Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts

My current goal is to learn as much as possible about horse training methods and theories -- in about a month, we are moving my horse from the inlaws' place in the country in order to have him nearby. I am very excited, as it has been difficult not to be able to see Panama very often this past year. I want to start working with him, as he has had little to no training, but I need to find out how to start.< The Man Who Listens to Horses is, as it turns out, a great place to start. I've known that I don't want to use any harsh training methods, and Monty Roberts is living proof that I don't have to. His book is very detailed in describing the body language of horses, which he calls "Equus," and how he uses it in order to train them.

Of course, since the book is also told in the style of a memoir, there are plenty to hold one's attention, too. The stories of his childhood, his abusive father, and his early encounters with horses are fascinating. In fact, I stayed up past my bedtime last night because I was so engrossed in the book. :o)

If you are a horse person and have not yet read this book, I highly recommend it. The insights Monty offers are quite valuable for someone who wants to train their horses in a way that fosters a respectful relationship for both parties. And even if you think "gentling" horses instead of breaking them is hokey, you may still find Monty's personal experiences intriguing.


Truthseeker said...

http://HorseWhispersandLies.com sets the record straight about Monty Roberts' father, Marvin, who was actually a very kind and compassionate man. See also the Feb. 1999 expose about Monty Roberts in Horse & Rider magazine.

Katharine Swan said...

Thank you for your comment.

I have registered on the site you recommended and started to skim through the free book denouncing Monty's claims. Although Monty's aunt and cousin claim he is lying, I was struck by something their own book stated:

"'Just watch the show, Mom,' Cheri said. 'He even cries when he talks about it. I wanted to throw up.'"

Don't you think that if their own cousin/nephew had the ability to fake crying and other traumatic emotions, they would have known about it before then?

The fact is that abuse -- whether of women or of children -- is very rarely known by anyone else, even close friends and family. And unfortunately, most abusers are quite charming otherwise, meaning that the victims are never believed, and are often demonized by their own family and friends, just like Monty's aunt and cousin are doing.

Likewise, many people who otherwise seem quite nice believe that you have to be rough and aggressive with horses in order to assert your dominance.

While I can't say for sure that Monty was telling the truth -- anymore than his aunt can say that he was lying, since she obviously was not there during the events described in the book (who beats their child in front of other people?) -- I do have to say that I, for one, believe him.

Truthseeker said...

No one questions that MR is a very talented horseman who has helped people with their horse handling problems. It is doubtful that his father was the monster that MR would have us believe. In Jonathon Turley's article ' A Peddler of Court Gossip May Pay the Piper,' Turley wrote:
> The horse whisperer is identified by Condit's lawyers as Monty Roberts, a man with "a long and notorious history of lying."

I can for a fact, point out what seems to be liberty with the truth, written by MR in his book 'The Man Who Listens To Horses.' He wrote that his horse Dually was a "throwaway horse" and a "cull" from the Greg Ward ranch. I checked the AQHA records for Dually and in fact, the horse had won several thousand dollars in competition before MR got him. The horse was raised and trained by the legendary Greg Ward.

Katharine Swan said...


My response to you actually said nothing about Monty Roberts' horsemanship. I know that's not in question; I don't need you to tell me so. Rather, my post concentrated on explaining why abuse is often not visible to other family members.

Now you are claiming that your discovery proves Monty Roberts is a liar. Does it? I don't think so. A few thousand dollars actually isn't much compared to what the top champions earn...or cost. It is certainly not unheard of to get rid of a horse because he is not winning enough or because of a personality conflict with the horse.

In fact, if the great Greg Ward trained Dually and all he was earning was a few thousand dollars, I bet he was a huge disappointment!

Which would explain why he was culled.