Monty and Pat Roberts Awarded Paul Harris Fellow

March 2nd, 2017

Media Contact: Debbie Loucks

Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc./Join-Up® International
(949) 632-1856
March 2, 2017 Solvang, California: The Santa Barbara Rotary asked both MONTY & PAT ROBERTS, owners of Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang since 1966, to speak before an accomplished group of business persons about the Roberts non-violent approach to horses. 
 
Pat, an accomplished horsewoman and artist, is a renowned horse sculptor.  In accepting her award, she graciously communicated her love for animals, art and her delight in giving back. Monty clearly communicated his heart “is to leave the world a better place then I found it, for horses and people too”.  His words were an inspiration for the group.  Monty and Pat so clearly demonstrate the central priorities of Rotary in – Truth – Fairness – Goodwill/Better Friendships and action, which are Beneficial for all concerned.  Monty gave an insight into his revolutionary methodologies in dealing with horses.  He clearly abhors violence with horses and is known throughout the world as the “horse whisperer” for his methods of Join-Up with horses and people.  
 
He used this lifetime of experience to establish Horse Sense and Healing in 2010, which supports veterans and first responders who suffer from PTSD.  The Roberts’ Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang offers five weekend long clinics per year, which have served over 700 individuals.
        
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II sent an invitation to Monty to demonstrate his concepts for the Royal Family and the team at Windsor Castle in 1989. She is a life-long horsewoman. The success of this event resulted in Her Majesty’s endorsement of Monty’s work and requesting him to write a book to share his concepts with the world. Uncharacteristically Her Majesty allowed a photo to be published in an English magazine with an article supporting his work. Her Majesty’s interest in Monty’s career over the past 27 years has allowed him to approach his stated life’s goal, “to leave the world a better place than I found it for horses and for people, too.”
Many would consider the Queen’s endorsement of Monty’s nontraditional and revolutionary methods to be the greatest achievement of his career thus far.  Monty continues to travel the world lecturing, advising, training and encouraging his non-violent methods. 

“We had the privilege of presenting the Paul Harris Fellow awards to Monty and Patricia Roberts for their lifelong work with horses.  Monty Roberts is truly an American hero.” said James Stretchberry, Santa Barbara Rotary President during a post speech interview. Stretchberry invited a group to honor the Roberts as guests to the membership which included the Roberts’ daughter Debbie Roberts Loucks, Michael Hollis, Detective at SBPD, fellow Paul Harris recipient, Kyleen Dawson and members of the Join-Up Board of Directors Jo-Ann and Gary Cutshall, from Anaheim, CA and Marsha St. Clair, Montecito, CA.
 
The January 12, 2017 issue of Horse & Hound magazine revealed their list of the 50 greatest horsemen of all time. Across seven pages of this iconic weekly magazine are those men and women from all walks of equestrian life with talents in horsemanship all can admire. Roberts’ photo is prominently placed on the cover which included William Fox-Pitt, John Whitaker and Xenophon. It reads “It was in 1989 that the Californian shot into the limelight when the Queen invited him to Windsor Castle to demonstrate his “Join-Up” technique, and he now visits her up to three times a year to help “start” her horses. To date he has worked with nearly 15,000 horses during his demonstrations, spreading his “non-violent” ethos worldwide.” 
 
 
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Join-Up and Lead-Up Reach Vulnerable Youth

February 27th, 2017

Media Contact: Debbie Loucks
Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc./Join-Up® International
www.Join-Up.org
(949) 632-1856
debbie@montyroberts.com  

Katie Cunningham Lead-Up International
katie@join-up.org 
 

February 27, 2017 Solvang, California: On February 18, 2017 Lead-Up International officially launched in Solvang, California at Monty and Pat Roberts’ Flag Is Up Farms. Lead-Up International, a program of Monty Roberts’ Join-Up International, brought their development team from Guatemala lead by founder Catherine (Katie) Cunningham accompanied by Mindy Grantham who administrates the program and Ricardo Pokorny, Katie’s husband. Ten instructors were certified by Join-Up International to impart Lead-Up workshops in nine different countries. Lead-Up workshops will now be available in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These instructor certifications mean that Monty Roberts will be reaching more vulnerable youth than ever before and creating peaceful leaders around the globe.
 
“Lead-Up International is an original and compelling Leadership Program which aims to reach vulnerable you and create peaceful leaders through workshops with horses.” Katie Cunningham told a sold out crowd at the fundraising demonstration and dinner held at Monty and Pat Roberts’ home. Cunningham is the founder, a lifelong horsewoman and promoter of equine and human welfare.
 
The Lead-Up program is based around workshops with horses in which participants ages 15-22 are introduced to humane ways of handling and interacting with horses. Participants discover non-violence and non-aggression for themselves through interactions with horses and principally through the experience of Join-Up® with a horse, the non-violent training system designed by Monty Roberts author of The Man Who Listens to Horses. Convinced there must be a more humane and effective system to train horses Monty created Join-Up, a consistent set of principles based on the horse’s inherent body language and herd-behavior. The result of Join-Up is a willing partnership based on mutual respect and trust.
 
The Lead-Up team has been developing the program since 2012 and has partnered with global organizations and local NGOs in Guatemala who have expressed the growing need to reduce violence in the communities they serve. Their team is international and varied in their talents but have in common the desire to take these groundbreaking methods to the world. They recently announced that the journal ‘Human Animal Interaction Bulletin’ has published a report by Dr. Judith Gibbons and team with scientific evidence of reduced violence and abuse toward horses and people through the Lead-Up Program.  
 
Monty Roberts Certified Instructors traveled from across the globe to be trained and receive a specialty certificate to hold Lead-Up clinics in their areas. From the United States, Courtney Dunn was certified. From England, Chris Morris and Caron Whaley received their certification. From Hungary, Csilla Csaszar was certified. From Austria, Martina Hoebling was certified. From Brazil, Miguel Lupiano was certified. From Ireland Caitriona O’Meara was certified. From Germany, Denise Heinlein was certified. And from Australia, Caroline Jennings was certified. Also attending was Jerry Sparby from Minnesota who can help support the California courses as a therapist. Debbie Roberts Loucks has been strategic for Join-Up International to help organize the smooth development of this program to take it global.
 
Monty Roberts has been recognized by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who acknowledged his work by honoring him with the Royal Victorian Order and who is also Patron of Join-Up International, the 501 c 3 non-profit formed to educate people in these concepts. The Queen recognized Catherine Cunningham in 2012 for her efforts to reduce violence in Guatemala. Queen Elizabeth is following the development of this program for the humane treatment of animals and trust based relationships with humans.
 
Join-Up International is a California non-profit organization (tax ID 77-0459889) founded by world-renowned horse trainer Monty Roberts. Join-Up is dedicated to promoting gentle, effective alternatives to violence and force in both equine and human relationships. Roberts’ unique and gentle method of using the horse’s own language to achieve breakthrough results is revolutionary, but not magical. Communication is a gift all have and it can be practiced and developed.
 

“My goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it for horses and for people, too.”—Monty Roberts

Join-Up International seeks to foster the adoption of skills among a greater audience, insuring their preservation for generations to come. Join-Up concepts have helped abused women and children, and their abusers, too, as well as special needs children, youth at risk, prison inmates, foster families, children and adults with a history of abuse and war veterans. Lead-Up International is seeking Founding Members to help launch a broader campaign to share these workshops with more organizations, people and horses. For more information about the program or to schedule a presentation, write to katie@join-up.org

Community and family violence are endemic in Guatemala. Lead-Up evaluated the effectiveness of a horse-handling program to reduce violent attitudes and aggressive behavior. Eighteen community members who worked with horses in their daily lives (16 men, 2 women, ages 15 to 58) participated in four weekly sessions of embodied experiences with horses. The program taught Monty Roberts’ Join-Up®, a method of non-violent handling, as well as desensitization of horses to feared objects. Compared to the pretest, on a posttest participants were less likely to endorse violent attitudes with respect to wife-beating, corporal punishment of children, and physical punishment of horses. Their horses also were less reactive to the owner’s approach. Female relatives reported that following the program participants provided better care for horses and were calmer and less aggressive with other people. These findings imply that an equine-facilitated program shows promise for transforming communities in which violence is prevalent. Research study can be accessed at:  http://www.apa-hai.org/human-animal-interaction/human-animal-interaction-bulletin/
Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin 2015, Vol. 3, No. 2, 37-55  “Before, he fought every day with the horse and with me”: Reducing Violence in a Guatemalan Community through a Horse-Handling Program, Judith L. Gibbons 1, Catherine A. Cunningham 2, Leslie Paiz 2, Katelyn E. Poelker 1, & Marco Antonio Montufar Cardenas 3
1 Saint Louis University, 2 La Ronda Equestrian Club, & 3 Fundación Equinos Sanos Para El Pueblo
 
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Join ASK MONTY eNewsletter

February 10th, 2017

Join ASK MONTY! Receive FREE Tips, News, Event Info and Special Stories from Monty each week in your Inbox. The Ask Monty e-newsletter is a great way to stay up-to-date and in-touch with Monty!

 

2017 The Ask Monty eNewsletters

February 7th, 2017

Mar 8.17 Why doesn’t my horse load up?

Mar 1.17 Are you riding a spooky horse?

Feb 22.17 Ask Monty Newsletter: Does your horse chew on reins or slobber straps?

Feb 15.17 Ask Monty Newsletter: How do you deal with an aggressive horse?

Feb 8.17 Ask Monty Newsletter: How can horses help people?

Feb 1.17 Ask Monty Newsletter: This is an extraordinary situation

Jan 25.17 Ask Monty Newsletter: Is it fear or stubbornness?

Jan 18.17 Ask Monty Newsletter: Why single line lunging is bad for your horse?

Jan 11.17 Why does your horse yawn after a training session?

Jan 4.17 Can you do Join-Up with a donkey?

2016 The Ask Monty eNewsletters

February 7th, 2017

Dec 28.16 Where can you get help for a nervous horse?

Dec 21.16 Why are some horses afraid of loading in the trailer?

Dec 14.16 Is your horse a pet?

Dec 7.16 Why do horses yawn?

Nov. 30.16 Is it aggression or lack of respect?

Nov. 23.16 Why does my mini horse avoid eye contact?

Nov. 16.16 Are you ready to stop using force?

Nov. 9.16 Why does my horse refuse to pick up one foot?

Nov. 2.16 Please share this Q&A with other horsemen wherever possible

Oct 26.16 Does your horse have good manners?

Oct 19.16 Do you do Join-Up with every horse?

Oct 12.16 Is your horse impossible to load?

Oct 5.16 Can horses do Join-Up with their tack on?

Sept 28.16 Why does my horse turn into me during longlining?

Sept 21.16 How do you form a partnership without force?

Sept 14.16 What’s your opinion of knotted halters?

Sept 7.16 How do you gentle a wild horse?

August 31.16 What can I do to help my horse be more balanced?

August 24.16 Can you predict a horse’s temperament from hair swirls and facial characteristics?

August 17.16 Can horses get tired of doing Join-Up?

August 10.16 Is there a universal horse language?

August 3.16 What is the most pronounced characteristic of a horse’s personality?

July 27.16 Are you listening to your horse?

July 20.16 What is the vocabulary of Equus?

July 13.16 What is the future of horsemanship?

July 6.16 Has your training approach been tested scientifically?

June 29.16 Are your training methods gentle?

June 22.16 Is it possible to communicate with horses and other animals?

June 15.16 Is Monty the original horse whisperer?

June 8.16 Have you ever had a strange animal encounter?

June 1.16 Isn’t it dangerous to work with horses at your age?

May 25.16 Are you still learning about horses?

May 18.16 Is there a difference between horses from different countries?

May 11.16 Are there more problem horses than ever before?

May 4.16 Is the language Equus changing?

April 27.16 How do you train a horse to jump?

April 20.16 What are horses trying to tell us?

April 13.16 How do stallions know if a foal is theirs?

April 7.16 What do riding and playing golf have in common?

March 30.16 How do you teach your horse to urinate on cue?

March 23.16 Where can I get help for my horse that rears?

March 16.16 What do you love about wild horses?

March 9.16 What one thing do you show people who are skeptical?

March 2.16 How do you train wild horses?

Feb. 24.16 Is it too late to learn how to interact with horses?

Feb. 17.16 What is Monty’s legacy wish?

Feb. 10.16 Does your horse need to see the dentist?

Feb. 3.16 Are those who inflict suffering also suffering?

Jan 27.16 Have you learned everything there is to know about horses?

Jan 20.16 Is Natural Horsemanship an oxymoron?

Jan 13.16 How do you deal with people who criticize your training methods?

Jan. 6.16 How can we reduce violence for horses?

2015 The Ask Monty eNewsletters

February 7th, 2017

Dec. 30.15 Is there anything about horses that’s a mystery to you?

Dec. 23.15 If you could turn back time, what one thing would you change?

Dec. 16.15 How do you deal with a tricky horse owner?

Dec. 9.15 What would you like to change in the world of horses?

Dec. 2.15 What advice would you give to your young self?

Nov 25.15 Do horses get bored?

Nov 18.15 How do you train a horse with a toothbrush?

Nov 11.15 Why have you chosen and developed your methods?

Nov 4.15 After Join-Up, does the horse always want to be with you?

Oct 28.15 Is your horse afraid to travel?

Oct 21.15 Can all horses be reached and helped?

Oct 14.15 How many times do we do Join-Up?

Oct 7.15 Are you being safe with your horse?

Sep 30.15 Is your horse acting like Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde?

Sep 23.15 Are you afraid of horses?

Sep 16.15 Does your horse enjoy baths?

Sep 9.15 Is your horse afraid of people?

Sep 2.15 Your horse hates water?

Aug 26.15 How do I help my horse overcome her fears on the trail?

Aug 19.15 Why do horses respond by moving forward when they hear a cluck (or click)?

Aug 12.15 Do top riders and trainers use your methods?

Aug 5.15 Does it matter if my horse turns toward me or away from me?

July 31.15 What can you do if your horse is head shy?

July 22.15 What are your top three training tips? (Part 3)

July 15.15 What are your top three training tips? (Part 2)

July 8.15 What are your top three training tips? (Part 1)

July 1.15 What can you do about your girthy/cinchy horse?

June 24.15 How do I stop my horse from pulling the reins out of my hands?

June 17.15 Do horses suffer from separation anxiety?

June 10.15 Are we too old to ride?

June 3.15 Can you retrain a horse with a broken spirit?

May 27.15 Can an old horse learn new tricks?

May 20.15 Why do some horses nip?

May 13.15 Can you take too long when starting a horse?

May 6.15 How do you preserve a horse’s sensitivity?

April 29.15 How do I get my horse to settle before the competition?

April 22.15 How do you stop a horse from pawing?

April 15.15 Can I leave the Dually Halter on to haul my horse in the trailer?

April 7.15 How do you stop a pull-back horse?

March 31.15 You say I can catch my horse with a smile?

March 25.15 Can I ride with a Dually Halter?

March 18.15 What should you do when your horse backs up?

March 11.15 Would your horse choose to be with you?

March 4.15 Why don’t we all use bitless bridles?

Feb 25.15 What can you do to create a strong bond with your horse?

Feb 17.15 Is your horse chewing inappropriately?

Feb 11.15 Should I use a bit or a bitless bridle?

Feb 4.15 How do you stop a horse from pawing?

Jan 28.15 How do you achieve a light, responsive mouth?

Jan 21.15 Are you spoiling your horse?

Jan 14.15 How do you stop a horse from pulling back?

Jan 7.15 Do you use voice cues?

 

2014 The Ask Monty eNewsletters

February 7th, 2017

December 31.14 Can the memory of pain continue to affect a horse’s behavior?

December 24.14 Are you afraid of riding your horse?

December 17.14 Have you ever met a troubled pony?

December 10.14 Is it good or bad to let a horse graze in hand?

December 3.14 Is it okay to let my horse rub its head on me?

November 26.14 How do I humanely separate my horse from the cow he lives with?

November 19.14 What do horses need to keep them warm when traveling?

November 11.14 How do you protect your horse from slipping in the winter?

November 5.14 What is the best way to transport horses in cold weather?

October 29.14 Why does my pony bite when being groomed?

October 22.14 Can you do Join-Up with a mini horse?

October 17.14 Why does my horse move in circles?

October 8.14 How can I relax my spooky horse?

October 1.14 Why does my horse turn his hind end towards me?

September 24.14 What kind of lessons can horses help people learn?

September 17.14 Does Natural Horsemanship mean being nice to your horse all the time?

September 10.14 How can you help humans through horses?

September 3.14 What do you think is the best thing about horses?

August 27.14 What were the best and worst experiences you’ve had with a horse?

August 20.14 How should you handle bad stable manners?

August 13.14 What can I do when my horse blasts through the barn door?

August 6.14 How can I ride begin to my horse that rears and bolts on the trail?

July 30.14 When is it time to retire your horse?

July 23.14 What is the best time of day to ride?

July 16.14 What is the best way to wean and halter train a foal?

July 9.14 What to do about an aggressive stallion?

July 2.14 How should I discipline my horse when he is spooky on the trail?

June 24.14 How do you attach plastic bags on a stick for spooky horses?

June 18.14 How do you learn Join-Up with horses?

June 11.14 Do donkeys do Join-Up?

June 4.14 Being consistent with your horse

May 28.14 Do you have to use violence to establish leadership with horses?

May 21.14 My horse won’t stand still

May 14.14 Horses afraid of cows and other farm animals

May 7.14 Horses that refuse to take the bit

April 30.14 What’s Monty’s opinion about horse toys?

April 23.14 Is my horse angry or unhappy?

April 16.14 Moving forward without a whip or crop

April 9.14 Why do some horses bite their flanks?

April 2.14 Do horses need shampooing?

March 26.14 Step by step rituals help horses

March 19.14 Horses with lots of energy that love to run

March 12.14 Are there horse introverts and extroverts?

March 5.14 Is your horse happy?

Feb 26.14 What motivates a horse?

Feb 19.14 The biggest misundertanding about horses

Feb 12.14 Breathe so your horse will learn

Feb 5.14 Dealing with frightening obstacles

Jan 29.14 How to get over being afraid of horses

Jan 22.14 How to bond with your horse

Jan 15.14 Is it a behavioral or a medical issue?

Jan 8.14 Moving your horse to a new place

Jan 1.14 Raising young horses

2013 The Ask Monty eNewsletters

February 7th, 2017

Dec 25.13 Join-Up with young horses that are trusting

Dec 18.13 Learning breathing techniques

Dec 11.13 Standing still for veterinary procedures

Dec 4.13 How to establish good manners

Nov 27.13 Harsh Equipment

Nov 20.13 Starting over with horses

Nov 13.13 The Joys of Working with Horses

Nov 6.13 Horses are hard work but worth it

Oct 30.13 Goal setting and mapping out the future

Oct 23.13 A career working with horses

Oct 16.13 A passion for horses

Oct 9.13 Does your horse try for you?

Oct 2.13 How to be the herd leader

Sep 25.13 Bolting away in fear

Sep 18.13 What is the biggest misunderstanding about horses?

Sep 11.13 Horses and War Veterans

Sep 4.13 What do children and horses have in common?

Aug 28.13 Crossing water

Aug 21.13 Desensitization and distractions

Aug 14.13 Balancing Act

Aug 7.13 PICNICs with horses

July 30.13 Who’s the dummy rider?

July 24.13 How tough should you get with your horse?

July 17.13 How do horses show disrespect?

July 10.13 Behavior problem or pain?

July 3.13 Difficult to catch

June 26.13 Overcoming a traumatic event

June 19.13 How to take violence out of horse training

June 12.13 How sensitive is your horse?

June 5.13 What is a ‘starting gate’ issue?

May 29.13 How to discipline a horse that bites you

May 22.13 Finding the right horse for your discipline

May 15.13 How to bond with a new horse

May 8.13 Teaching a horse to lie down on cue

May 1.13 Building Up a Horse’s Confidence

Apr 24.13 An Education in Horsemanship

Apr 17.13 A Question About Defecation and Nervousness [Part 3]

Apr 10.13 A Question About Defecation and Nervousness [Part 2]

Apr 3.13 A Question About Defecation and Nervousness [Part 1]

Mar 27.13 A Question from Fergus the Spooky Horse

Mar 20.13 Are You Too Old for Horses? [Part 2]

Mar 13.13 Are You Too Old for Horses? [Part 1]

Mar 6.13 Foal Handling

Feb 27.13 No Foot, No Horse

Feb 20.13 The Artificial Arm Prepares Horses for the Farrier

Horse & Hound List of 50 Greatest Horsemen of All Time

January 30th, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Debbie Loucks

Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc./Join-Up® International

(949) 632-1856

January 27, 2017 Solvang, California: The January 12, 2017 issue of Horse & Hound magazine revealed their list of the 50 greatest horsemen of all time. Across seven pages of this iconic weekly magazine are those men and women from all walks of equestrian life with talents in horsemanship all can admire.

Monty Roberts’ photo is prominently placed on the cover which included William Fox-Pitt, John Whitaker and Xenophon. It reads “It was in 1989 that the Californian shot into the limelight when the Queen invited him to Windsor Castle to demonstrate his “Join-Up” technique, and he now visits her up to three times a year to help “start” her horses. To date he has worked with nearly 15,000 horses during his demonstrations, spreading his “non-violent” ethos worldwide.”

“It took quite some time, effort, and maybe just a few differences of opinion, for the Horse & Hound team to come up with our definitive list of equestrian greats,” said Horse & Hound‘s content director Sarah Jenkins. “Fifty really isn’t many and all time is a very long time!”

A total of 11 equestrian sports are represented, from hunting, driving and showjumping to polo, racing and endurance. Read more at http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/50-greatest-horsemen-time-609702#JLz75ZK7drgjiHpv.99http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/50-greatest-horsemen-time-609702

Monty Roberts (Non-Violent Horsemanship)

Thomas Assheton Smith (Hunting)
David Barker (Hunting)
George Bowman (Driving)
David Broome (Showjumping)
Adolfo Cambiaso (Polo)
Sir Henry Cecil (Racing)
Ada Cole (Horse Welfare)
Frankie Dettori (Racing)
Boyd Exell (Driving)
William Fox-Pitt (Eventing)
Yvonne Goss (Team Chasing)
Carlos Gracida (Polo)
George Goring (Team Chasing)
Lucinda Green (Eventing)
Polly Gundry (Point to Pointing)
Joss Hanbury (Hunting)
Cynthia Haydon (Driving)
Carl Hester (Dressage)
Allister Hood (Showing)
Michael Jung (Eventing)
Jennie Loriston-Clarke (Dressage)
Sir Anthony McCoy (Racing)
Richard Meade (Eventing)
Bay Middleton (Hunting)
Rupert Nuttall (Hunting)
Reiner Klimke (Dressage)
Robert Oliver (Showing)
Charles Pahud de Mortanges (Eventing)
Marion Mould (Showjumping)
Sir Lee Pearson (Para Dressage)
Lester Piggott (Racing)
Martin Pipe (Racing)
The Queen (Multi-Discipline)
Colin Rose (Showing)
Jayne Ross (Showing)
Paul Schockemohle (Breeding)
General Jack Seely (Military)
Wendell Robie (Endurance)
Nick Skelton (Showjumping)
Harvey Smith (Showjumping)
Jill Thomas (Endurance)
Sir Mark Todd (Eventing)
Claire Tomlinson (Polo)
Vin Toulson (Showing)
David Turner (Point to Pointing)
Burkhard Wahler (Breeding)
Duke of Wellington (Military)
John Whitaker (Showjumping)
Xenophon (Dressage)

Monty Roberts and his team will be demonstrating in Brazil on March 11-12, in England and Scotland in March and Germany in April on dates and locations found here:

Monty will be working alongside his team demonstrating practical techniques to help your horse with clipping, loading, mounting, bucking and numerous other ground and ridden challenges.

Roberts’ first public demonstrations were in the United States beginning in 1986. They were limited to two or three public demonstrations per year. It was April of 1989 that he was invited by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to demonstrate at Windsor Castle. At the conclusion of one week’s work, Her Majesty arranged for 21 cities and 98 horses more, added to the 23 horses Roberts worked with at Windsor in a five-day period of time. The total on the trip was 121 horses.

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John Brazil, Jr., World Champion Winner of 20 Working Cow Horse Classes

January 12th, 2017

Solvang, January 9, 2017

From Monty Roberts:

Recently, because I am working on my second autobiography, Pat and I have been revisiting memories from my years of professional competition in the event called working cow horse. This competition originated in Spain and Portugal and tested the ability of finely trained horses to control cattle on ranches and open ranges. The Spaniards brought their horses and their horsemanship to the Western United States where they conducted popular competitions calling their four-legged partners, Working Cow Horses.

I began my competitive life at the age of four and was working cattle on horseback as far back as 1940. The working cow horse was celebrated at the largest horse shows in the Western United States. Salinas, California where Pat and I were born, hosted the largest of these competitions throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s.

In 1948 I clearly recall the first time I watched John Brazil Jr. competing on the competition grounds where I was born and raised. John won all three of the categories competed for in that particular year. John, a small man of Portuguese decent, was immediately a hero for me. He rode as if he was part of the horse. Few riders could match his skills at high speed or with the precise maneuvers required.

John had been working for Cutter Laboratories, a West coast company experimenting with animal vaccines. John’s job was handling cattle for them. Simultaneously, W.D. Dana, owner of the Empire State Building in New York City contacted John. He indicated that John had been recommended to him, as he had purchased a cattle ranch near Healdsburg, California. Mr. Dana agreed with John that he could continue to compete on horses purchased by Mr. Dana for the purpose of working cattle. John remained the trainer for Mr. Dana until his death in 1964. At that time a dispersal sale of the Dana horses allowed me to purchase one of John’s young prospects, a mare named Night Mist. I was able to win two world championships on Night Mist and amassed a record of 31 straight victories. Night Mist was one of my most successful working cow horses and is buried here on Flag Is Up Farms.

One segment of the working cow horse competition is called reining, which included flying lead changes and, while running at top speed, sliding stops and spins to illustrate the horse’s sensitive mouth and athletic ability. A second segment of the competition is called (herd work) cutting and requires the horse to control a single bovine animal by keeping it from returning to the herd. The third and final segment is to control a single bovine animal as if it was on the open ranges. The reined cow horse today still competes with one of the widest range of skills of any of the horse competitions.

After the Second World War and entering the 1950s, I began to compete with horsemen at the apex of the working cow horse division. Pat and I became close friends of John Brazil and his wife, Laurie beginning in the mid-1950s. I was in competition with John 20-30 times per year throughout my 20-year career as a professional schooling and showing the working cow horse.

While I competed in a wide range of disciplines, John Brazil specialized in the working cow horse and competed solely in that discipline.

Throughout my professional life in competition I met individuals who had dozens of different personalities and acted with a variety when it came to integrity. John Brazil was and is the epitome of a gentleman. The world of horse competitions is rife with people who would criticize another’s work to judges or anyone who might be inclined to listen. I never knew John Brazil to criticize anyone. This man inspired me to take on the promise to myself that I would never openly criticize another horseman by name in public. I believe this attitude has served me well.

My books, tours travels and executing the decisions I made for my career post-competition retirement, have consumed my life for the past 28 years. About a year ago, while conversing with Al Dunning, a mutual friend and speaking of great horsemen, Al told me that John Brazil at 95 was still alive, healthy and working with his horses. I asked Pat to discover contacts for John and said I wanted to go wherever he now lived and have a good visit. She made arrangements to drive the eight hours to Geyserville, California, a small village in the heart of the northern California wine country.

I must say I have to thank Pat for driving every mile of the 16-hour round trip, but she agrees that it was well worth the effort. Not only did we find John Brazil alive and well, but also his wife, Laurie was right there with him. John was born in 1922 and served with the US armed forces in WW II. John and Laurie were married in 1946 and recently celebrated their 70th anniversary. John is still working with about 10 head of horses and caring for the 20 or so head of cattle he uses for his working cow horses. The four of us visited for five to six hours, finishing with dinner at their favorite restaurant in Geyserville.

In going through John’s stable, it was clear that it might be difficult to place a large Western saddle on the back of these horses. He agreed that in the last several years he used a pulley device he designed and made himself suspended from the rafters. With his invention he could attach his saddle at the level of his waist and then elevate the saddle so he could place it on the back of the horse without having to lift the weight. John then explained to Pat and I that after watching our videos, he has trained his horses to the mounting block, which he now admits to using even though he used it for about five years before admitting that!

John Brazil, Jr. (left), and Monty Roberts (right)

John Brazil, Jr. (left), and Monty Roberts (right)

My goal is to give John Brazil as much credit as I can for influencing me to act in a gentlemanly fashion to those I deal with, whether in the horse business or simply in life itself. Today’s forms of communication are often filled with slanderous remarks toward one another, criticisms of the opinions of our fellow man or just plain being rude for the sake of it. If I were in charge of finding a person who was best suited to molding the character of the next generation, John Brazil Jr. would be my choice.

I have spoken of and written about my eight world championships in the working cow horse discipline. John Brazil won 20 world championships in the working cow horse division. He is humble to the extent that very few people know of him, which is a shame really, but it is truly the story of John Brazil. John has chosen not to be a public figure. At 82, I only hope that I can use John’s influence to encourage the next generation to appreciate the value of integrity, honesty and a respect for our fellow man.