A lot of talk has been going around on horse blogs in the past few days about Chris Irwin's response to the Parelli/Catwalk video. Most of the comments I've been reading are, "who is this guy?"
There are three experts/clinicians that I respect: Alexandra Kurland, Mark Rashid, and Chris Irwin. I first found Chris Irwin last summer before the quarters arrived. What I learned from him proved to be invaluable once I found out what I would be dealing with in them. Coriander was downright disdainful of humans and Gwen was completely wild, it took 10 minutes to halter her and she had developed a nasty habit of rearing when going in and out of her stall. Through Chris's videos on equine body language I learned how to call out Coriander on his rudeness and gain a little respect. When it came to Gwen's rearing issue, I used a dressage whip held over my head to show her I could rear higher and longer than she could, proving that I was worthy of her respect. It worked, she only reared 2 or 3 more times before she gave it up forever, all without any sort of physical altercation. Chris also points out that humans need to be aware of their core and its effect on horses, e.g. if you point your bellybutton straight at a horse's head they see that as being rude and confrontational. Again, I was able to use that information to get Gwen to relax when I was in the stall with her by never "attacking" her head with my core.This information is in his "Barn Manners" videos.
I was so impressed by his insights into riding that I bought his "Riding the Wave" video. One of the techniques he explains are how leg aids should be used in conjunction with the swing of the barrel to facilitate turns without knocking the horse off balance. I used this method for the first time during a lesson and my instructor remarked that the horse must have been feeling really good that day because she'd never seen his stride that big. That was proof enough to me that it worked. I've continued to use his riding techniques to train Coriander under saddle and I'm happy to report that they've worked very well with him. I could easily ride him without a bridle because he responds so well to the leg and seat aids and I attribute most of that to the advice I got from Chris Irwin.
If you want to see previews of Chris Irwin's videos here's a link. (Disclaimer: When watching these last summer the site gave my computer a virus. It was fixed pretty quickly by Malwarebytes, but I wanted to make you aware of it just in case.)