Does it matter what words you use with your horse?

August 15th, 2017

Monty’s Answer:

Dear Gale,

Thank you for asking the question regarding horses and how they process words and or sounds. Please be aware that I am fully in favor of all of the statements made by our online student, Kiki, below who took the Monty’s Challenge and sent her answer in. She gives us a fairly comprehensive answer, and I agree with each of the elements outlined in her answer. The only comments I would make to expand upon that answer is that there was no reference to diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing is that practice whereby we can use that diaphragm (flat muscle separating lungs from intestines) which can extend by dropping down, an act which causes the thoracic cavity to become significantly enlarged.

Causing the area of the lungs to be larger does more than just allow for a greater volume of air. When this occurs, it automatically lengthens our vocal chords. Any singing, acting or speech coach will tell you that diaphragmatic breathing will lengthen the vocal chords, consequently enriching the quality of voice. Breathing high or raising the diaphragm will cause it to take on a dome shape. This shortens the vocal chords and reduces the volume of air. Adrenaline will automatically tend to cause the human anatomy to elevate the diaphragm.

Conversely the reduction of adrenaline will tend to cause the human anatomy to power the center of the diaphragm, creating the desired affect. It seems clear to me that the earliest riders learned to cause their horse to relax, stop and also to stand still when they said the word ‘Whoa.’ Horses will habituate to virtually any sound, so you could teach a horse to stop when you say, “YIKES!” But the word Yikes tends to cause the human to breath high in the chest which does not allow for diaphragmatic breathing. Your horse will eventually stop when you say Yikes! but he will habituate more successfully when you say Whoa!

Recently, I met a man named Dr. Peter Levine. He took me one step further and said “Why don’t you try the word Voooooo (rhymes with Booooo).” Wow! When I tried it, I quickly learned that putting your lower lip behind your front teeth to make the V sets one up to more easily lengthen the vocal chords and you begin to use the letters OOOOO. I tried it by alternating the Whoas and Vooos. Surprisingly I discovered that the Vooo does cause a greater vibration within the chest cavity. Should one choose to school your horse with the Vooo it is my opinion that you will be more successful than using the word Whoa. Give this one a try on your own.

It is likely that I am the first person to ever write about what causes a horse to go faster when using a high squeak or cluck. Defining the act of causing a horse to go faster by using the kissing or clucking sound undoubtedly relates to a response to a predator breaking twigs in the bush, forest or chaparral. I learned it in a funny way by watching a David Attenborough documentary and realizing that the lioness moves her advancing foot sideways a few strokes to clear any twigs from the ground before pressing her weight down which would undoubtedly break the twigs signaling the prey animal to get the heck out of there.

As our student Kiki below suggests, one can train any action with any word depending on the number of times that you use the word and request the action. To enhance the learning process, if one uses the closest sound to what innately produces the desired action, the faster one can expect to get the desired results. If you want to take a long time to teach your horse to stop, run him fast and yell out Yikes! You will eventually get it but your horse might be very old and unable to run fast at that point. As horsemen each of us should be working hard to meet the needs of our horse by giving him the clearest possible communication.

From our student Kiki:

To me this is a two-fold question. Are you just “making friendly conversation, or are you teaching a command?

On the first situation, I would say that I do believe they appreciate – sometimes even need – that we talk to them, but words or language is of no importance since horses aren’t using words themselves, nor have a proper spoken language. The important thing is how you use your voice.

Let’s agree that you can influence a horse a lot with your voice, like you can soothe a horse by talking in soft, low tones. Contrary, I knew a lovely person once who made all animals jumpy and nervous simply because she had a very sharp, shrill voice and talked very fast.

(And here I could go into personalities and body language as well, since talking slowly and softly generally slows you down, making you appear calmer – and I’m sure your mental picture of the shrill voiced person is of someone with jerky, fast movements – but I digress.)

Now, if you angrily scold your horse with the words: “Good boy!”, or murmur loving praise by saying: “I’m gonna kill you, you dirty ape” (or whatever expletive that comes to mind) the horse will still react to your tone of voice, not the words because (I believe) they communicate more with emotions and body language than we do.

Mind you, repetition creates mindsets, so maybe not use “good boy” too much to berate your horse or it just might get an unintended reaction once you use it to praise…

And with that caveat in mind I am moving on to the other situation: teaching a command.

Some research has established that horses can be compared with 3-year old kids in intelligence when it comes to understanding and capability of learning, so they are supposed to be able to learn over a 100 different words.

And we do use a lot of word cues and various clicking of tongue sounds with our horses; Whoa, trot, lift the foot, stand still, no – and so on. So, obviously, they can learn and understand quite a lot of words and other cues/signals once we have repeated it enough times for them to understand.

The important thing here is not confusing a horse with different signals for the same thing or vice versa; same word for different things.

If you want him to trot at the word “Pie!” then you should always use that word for trot and nothing but trot.

Likewise, if you want him to stop at the word “Custard!” you can’t also use it to slow him down, or shout five other words at him until he actually stops.

So words are important then? Well, yes and no, just mind the difference!

General communication with your horse is based more on immediate emotions – like when we separate wanted and unwanted behavior by way of praising or scolding, calming or exciting noises. Or just “hang out”, being in each others company.

Commands/cues are clear and (preferably anyway) void of emotion, asking promptly for a specific reaction. For example, you don’t generally modulate your tone of voice to get either trot or canter, but you do when you reward the following effort.

Summary: Tone of voice is more important than what words you use in communication. But words repeated enough times to be connected to a specific event/reaction will eventually be understood by the horse. What words/sounds/cues you decide to teach him is up to you, so choose with care – and have fun communicating with your horse!

Kiki

Spanish Riding School Invites Monty Roberts

June 30th, 2017
Vienna, 2017: The world-famous horse trainer Monty Roberts, also known as “horse whisperer”, stops on the 2nd July 2017 at the Spanish Riding School.

The Spanish Riding School is very pleased to be able to spontaneously invite Monty Roberts to a show at the winter school after his short visit in April. The world famous horse trainer will come to Vienna on the first weekend in July, where he will demonstrate his art of horse communication on Sunday evening. While the Lipizzan horsemen of the Spanish Riding School enjoy their summer holidays at the Heringsberg training center, Monty Roberts will be showing his program with horses of different origins.


The traditional Spanish Riding School, where the art of classic dressage education has been cultivated for more than 450 years, has opened its doors for the first time for a show of the now 82-year-old Monty Roberts. The man, whose understanding of horses is characterized by body language, demonstrates his method Join-Up® with four horses. Three classic horse themes will be shown – the start of a raw horse, the handling of terrifying horses and a loading operation.


Monty Roberts’ training is based on the natural behavior of Equus, the flight animal, which recognizes intent and will follow and work with a trustworthy horseman. Monty sees himself as gentler of horses who encourages all breeds to a trusting relationship with humans in all disciplines. Monty Roberts accepted his invitation to demonstrate at the Spanish Riding School with great joy for the opportunity. For him, as he says modestly, a dream is fulfilled. But also for the Spanish Riding School it is a great honor to welcome him as a guest.


Tickets are now available online at 
www.srs.at available here: http://www3.oeticket.com/srs/de/tickets/monty-roberts-wien-spanische-hofreitschule-466572/event.html 

For further information and interviews, please contact Andrea Kerssenbrock, Head of Communications Spanish Riding School, 
presse@srs.at 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Horse Sense and Healing Receives Grant Award from Disabled Veterans National Foundation

June 1st, 2017
Monty Roberts’ Horse Sense and Healing Program is honored to announce it has received a grant from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) that will fund several weekend programs of resilience-building workshops for veterans, police, fire, first responders and their families. The three-day program involves working closely with horses. The individuals and horses develop a special bond built upon mutual trust and respect. 

Join-Up® is the method Monty Roberts discovered by observing the gentle nature of horses. Horse Sense and Healing offers effective tools to rediscover attendees through the eyes of the horse. This self-awareness exercise deals effectively with emotional trauma, anti-social behavior and withdrawal, anger, stress, combat stress and even Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). Roberts and his team have been working with persons suffering from PTSI, over the course of five separate recent clinics each year since 2011. The results are coming in, and the outcome is fantastic and have people laughing and getting back to a normal life who have been afflicted with PTSI for upwards of 35 years.

Roberts holds two Ph.D.s in Behavioral Sciences. In these workshops, he demonstrates the deeply healing power of establishing a trusting relationship with horses without the use of force. With his soft-spoken, nurturing style, Roberts assists veterans as they learn to cause a partnership with the horse. After three transformational days, veterans can better understand how to control their anger, confront painful memories, cope with real-life situations and move on with their lives and relationships.

Pat Roberts, Executive Director of Join-Up International said, “We are very pleased to accept this generous donation from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. It will be used to build trust back in to our service personnel who have served our country and communities.”


Joseph VanFonda (USMC Sgt. Maj. Ret.), CEO of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation was instrumental in the placement of grants. http://dvnf.org/news/

Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to provide critical needed support to disabled and at-risk veterans who leave the military wounded – physically to psychologically – after defending our safety and our freedom. DVNF achieves this mission by: 
  • Providing an online resource database that allows veterans to navigate the complex process of seeking benefits that they are entitled to as a result of their military service, as well as additional resources they need.
  • Offering direct financial support to veteran organizations that address the unique needs of veterans, and whose missions align with that of DVNF.
  • Providing supplemental assistance to homeless and low-income veterans through the Health & Comfort program and various empowerment resources.
  • Serving as a thought leader on critical policy issues within the veteran community, and educating the public accordingly.
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Monty Roberts Recognized for Several Equine Media Awards

June 1st, 2017

The latest announcement came from one of the oldest, most traditional equestrian programs on earth, The Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. Monty Roberts is being asked to attend and demonstrate his gentle horse training techniques Join-Up® for the international Equinale® Horse Film Festival at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna July 2, 2017. Their motto is “Our Horses – Our Stars” and presents its film screenings and other highlights in the halls of the Spanish Riding School where the famous white Lipizzaner Stallions perform. The Equinale® is the first German-language horse film festival. Both professionals as well as amateurs and artists have submitted their works for the contests.

Earlier this year Monty was nominated for the 2017 Equine Industry Vision Award annually given by the American Horse Publications, the first major award to showcase innovation across the equine industry. Sponsored by Zoetis, the award is intended to recognize ingenuity and service.

Just last week, Monty Roberts and director Jeanine Moret were nominated for “Whisper” as a Finalist in the Music Video Category for Equus International Film Festival (EIFF) which will open the Festival as the featured music video in September 2017. EIFF showcases a wide range of programming and media, on equine stories, topics and issues that bring awareness and understanding to all things equine. EIFF celebrates the magnificence of the horse and the people who value and treasure the equine arena and devote their lives to giving a voice to Equus.

Janet Rose, founder of EIFF wrote to Monty saying “Music is a powerful medium for conveying important messages and information. When a musician and a filmmaker and a horseman can blend and weave their specialized components into an audio tapestry, they have achieved something special. It is not only that “Whisper” provides great information and great music, but the lyrics bring the elements together into an inspirational, beautiful song that has meaning and impact, and that creates a powerful message for the horse-loving and music-loving masses.” https://equusinternationalfilmfestival.com/

For the American Horse Publication’s June conference, Monty Roberts has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 AHP Equine Media Awards for material published in 2016. HorsemanshipRadio.com has been selected as a finalist in the division of Equine-related Podcast, Horsemanship Radio Special Episode – Priscilla Presley on the Tennessee Walking Horse Situation published September 2, 2016.

Priscilla Presley shares stories about riding Tennessee Walking horses at Graceland and how much they meant to Elvis Presley and her. She shares her hopes for passing laws to better protect the Tennessee Walking horse breed. Keith Dane, Senior Adviser on equine protection tells us how we can help. Hear how Elvis surprised her with a horse for Christmas. Listen here: http://www.horsemanshipradio.com/2016/09/02/special-episode-priscilla-presley-on-the-tennessee-walking-horse-situation/

Monty Roberts’ life’s goal is “to leave the world a better place than I found it, for horse and for people too.”

Horsemanship Radio is an online radio show (podcast) dedicated to the exploration of good horsemanship throughout the world. Hosted by Debbie Roberts Loucks (Monty Roberts’ Daughter) the show includes segments, tips & interviews exploring good horsemanship. Part of the Horse Radio Network. Support for this podcast provided by MontyRobertsUniversity.com OmegaFields.com www.Cavallo-inc.com

The vision statement for the American Horse Publications is: “American Horse Publications (AHP) strives to be the primary source of education, resources and networking for the equine media community. We believe a proactive approach in an ever-evolving communications-driven world allows us the flexibility and opportunity to promote, support and reward excellence in equine media.”

 

 

 

 

Monty Roberts Joins the Water Hay Oats Alliance

April 27th, 2017

April 27, 2017 Solvang, California: Monty Roberts spent six years in University and received doctorates in Behavioral Sciences from University of Zurich and University of Parma. Along with his wife, Pat, he built and operates Flag Is Up Farms, a renowned horse training facility along the central coast of California near Santa Barbara. In Monty’s words, “My life’s goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it, for horses and for people too.”

Roberts issued the following statement:

“Recent circumstances have served to bring me to a final conclusion regarding the organization WHOA. This organization supports the notion that horses should perform in racing without the assistance of drugs. The initials stand for Water, Hay, Oats Alliance.

It has been my life’s passion to teach trainers, owners, and lovers of horses to treat them with respect and in the most positive light possible. So, recently I decided to seek the advice of many whom I believe to be at the top of their professions to help me analyze the factors for clean racing as proposed by WHOA.

It shocks me to realize that certain statements have been made to me over my years in the horse industry that are absolutely false when it comes to the use of drugs. Lasix sits at the heart of drug use with Thoroughbred horses in the United States. Those of us who travel the world in this industry realize that virtually all of the other racing countries execute their racing under the guidelines proposed by WHOA. There, the horses race and the industry goes forward, drug free.

For the past few decades, one could open the racing program at any track in the United States and see that most of the entries performed with the circled L behind their name. Several different veterinarians personally told me that approximately 80% of the horses in racing in the U.S. are bleeders needing Lasix.  But recently I learned from high-level individuals that studies show it is more likely that a realistic number of horses in which bleeding is a significant problem would be in the area of 2-4%, not anywhere near the 95% of those horses who raced on Lasix last year.

Also, many years ago it came to my attention that Lasix encumbered the testing procedures so as to mask performance-enhancing drugs. I am now of the opinion that many people actively engaged in racing have either been misinformed through ignorance or misinformed for monetary reasons.

My goal is for us to be as fair with the horses as we possibly can be. After decades of studying the issue and listening to knowledgeable veterinary experts, I have looked at both sides of this issue and I am hereby casting my support to WHOA and its efforts to bring about medication reform.  It humbles me to be included on the list of these legends of our industry.

WHOA has raised awareness that the Thoroughbred industry has public relations issues that will not likely go away without change in the administration of drugs. For the health and welfare of our horses, I ask people to study the issues and support WHOA’s efforts to improve our industry and the lives of our partners, the horses.”

Monty Roberts
Flag Is Up Farms

Podcasts on a Plane, Surprise

April 13th, 2017

Traveling to Brazil recently left me with lots of time to fill. The back of the seat in front of me provided my inflight safety information rather than the human who usually does, so I was drawn to the selection of entertainment offerings as soon as the flight took off. Movies are fine, TV not so much. But I smiled when I saw audio books and podcasts on the list. When did that become a thing? I closed my eyes (something you can’t do with video) and dove in to podcasts.

Over 35 million people listened to podcasts weekly in 2016. Overall, podcast listening increased from 11% to 36%, translating into an estimated population of 98 million (Edison Research). Even more, 21% of Americans over age 12 have listened to a podcast in the past month growing since a 12% share in 2013 (Pew Research, January 28, 2017). The podcast audience is bigger than you think. Podcast growth is being driven by mobility and horse people are mobile!

Everyone is the horse industry should have a position in this podcast movement. It happens on your phone, in your ear, at the barn and in your truck. That means you should be a guest or market your service  or product there to find your people. Yes, you have people. You can find specific topics and disciplines to educate and entertain. One thing we all should know is
that Horses are Horses and we can learn from all.

The Horsemanship Radio podcast began as a way to share good horsemanship knowledge and now has 85 episodes on demand with about 200 guests and the greatest diversity of subjects you can find in equestrian programming. In 2016 they had 12,120 unique listeners per month and a total of 239,447 downloads. That was up about 20% over 2015. In that year they produced
25 episodes with over 28 hours of programming with over 40 guests.

In January of 2017 they had 10,955 unique listeners and 17,309 downloads. In February they had 10,558 unique listeners and 17,737 downloads.

The Top Three Episodes:

1.    Trainer Satish Seemar, Arthur Robinson Dixon From South Africa
2.    Dr. Veronica Fowler: Study Shows Join-Up Benefits Horses
3.    Unbranded Documentary Star Ben Masters, American Polo Star Nic Roldan, Monty Roberts Trainer’s Tip

Countries:
USA-69%
UK-8%
Australia/NZ-6%
Canada-4%
Germany-2%
Sweden-1%
Others-10%

The show covers all aspects of good horsemanship and training. Horsemanship Radio’s variety of guests create a show that is smart, educational and entertaining. Horsemanship Radio wants to hear from you about taking a position in this podcast about good horsemanship.

For more information about becoming a listener, sponsor, or guest, visit
HorsemanshipRadio.com, call (949) 632-1856, or email debbie@montyroberts.com

Horsemanship Radio can also be found on iTunes https://
itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/horsemanship-radio-episodes/id657184487 and Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.horseradionetwork.hrn

Show Sponsors: IFA.com, OmegaFields.com, MontyRobertsUniversity.com

Monty Roberts Appearances in the USA

April 13th, 2017

Monty and Pat Roberts are pleased to announce three USA demonstrations in the coming months. The international growth of non-traditional and violence-free training of horses since 1996 when Monty’s autobiography The Man Who Listens to Horses was published, has drawn Monty to travel for over 25 years now. It is rare when Monty is able to demonstrate his mastery of horsemanship in the United States. His Flag Is Up Farms will host three events this spring and summer.

On May 13, Monty and Pat Roberts host NIGHT OF INSPIRATION

Your party will be welcomed to beautiful Flag Is Up Farms to watch Monty Roberts put a saddle and a rider on a horse for the first time. Witness first-hand the powerful relationship of trust and communication between a horse and a human. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional BBQ dinner with New York Times Bestseller, ASPCA “Man of the Year”  and Horse and Hound’s Top 50 Greatest Horsemen of All Time Monty Roberts and sculptress Pat Roberts in their hilltop home. This unforgettable event is great for the whole family.
The Night of Inspiration starts at 5:00pm, but if you would like to tour the Farm prior to the event, you are welcome to arrive early and walk the grounds on our 75-acre Farm. Our office will be opening at 3:30pm that day if you would like to pick up anything for the signing later that evening. There is horse training taking place daily, with many different breeds.

Monty will demonstrate his signature Join-Up®, starting a horse to his first saddle and rider in about 30 minutes. His history of starting horses since he was a young person inspires people to develop their skills in building trust and communication between horse and human.  PRICE: $199 USD

On July 10-21, Monty will teach the GENTLING WILD HORSES: 10 DAYS

This course will give students the opportunity to use Monty’s non-violent methods with ‘untouched’ horses. Students will observe and have ‘hands-on’ lessons according to their levels of skill. They will work in the unique facility, the ‘IFA Untouched Gentling Pen,’ which is designed for the humane treatment of wild horses, and the safety of horse and handler.

Be part of the experience of horse’s first touch by human hand and of the process, which allows them to be haltered, led, groomed and have their feet picked up. It is a fantastic way to learn more about the nature of the horse, as ‘untouched’ horses are a very good ‘mirror’ to learn more about oneself as well. This course is open for everyone, but ‘hands-on’ sessions will be limited to the skill set of each individual. A Rosette of Accomplishment will be provided upon completing the course.

On July 31-August 4 Monty will teach the MONTY’S SPECIAL TRAINING: 5 DAYS

Witness what created a revolution in horsemanship and open your mind to a whole new perspective on your horse’s methods of communication and behavior. Experience what hundreds of students have discovered at Monty Roberts International Learning Center; a wonderful learning environment where you will enjoy the staff, meet new friends and return home with a better understanding of your equine companion. Every horse enthusiast can find lessons below to fit their interests.

A unique opportunity to be at Flag Is Up Farms with Monty, watching, asking questions and learning as Monty and a team of his Certified Instructors work with a range of young and remedial horses. By observing this renowned and gifted horseman, you gain first-hand knowledge during demonstrations, lectures and discussions. This class is for the novice, as well as the advanced student, to observe a master at work practicing his discoveries that have changed the horse world internationally.

Monty shares how to communicate with horses in their natural language in various situations during this intensive five-day class. This exclusive format helps you better understand problem solving using Monty’s violence-free training methods. Depending on the horses brought in to train that week, these issues may be a part of the course:

• leadership issues
• ground manners
• teaching to tie
• crossing water (and/or obstacles)
• loading
• head-shyness
• mounting
• bucking
• standing for the farrier
• kicking and biting
• starting a young horse

Spend time with like-minded people absorbing what non-violent communication can be. Enjoy the included lunch daily and share lively discussions with Monty and students from around the world as each day is full with learning.

For a complete description of these demonstrations and clinics, visit website http://www.montyroberts.com/ab_about_monty_calendar/see-monty/  or phone 805-688-6288

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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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February 10th, 2017

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