesterday so I assume he roped him in order to save time.

For the next hour we watched a very good demonstration of ground skills. Sam's a good horseman. He spent a lot of time getting the horse to reverse directions with the rope around his neck. "This is the best exercise you can do for a bucking horse" Sam said as he constantly flicked the rope over the outside hip of the circling horse. When he wanted the horse to change directions he would pull the horse's hindquarters toward him and "block the door" with the coiled lasso in his off hand. He spent a lot of time on this task until he was satisfied with Spencer's progress. The horse did quite well without any real challenge to Sam's leadership.

The next task was to circle the hores's cinch area with the rope and tighten and loosen the rope as the horse trotted or cantered around the pen. As mentioned yesterday, this horse strongly objected to a cinch, especially a back cinch. Sam felt of Spencer's sides and remarked that it was no wonder he had bucked off his riders. His sides were very taut and hard. Spencer accepted the front cinch with only minimal bucking at first but we all knew it would be a different matter with a rope in his flanks.

"We'll find out if he's a bucking horse now" said Sam as he moved the rope back and began to tighten it. It took no time at all for Spencer to start bucking, although the bucks were not as violent as I had expected. "This is no bucking horse by rodeo standards" remarked Sam, "On a scale of 1 to 25, I'd give him a 2 or 3." Personally, I would have given him a 10 or a 12 but Sam was the rodeo veteran, not me.

Sam continued with this desensitization exercise until the gelding would accept the rope with varying degrees of tightening. After that he started playing the friendly game by swinging the rope around with Spencer under halter. Sam went to an extreme friendly game with the aid of his bullwhip. The horse accepted this pretty quickly. It was obvious that this was a process by which Sam was making Spencer respect him more and more in preparation for mounting.

The hour of reckoning had come. Sam had committed himself to riding Spencer at the end of yesterday's session. Was this a commitment Sam had made under duress to mollify a rebellious crowd? Has he painted himself into a corner from which there is no escape with dignity, kind of similar to the one he spent all day yesterday painting Spencer into? Was it a caculated move to get the audience to return the next day? Was it the act of a confident horseman who knew his trade well enough to successfully ride this horse with the bad reputation with just a handful of hours of working with him? We are about to find out.

Sam saddled Spencer up with very little objection by the gelding. That looked like good news for Sam. With no hesitation, Sam did a Parelli type mount, standing in one stirrup for a few seconds before he swung his leg over. So far so good.

Immediately, Sam insisted that Spencer move forward. The last thing he wanted was for the horse to get his legs under him and get into a good bucking position. Sam's rapid dialogue was even more rapid than usual as he verbally challenged the horse to give him everything he had. Was that threatrics or nervousness, or just good horsemanship?

The horse moved off in a fast trot around the round pen. "What's that you're giving me Spencer" Sam asked as he felt the horse tighten up on his left side in preparation for a buck in the circular arena. Quickly, he pulled the horse to the left in an emergency stop and then just as quickly reversed directions. This was repeated several times as Sam refused to give Spencer enough time to fully focus on bucking.

The act of constantly changing directions seemed to keep Spencer off guard and off his natural inclination to buck. Things were going pretty well at the trot after a few minutes with Spencer now maintaining gait for an extended period of time. The horse was already starting to sweat. I suspect Sam was too, judging from the apparent anxiety reflected in his voice.

Now Sam decides to ask for a canter. This kind of ups the ante a little it seems to me. Horses can buck pretty much without warning at the canter but maybe not as high, at least that has always been my view. Spencer doesn't really want to go into a canter. I noticed that yesterday at liberty. He was reluctant to canter. He much prefers a fast trot. But Sam does succeed in getting Spencer to canter after considerable encouragement and it goes well. Spencer is behaving quite nicely for Sam so far within the small confines of the 45' round pen.

There is a larger rectangular arena within the building right next to the round pen. I'm going to guess it's about 100X200'. Sam decides it's time to test Spencer in the larger arena. This is a horse who was never trusted enough to be out in an open area this large. This could get interesting, I'm thinking.

"Open the gate" shouted Sam as he worked to keep the horse moving in preparation for a change of scenery. Keep his mind and body occupied seemed to be Sam's philosophy. It was working well so far.

Sam and Spencer practically charged out of the round pen and into the big arena. They were at a fast trot and were now moving into the center of this arena before Spencer realized where he was, it appeared to me. Now Sam is moving him in circles and figure eights forcing him to keep his mind on anything but bucking. Once, Spencer kicked out with a back leg but Sam increased the intensity of his demands.

Sam was doing everything he could to keep Spencer's mind occupied on anything but bucking. Occasionally, Sam says he can feel Spencer getting prepared to buck but he quickly makes an adjustment in his demands of the horse and causes him to forget about bucking. Keep his mind occupied, force him to constantly change his mental focus. Don't let him stay in the same mental track for very long at one time. It's working well. So far.

I think everyone knew Sam was going to ask for a canter in the large arena at some point in time. Really good horseman seem to ask for a canter from a horse they are uncertain of much quicker than we amateurs do. I think it tells them a lot about the horse and it gives them one more option from which to choose as they keep the horse's mind occupied.

Sam did now ask for the canter but again Spencer is reluctant. He just doesn't like to canter so Sam picks up his lasso and raises it in the air. Still no canter. He strikes his own leg with the coiled rope but still no canter. Sam's dialogue is continual now. "Hit him on the rump you chicken" he says to himself. Is he toying with the crowd or is he really being tentative? He chides himself about not giving Spencer enough encouragement to break into a canter. Is he just trying to build up the suspense for the benefit of the crowd or is he unsure? More questions, always more questions.

Finally, Sam smacks Spencer on the butt. No response. He smacks him twice in succession. There is no change in the horse's gait. But there is no buck either. Sam smacks Spencer's derriere harder about three time and works his legs harder at the same time and now Spencer goes into a canter, and with no buck. The crowd applauds enthusiastically. Apparently they consider this canter to be Spencer's final hurdle to a civilized lifestyle. Are they celebrating prematurely? This is an impressive demonstration but can you really overcome 10 years of abuse in two days?

Sam spends quite a bit of time working with Spencer now, choosing from a variety of gaits and directions. He's making him work hard now. I suspect Spencer's mind is working harder than his body, and his body is soaked in sweat by this time.

When he is satisfied with Spencer's progress, Sam gives the horse some rest time. Spencer seems grateful. Then a little more work and some more rest. Spencer seems to be getting the hang of this rider/horse relationship. If I do the desirable I get rewarded. He is a smart horse. He has just never had a good leader before.

Apparently pretty confident with Spencer at this point, Sam takes his lasso and throws the open loop on the ground behind the horse and asks the horse to place his back legs into the loop. Sam then raises the loop up Spencer's legs and brings the loop to rest around his flanks.

If Spencer is going to buck today, this would be the time for it to happen. Sam asks Spencer to walk off and tightens the rope around the horse's flanks. No response.

He does the same thing at the trot but it didn't seem to bother Spencer much. He's a different horse today than he was yesterday. But just how different is he? Is he just a shell of his former self or is his behavior simply modified? Is he desensitized or is his spirit broken? The questions are endless here it seems.

Sam asks just one more thing of Spencer today. He introduces him to the 7 foot inflatable ball, much like the Parelli ball, only larger.

First, he tries to get the horse to touch the ball. Spencer doesn't shy much from the ball. He is just wary of it. After touching it, Spencer is asked to stand there with Sam sitting on him while someone bounces the ball off his body. They do it carefully and gradually but it doesn't take long for Spencer to tolerate it.

When Sam is satisfied they ride back into the round pen, Sam stands up on Spencer's back and thanks the crowd for their attention. Show's over.

The rest is probably anticlimactic now but I think still interesting.

In the conversation I had with Spencer's owner, she told me that the last trainer she had placed Spencer with was a friend of the family. She's probably not a friend any more.

In the time that the trainer had this horse, apparently some distance from their home, he had lost several hundred pounds. He had gained a hundred of it back. When they did get around to visiting the horse, the training had been a disaster. The trainer couldn't even catch the horse and his behavior was worse than before. When the trainer tried to ride she got bucked off.

It was at this point that Spencer's owners turned to Sam since they were already in his program. As I talked to her after the show, she seemed very encouraged. She said she was planning to start riding Spencer tomorrow.

I try to figure out if she is aware that just because Sam can ride this horse doesn't mean that she can. Everyone on this forum knows that Pat figured out that training the horse is a waste of time if he sends the horse back to his original environment. That's why he decided to start training humans.

The lady seems knowledgeable but I can't really tell how much she knows. I wish her luck.

I just have some final questions.

Was the first day's ordeal really necessary?

Did it set him up for success for the second day?

I'm almost certain that he underestimated this horse. If he could do it all over again would he do the same thing before his audience? It's never good when your fans begin to walk out of one of your performances.

I should point out that Sam could have laid this horse down any time he wanted to and the crowd would have been impressed but he didn't do that. It would have been just good showmanship but it wouldn't have accomplished what Sam said he wanted to accomplish which was to get the horse to give into the pressure. I guess you have to give him credit for sticking to his guns even though his fan base was getting very uneasy.

I still keep coming back to the main question: What does this really do to the horse and is it necessary?


Well Larry,  my personal opinion is that that horse went through hell and it would have been far kinder for him to have been put down at his owners home with his head in a feed bucket.  I don't know who "Sam" was, I thought it was Pat until you made it clear it wasn't him.......but this was un-necessary, un-ethical and doesn't apply to 99.9% of people who have horses.  In this day and age where there are far more horses than people who want them, we must be realistic and as kind as possible while making sure the "good" horses, the ones who can cope with human intervention, are the ones that survive to breed on......

Firstly, Dennis Reis' wife is named Debra. "Olztimers" caused me to identify her wrongly.   My apologies for the error.

The review of this clinic experience sure sounds like it turned out to be a negative experience for the spectators. How Sam or the horse see it is not readily apparent to me.

I do agree that a clinic setting is probably not the best situation for success with a horse like this. I put the blame with the owners more than the trainer. I've found it quite common for owners to bring a horse for training and ask for success in a limited amount of time. In my case this is usually 30 days and I find it's usually the owners economic ideas which are being considered rather than the horses needs.  

I suspect that the owner of this clinic horse came to the clinic with the idea of fixing a major problem by simply using some type of magic that the trainer might possess.  Maybe that is why this method was chosen instead of a more involved training program that may have been more costly and time consuming. I would like to know what happened to this horse after returning to it's home with the owners.

A couple of questions. Was this a recent clinic and where was it held?


Jack, I think this "No Dust" tour stop was in March of '07 and it was in Springfield , Missouri.  How Sam or the horse saw it was not readily apparent to me either. And not all of the spectators saw it negatively by any means. I talked to quite a few who thought that it was worth putting  the horse through that in order to give him one more chance and they credited Sam for making the effort. Like a lot of things, it comes down to a judgement call. Sam probably would have been better off doing this procedure on this horse at his ranch without the spectators. It would have spared the spectators, and it probably would have been easier on Sam. I  don't know if it would have made much difference to Spencer.

We were told that the owners had placed the horse with several trainers without success. And you are probably right that they had expected, or hoped for, a sudden turn around with Sam's help. I called DR's office a couple of times after the event and never did get hold of anyone. I don't know what happened to Spencer, unfortunately.  

Alyth, this procedure is supposed to be reserved for extreme horses. Of course, determining what constitutes an extreme horse is very subjective. I still think that far fewer people would have been upset with it if it hadn't taken nearly as long. Same thing with PP's Catwalk incident. If the horse's struggles with those types of procedures become too obvious to the spectators, which tends to happen the longer it goes on, the number of people upset by them increases, generally, I think.


The thing i dont get, about both this event, the catwalk event, and the many other extreme demo's that go on that we dont get to see or hear about.  is the fact that the horse comes to them, being labeled as extreme.  that no one could get thru to the horse.  IF people like Pat, Dennis, Buck, etc, are masters with knowlege and experience way beyond our limitations, wouldn't one think that 'of course this horse is you (the owner)"

while the owner, even if it is a high ranking student of the master, says....we tried this and that, this and was a student trying it.....NOT a master that tried it.  MAYBE those things WOULD work if done by 'taking the time it takes' 'never seen it take longer than 2 dys' the master himself that has impecable timing and judgement.....

as we have all seen the happy endings of, one students nightmare, is another masters dream horse.  how these masters usually can take what we deem extreme and in an hour or so, the horse has no problems.

so a horse does come in, that really is extreme.....the toughest horse the master has EVER seen......wouldn't it stand to reason....that this would send up red flags in the masters mind...that this is NOT a demo horse?

but it doesn't......and it makes me wonder instantly that because the demo horse is there to help market a product, the product being that particular masters belief system on training horses, that it wouldnt look good for the bottom line if you keep getting horses that you have to turn to the audience and say.....'wow this is the most difficult horse i have ever seen....I need to spend more time with it somewhere else'

the potential CUSTOMERS and CRITICS might start to say.....
'see it doesn't work on every wouldnt work on my horse...this guy is full of #$%^&.....why on earth do i want to buy his stuff if HE can't do it, .....So and so never has a problem....i'll go buy his stuff?"

so, for me, all in all, it ALL is crap that they do this 'extreme' stuff for the most difficult horse they ever saw...."for the horse".  the only thing extreme about how hard it is to get the money out of the wallets in the grandstand.

poor spencer and poor catwalk, that they have to be the sacrificial lambs of marketing.

Michelle, having been there, done that, I think I have to agree with you.  Laying a horse down is pretty traditional western training.   In the old days, there were many wild horses that came out of herds and had to be subdued quickly.   There was no "take the time it takes" in those days.  In the 1800's in the middle of cattle drives and on huge working ranches, it was almost a necessity to 'break' a horse quickly.   I know many "trainers" who routinely lay EVERY horse down to break it.  I'm sure they would all tell you that they do it "for the horse" to get it over its fear.  

I read a story by Carolyn Resnick of her method of dealing with an "extreme horse" and it was quite different.   I don't see any of the traditional western trainers doing the WHR at a clinic OR on their ranch, and I'm pretty sure most would scoff at the suggestion.  

We had quite a lively discussion the last time we discussed laying horses down, but I still feel the same way.  I'd do it if I had to (emergency treatment, or horse caught in wire that was fighting it, etc.), but that would be the only time.

I keep trying to put myself in Spencers shoes (which is pretty much impossible), and try to decide what I would prefer if it was me who was displaying behaviors that were dangerous to others, and there were two ways of possibly fixing it, one was quick, the other not very quick at all, in fact it could take most of the rest of my life potentially to 'fix' my dangerous behavior; and Both options may or may not work.  

I think personally I would choose to have the quick way, so that I could live the rest of my life in a more normal manner, rather then continuing in my behavior for who knows how long, but I guess it would also depend on the behavior and how 'dangerous' it actually was/how much that behavior negatively affected my/and other's daily life---there actually is so many variables now that I think about it that it is impossible to decide definitively which method I would choose for myself....its the do you take the bandaid off slowly or fast thing, both end in the same result the bandaid off, but one has more pain but doesn't last as long and the other has less pain but it last longer. I know for sure though that I would hope someone would at least try multiple times and in different ways to get me past my dangerous behavior towards others rather then just putting me to sleep.

As for myself if I was faced with a horse like Spencer that I needed to 'fix' I'd probably try the slow way, at least for a couple of years and if I wasn't seeing significant improvement I might then consider going to an expert, but if I did go to an expert, I definitely would not subject my 'Spencer' to be part of a demonstration so that the expert would not have the time constrains and opinions of the observers swaying/and pressuring his actions, instead the expert would only have his beliefs/philosophies and the horse to consider in how to accomplish the 'fix'

anyway just some thoughts that were rambling around in my head...

Someone read this on SC and asked me to post it here.....

I don’t know how to explain this without being graphic….but I think there are just so many people who DON’T understand abuse. There are 4 incidents, that come to mind with 3 separate clinicians. All are NH, all are out to help the horse. All involve force to achieve the outcome desired in a short period of time. All have received attention, both by supporters and critics. At least 3 have been well discussed on this (SC) forum. All 4 incidents had the desired positive outcome. This post is in no way shape or form, to lay any kind of judgement or accusation….just a window into maybe a different perspective……the horses perspective.......

thru MY eyes, thru MY pain, thru MY experiences, I will tell you what "I" see.

Lets say you have young girl, 18yo and a virgin. It is the first night of her honeymoon, of her arranged marriage. She met her husband for the first time at the alter. He is an older man, and not nessicarily a loving man. He expects what he expects when they go to bed. She is frightened, it is painful and she resists. He persists. If he does not get his way, he beats her. This goes on for years, and nothing changes. She still is afraid of him in the night, though during the day, they have an amicable agreement and all is well. One day, he cannot take her rejection any more and sends her to a friend of his, to ‘help’ her through her ‘issues’. This man does not speak her language. She cannot understand what he is asking of her. She runs from him, but he catches her. He ties her hands together to the posts of the bed, and through pressure and release he teaches her, her duties and responsibilities, for her own good. At one point he had to gently wrap his hands around her neck until she almost passed out. It only takes one night, but thru gentle conditioning, she learns to handle it and stop resisting. She returns to her husband, and is able to be with him with out fight or resistance, he no longer has to beat her, and together, she even comes to enjoy him.

Does ANY of this sound right to you? Do you think the friend, while gentle did NOT force her? Do you think that because it was for her own good, and she no longer gets beat, spending the night with the gentle friend was not abuse? Do you think it was not against her will? Do you think she NEEDED this to be happy? But most importantly……Do you think there could have been a better way? Do you think that maybe counseling in the art of kindness for the husband would have been a better way for HER?

Sorry to be so graphic…..but I truly do not think people REALLY understand what is going on half the time, and do not REALLY put themselves in the shoes of the horse and REALLY try to see if from THEIR perspective…..simply because of the outcome or the name of the 'FRIEND"

Tigerlily, do you happen to ride a gelding?


I am thinking about this Michelle, in the context of this thread and my past experiences laying horses down.

I think you are right that in the case of the young woman, SHE was not the problem, but the whole situation of an arranged marriage, the attitude of spousal duties, and a woman's vs man's role.   Counseling was definitely on order, but I say that coming from what is our cultural norm.  In the case you describe, the entire culture needs counseling IMO.

When taken to the case of Spencer, I do believe there is a better way to fix this horse then forcing him to submit.   Getting him to willingly submit is much better BUT it is also very time consuming.   I'm not talking years, but at least several days.   When a horse like Spencer is taken to any of these clinicians (and the same thing would have happened with many NH or traditional clinicians), it was for a 'quick fix.'   Would any of these clinicians have helped the horse and owner with the problem if he hadn't fixed the problem that weekend?  Undoubtedly not.  

Unless you have a horse like this, and are in this position, it is very hard to arm chair quarterback the proper response.  

Very much like the Catlwalk incident, it DID solve the problem.   Was there another way?  Probably.   But the point is to solve the problem.

Jack wrote:
Tigerlily, do you happen to ride a gelding?


No...Mares mustang is gelding.....not broke to ride yet

Interesting thread. Lets try a different scenario than Tigerlily's.
It is the late 1800's and a child who has injured a leg now has advancing gangrene. There is no anesthetic, and if the leg isn't removed below the knee, the child will surely die. Father and uncle hold the child down while the doctor removes the leg. Fortunately for the child it passes out during the procedure, but because of it, the child will live.
 Or the removal of a lodged bullet in early cowboy times. Is it better to forgo some necessary pain and die because of it?

Since nobody has mentioned it, perhaps no one else is familiar with Professor Beery's methods?  In 2006 Andy Curry was advertising it as 108 year old horse training guide. My parents bought it for me in the '60's, when I was a teenager. He used to lay a horse down, and then prove to it no matter how bad things got, it would survive. I believe there is a pic of him standing on the horse firing a gun.
 There was an illustration of the running W, but is was not something I ever tried. However, he did have a simple method for putting a horse down. (No, not as in dead)
He would tie a front leg up with a strap around the forearm and cannon. Horse already had a surcingle and halter on with a rope run from the surcingle to the halter and back on the opposite side  of the tied up leg. If the left leg was tied up, pulling  on the rope brought around the horses right haunch would bring his head around to the right and he would go down on his left knee, then  more tension  around the haunch would bring the horse down on his left side.
 Unfortunately my 1200 lb gelding did not read the manual, and could run just as fast on three legs as my little 110 lb body could go. Eventually he got tired, and it worked like it was supposed to. I just kept him down for awhile, and then let him up. I would often catch him just looking at me, and I swear I could hear him wondering "How did she do that?" He had a changed attitude in that he had 100% more respect for me. No longer did I get dragged at the end of the lead shank, and we had a relationship I think few are lucky to have. I used it on him a few more times and eventually I could pick up his leg and just pull his head around with a rope and he would lay down. He was a very smart horse, and learned a lot of tricks as well.
When I got the course, it promised if you had any problems or questions, to write and they would try to answer. I asked how to teach a horse to jump, and got a very detailed reply.
We went on to compete both hunter and jumper, and did very well, especially after I got some lessons to improve my own form.
I also did this with my half Arab mare, who was much easier to get to lay down. When I let her up, her impression seemed to be "So what was that all about?" and I never found one iota of difference in her manner.
A few years ago I acquired an Arabian stallion who'd been shown to the point he had a lot of issues and had been sent to a trainer to resolve them. Apparently it never happened, or he was much worse before I saw him. When my girlfriend got him, he charged her when she was doing the John Lyons circling thing, and soon had her number, so he came to me. He never intimidated me, and we respected each other. I pasture bred him and was bringing him to another field when he swung around while I was opening a gate, and got his hind legs caught in the piece of page wire that was the other half of the gate. Wasn't a pretty picture for a while, and I finally got him tied to a tree so I could go and get some wire cutters. When I came back, (about 15 min later, was a long way to the house)it was getting dark enough it was hard to see, but I could tell he was down. My first thought was he's broke his neck and I haven't even made a payment yet. He was subdued enough I could cut him out of the wire, and from then on he's  a bigger pet than most dogs. Comes when he's called, and is one of the most cooperative horses you'd want to be around.
So maybe there are other ways of looking at it. My father always said no pain, no gain, but I don't think he was talking about purposely inflicting unnecessary pain, but even to become fit, we have to put up with muscle aches.
Personally, given the choice between excruciating pain for the good, and death, I think I'd take the pain!

The DR tour stop I attended if you were a No Dust member you came in with the horses the day before and a special project horse for demo was selected by DR.  I think the lady who was working with her horse could not hear him anymore due to the intenseness of his voice.  It was hard to know at the actual function unless you were in the crowd who he was talking to the student or the crowd?  

Plus, the microphone was turned way up.  

yes, his wife rides beautifully.

It was too much noise for me, personally.  But, might be the way for another person and their horse.

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