What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong is that this is a completely human centric, human dominated way to approach an animal. It comes from an ego-centered need to control. It is not derived from an understanding of the species. For many people, this is a conscious, desired way of interacting with other species (and even with other humans); and for others it is simply because they have never opened their eyes to see another way. To watch this, one sees a condescending attitude toward the woman, and yet she seems in complete awe of these two, not unlike my memories of young girls swooning over the Beatles (ok…I probably did that part too -)). And this same condescending attitude carries over to interaction with the animals (although this intro video clip does not go so far as to work with the animals – it just leaves you with the feeling that these two animal “gods” will “fix” everything).
Can we live and interact with animals without the need for this kind of domineering approach? Absolutely. The “alpha horse” and “pack leader dog” theories were invalidated quite a number of years ago. Apparently not very many people got the message. Jose Schoorl put it this way: “This is so not 2013!” We do not need to resort to these kinds of emotionally and mentally (and sometimes physically) abusive methods. Animals communicate – they do it all the time. We humans have to learn to SHUT UP once in a while and listen. There is no “whispering” to Milan’s & Parelli’s methods. With Parelli’s (and others) methods, yes, you typically get a submissive horse that will do “tricks” for you; you get a horse that will obey your commands. You get a horse that has no depth to the eyes – the soul is lost, the feelings shut down. It’s called learned helplessness – a recognized psychological disorder. That is at least until you meet that one horse in a thousand or more that is very strong willed and doesn’t submit as easily. Then you have to ramp up the physical part; then you get into a fight; then the human gets hurt…then the horse is labeled “crazy” and disposed of.
Learn the participative approach. Learn to SEE the phenomena that exists between you and the animal – that is where the relationship is. It is not in you, it is not in the animal – it is that energetic space in between. It is the dynamic that flows between two beings – of any species.
Photo credit: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Host Cesar Millan and Pat Parelli pose for a picture. (Photo credit © Paul Coneys / MPH – Emery/Sumner Joint Venture)