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Monty Roberts

(24 Posts)
BirdOfPassage Sun 07-Aug-11 14:54:17

Any views about him?

AlpinePony Sun 07-Aug-11 15:47:18

Like him (and Kelly marks), but as with all take it with a pinch of salt and actually prefer Richard Maxwell who combines natural with traditional.

soymama Sun 07-Aug-11 15:53:16

I looooove Monty Roberts!!!, seen him twice, breathtaking. Kelly Marks has a stick up her ass. Rude and arrogant IMO. You should read Monty's biography, I cried the whole way through. There are not many men I admire in this world but he's up there with David Attenbourgh in my books!

ExitPursuedByAGryffin Sun 07-Aug-11 15:57:12

Went to see a Monty Roberts demo two days after my mare was pts. I sobbed all the way through it. And through his biography.

kayb123 Sun 07-Aug-11 20:05:35

great man!!!! and for what he has done to/for the horse world. his methords really do work. i would always reconmend this methord to anyone.

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Sun 07-Aug-11 21:38:30

I like him. I like anyone who has a sympathetic attitude to horses. I do know though, that for his demos, he gives his case studies stuff to do in preparation. It's not all a quick fix in the round pen.
I did really enjoy his books though, and also Kelly marks.
Join up is really inspirational, we've done it a few times. There is nothing more heart warming than watching DD do it with her pony.
We tend to cherry pick from the different types of horsemanship, rather than stick to any one, they all have good features.

Mirage Sun 07-Aug-11 21:55:31

I'm reading his books atm.Have got a pile of Kelly Marks books on the 'to read' pile too.I'm really interested in his ideas.

DD1 is eyeing my MR books and asking if she can read them after me,but I don't know if they'd be suitable for her-she is only 7.

Lucyinthepie Mon 08-Aug-11 22:36:21

I don't think the books are suitable for a 7 year old to be honest, not with the stories of child beating and a man being murdered by his father. I read Shy Boy once and sold it on EBay, that was equine abuse in my view.
I give Monty credit for coming over and helping people to think about some things in horse training a bit differently (although if you had a western background it probably wasn't quite so earth-shattering). Having seen a lot of interesting trainers, I don't think he is anywhere near the best. I've seen Kelly Marks several times and was rather underwhelmed. However, I have been lucky enough to see some fantastic, slightly different, trainers so have some pretty subtle and skilled work to compare with.
I have read Horse Whispers and Lies, and I believe what the family say. For the simple reason that so many of the facts that they give can easily be verified (for example the comprehensive rodeo records show that Monty was not out and winning as he claims, and his attendance records at school). As for Join Up, it just didn't happen the way Monty says. He didn't go to the desert to capture mustangs for the rodeo. Why? Because none of the kids who were supposed to have gone could have driven. Also, people involved at the time have confirmed that nobody in their right mind would have trusted the important job of obtaining rodeo horses to a gang of teenage boys. If you read Monty's dad's book, which was published way before Monty was out doing his stuff, he described Join Up quite clearly as a technique he used. He called it Hook Up.
Er, I suppose I'm not a great fan then...
Oh, and the abuse from his father. It's very interesting that a horseman who wasn't well known when Monty wrote his first book was physically abused by his father... Buck Brannaman and his brother were so badly beaten and abused that they were taken into foster care. Buck Brannaman is of course the real inspiration for the book The Horse Whisperer, as confirmed by the author of the book.

CalamityKate Thu 11-Aug-11 19:25:05

That's interesting Lucy - I was about to post that some of MR's claims have been subject to question, but didn't know all the details you posted.

I went to see him years ago at Towerlands. Very impressive.

Tried it on various horses - Join Up is a nice thing to do but I've never "started" a young horse that way.

A bloke I used to work for however DID try to start one. The Join up went fine. Saddling went fine. All textbook stuff until he actually got on, whereupon the horse turned itself inside out and chucked him off lol. He went back to the beginning and broke it the more traditional way.

CalamityKate Thu 11-Aug-11 20:00:33

I've now had a little delve around the internet. Interesting.

One thing that someone mentioned was that he goes on and on about "taking the violence out of horse training" - which implies that violence is the norm.

Also he goes on and on about how few horses started "his" way buck. Well, I used to work on a "breaking" yard and I sat on dozens of horses for the first time, moving on to their first hacks and gentle schooling, and I don't actually remember any of them bucking either. Sure, some horses DO buck later on, often when you start working them "proper" and they're on harder feed, and they're fresh etc.... but bucking as a response to being backed? Nope. Hardly ever happens, if they're broken properly.

We used to make a huge deal of going at the horse's pace. One person holding the horse, petting and feeding it, the other person hopping next to it, slapping the saddle, pulling on the stirrups etc... progressing to putting a foot in the stirrup and hopping some more, leaning over the saddle and so on. Always keeping the horse happy with sweet talk and food. The person holding the horse in fact has to be more experienced than the person doing the mounting; you have to have an "eye for an eye" - be able to tell if a horse is calm and relaxed, or if he's starting to worry a bit. The horse's eye tells all.

We broke several horses that had been written off as unbreakable, with no gimmicks or magic tricks. Just patience and counter-conditioning.

Traditional doesn't necessarily mean brutal - and Monty tends to imply that it does.

shufflebum Thu 11-Aug-11 20:26:18

I agree with alot of the comments posted here especially Lucy
I was lucky enough to be asked to be one of his jockeys at a demo where he did join up and "backed" a section a. He had it walk, trotting and cantering with me on board in a very short space of time but I have no idea if the owners knew what to do with it afterwards! Last I heard it was at a show producers so not really sure why they went to the bother of using MR.
it was an interesting experience for me though and I watched him do some good Despooking work with a farrier phobic horse. Wasn't rocket since though.
Richard Maxwell and Michael Peace get my vote

Pixel Thu 11-Aug-11 21:05:28

"Traditional doesn't necessarily mean brutal - and Monty tends to imply that it does."
That's exactly what I thought when I read his book years ago, I got very cross about him going on and on about violent methods of 'breaking' as if we were all at it! There's a bit at the beginning where he describes breaking a wild untamed filly, unhandled her whole life and terrified. Sorry but he was describing a valuable thoroughbred belonging to the Queen Mother, I hardly think it had been running wild on a moor somewhere untouched by human hand! Plus, horsemen employed by the Royal family are unlikely to use violent methods to 'break' horses, more likely the filly would have been gradually and gently introduced to the idea of carrying a rider. He wasn't rescuing her from some awful fate!
The other part that really stuck in my mind was when he had a dangerous stallion that had to be handled by men with 8 ft poles and restrained in a crush to get tack on it. He designed and built a system whereby the horse could be looked after without anyone ever having to go in an enclosure with him and then carried on using him for breeding for 12 years. I couldn't believe he would risk passing on such a temperament to another generation of foals but I suppose it was all about the money.

catinboots Thu 11-Aug-11 21:08:42

Top Twat. Packaging and branding methods that great horsemen/women have been doing forever.

Lucyinthepie Thu 11-Aug-11 23:10:53 You used to be able to dowload the book for free, I see it is now available on Kindle. If anyone wants a read you can pm me as I have a copy.
The problem with people using Join Up and trying to copy what Monty and co do is that they don't really understand what they are doing or what to look for in the horse. So they can easily proceed too quickly and before the horse is ready. If they have over-done the Join Up then the horse will appear still and calm, but have gone into itself and be like an unexploded bomb. I actually saw Kelly Marks doing this to a young horse in a demo once and it was a mess, very unfair on the horse too.
I have started horses in a way that is similar to Parelli, so I know that a horse can be backed nicely by one person working alone and with very simple equipment. Sometimes horses need to buck a bit with the first saddling (but not often). However, if a horse wants to buck when I first get on (bareback) then I've gone too fast and it's my fault. I don't think the process should be forced , and I believe that Join Up is actually a forceful method.
I've had the same thoughts about his work with the Queen's horses, they are hardly unhandled, feral beasts are they? In fact, that is what made me first pause for thought about Monty. I went to a big demo he did, where he backed a young horse. Much was made about how it hadn't been handled... and yet it had been loaded and transported from Scotland...! It also had remarkably tidy feathers, mane and tail, for a wild animal.
Much is made of his visit to the Queen. The Queen is interested in all sorts of horsemen and gets them in to visit. Pat Parelli and some of his gang went to see her as well a few years back.
I think some of the Intelligent Horsemanship associates are very good, normally those who have thought a bit outside the box and expanded their learning a bit further. The work done by the man himself and some of those who remain more pure to the source is pretty rough and ready imho.

Lucyinthepie Thu 11-Aug-11 23:12:32

p.s. I've heard some not so good things about Michael Peace and Richard Maxwell too, but I just decide for myself when I've had a chance to watch the trainers work.

Loshad Thu 11-Aug-11 23:54:44

agree with everyone else (netmums hugs grin)
I've been backing and breaking horse for many years, taught by my now deceased uncle who'd been doing even more years. It was always about calmness and lack of violence - i've a fab collection of pre-war horse books and brute force isn't recommended once. Very arrogant of MR to assume he was the first person to start/break a horse in a non violent manner!
Did use a MR associate once for a very difficult rearer (after dear uncle had passed away), and she was helpful, but she had a solid eventing background and a lot of prior experience in many equestrian fields.
Disclaimer : above makes it sounds like i break horses all the time, used to do lots, now i'm talking about a fairly rare event.

Lucyinthepie Fri 12-Aug-11 08:34:20

I have Monty's dad's book, Horse and Horseman Training, which makes it clear that he wasn't an abusive horseman either. Certainly he wasn't quite what we're used to these days, but he cared for the horses. The infamous photo of him with a horse tied and laid down is demonstrating how to immobilise a horse for a medical procedure or emergency. If you google horse medical rescue you can see that they do things in a very similar fashion now, for the safety of the horse.

AlpinePony Fri 12-Aug-11 09:10:08

It is nonsense (I think) that "traditional methods" equal brutality - although if just one person hears of intelligent horsemanship and realises that a punch between the eyes is not a "great" way to treat an animal then it'll be worth it. hmm My friends & family have always handled horses when they're young, but the backing/"breaking" was left until they were much more mature - sometimes even as late as 6 - I don't even know if that's traditional or hippy!

I think that's why I like Richard Maxwell so much, it's common sense of course, but it's a little more "real" and "practical" than a lot of the IH stuff.

Of my two horses, my mare joins up beautifully, and I would never have turned my back on my gelding - the one time I did he reared up and put me on the ground! I got an RA (Recommended associate) out after that incident as I was scared shitless and like loshad said, this wasn't someone solely with IH background, but someone with a varied and thorough background. She was absolutely wonderful actually and stayed overnight at my house as she'd had to travel quite a distance. She also agreed - "don't try join up with this one"!

AlpinePony Fri 12-Aug-11 09:11:16

Lucy I spent a bit of time on a ranch in the canadian rockies a few years back and saw this "immobilisation" of horses taking place. If I'd read about it in a book I'd have been horrified - but to see it in practice, it was all very calm and quiet, not brutual at all.

Mirage Fri 12-Aug-11 09:12:34

Pixel-I thought that too.I was fully expecting him to say that they never used it for breeding again.Very irresponsible.shock

marialuisa Fri 12-Aug-11 09:36:03

Mirage-if your DDs are interested Lynn Henry's "Think like a pony" books are good and pitched at kids. They helped DD a lot with understanding where Dpony is coming from.

Mirage Fri 12-Aug-11 13:20:06

Thankyou marialuisa-I'll look out for them.Although I'm sure that all our pony ever thinks about is 'can I eat it or will it eat me?'grin

Lucyinthepie Fri 12-Aug-11 17:26:13

This is a nice site for pony-mad children, written from a slightly natural horsemanship sort of angle. I've seen the book and it's very good. This is great as well

Mirage Fri 12-Aug-11 21:29:10

Thankyou Lucy,that looks just up the dd's street.

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