“I am very proud to be a part of Her Majesty’s horse training and her passion for their welfare. I believe she is the leading monarch for the advocacy of horses in the world. She is a thought leader in this field. My Dually Halter is seen throughout this footage, making a difference in the training of sensitive animals by giving the horse the choice to partner in the training.” Monty Roberts
Archive for the ‘Monty’s Blog’ Category
Come and discover what horses have to teach us about building lowering stress, and building trust at the Monty Roberts Special Training to be held at Flag Is Up Farms, in Solvang, California, from August 5-9, 2013.
“This intensive five-day training is the perfect environment for connecting with peers who know that horses have a lot to teach us”, commented Monty’s daughter and staff member Debbie Roberts-Loucks. “You will learn how Monty Roberts keeps stress out of his life with horses, and how to develop the motivation and resilience to achieve your life’s goals”, she added.
Roberts, the famous New York Times bestselling author of The Man Who Listens to Horses will share his life story about overcoming barriers, motivating yourself and lowering your stress levels to achieve your goals.
At the workshop, Monty will work with a range of young and remedial horses. By observing this unique and gifted man, participants will gain first-hand knowledge during demonstrations, lectures, and discussions. This class is for the novice rider, the non-rider, as well as the advanced student who wants to observe a master at work.
Monty will also demonstrate how to communicate with horses in their natural language in various situations during this intensive 5-day class. “The workshop is formatted to provide you with the educational tools you need to address leadership issues, ground manners, teaching to tie, crossing water (and/or obstacles), loading, head-shyness, mounting, bucking, standing for the farrier, kicking, and biting”, Roberts-Loucks continued.
This exclusive training program helps you better understand problem solving using Monty is violence-free training methods. Come and spend time with like-minded people absorbing what non-violent communication can be. Enjoy the included lunch and lively discussions too with Monty and students from around the world.
For more information, contact Flag Is Up Farms at (805) 688-3483 or805-688-6288 or email Maya@join-up.org
Thank you very much for your question and I must say that I have been in France having fun with two horses that seemed to go into the starting stalls without any problem. The issue was that each of them refused to leave the starting stall when the gates flew open and the race was on. That can cause any owner to choke on his mint julep or in France it might be champagne. Watching your horse give the field twelve or fourteen lengths before choosing to leave the starting stall is a death knell to the best of racehorses. One of the horses I worked with gave the field fourteen lengths and then actually won the race. That’s how talented this young horse is.
He was entered back against much tougher company after calling in an expert to deal with him. He gave the next group of opponents another fourteen lengths and finished third beaten by only two lengths. These were high level competitors and one would have to ask just how good is this horse? I worked with him for ten days and it is my hope that he will get adequate human assistance before his next start which is scheduled for early July. It is a mile and one half race with a purse well over a half million US dollars. When I left France he was flying out of the starting gates. I almost feel that he was too keen following ten sessions of my work with him.
The problem, as I see it, is that this young horse was ultra sensitive to the touch and the rails inside the starting stall were simply too invasive. As Thoroughbreds set their feet for the start, they will generally spread wide behind and then push off like a rocket. As they leave the stall at top speed, their stifles are burned by the rails that jut out into the stall. This is not an uncommon occurrence and it requires innovation so as to protect the area of the flanks and the stifles as the horse leaves. I say that they protective blanket that I use was invented by a horse called Prince of Darkness. He was in training in Newmarket, England when they called me in to get him right.
Sir Mark Prescott was the trainer and I must say I knew absolutely nothing about the phenomenon of rail sensitivity. I would feel guilty about this except that no one else in the world knew anything about it either. I am sure the problem existed, but I think that everybody took the position that it was just a stubborn horse and had nothing to do with the rails. I worked for about a week with Prince of Darkness before realizing what his issues were. Once I had the protective blanket on him, the problem was over. We went straight to the races at Warwick in England where he was extremely successful in a field of 26 horses and the blanket now circles the globe.
So this is what I was doing in France and I will be happy to report on the ongoing progress of the two horses that are incidentally by the same sire, interesting, eh? Perhaps I can include their names and those of the connections, but I think we better wait to see what the outcome of my work actually amounts to. Let me tell you that France is no longer the country of good food, but they certainly know how to make out a huge bill for a dab of chicken with some sauce poured over it. I’m looking forward to more work in France, but next time I will insist upon a kitchen in my hotel room. One can actually buy food at a grocery store for a relatively reasonable price.
During the course of my stay, I met some wonderful people who were very helpful. They rescued me from my inability to navigate the pitfalls of Charles de Gaulle airport. It is a chaotic tangle of roadways that even the natives can’t fathom. My driver parked at 2E, an airline terminal and walked with me to the Sheraton in the middle of the airport. He asked at the reception desk, “Where do you park for the Sheraton Hotel?” and the answer was, “Wherever you want and then you walk to the hotel.” He said, “What about the bags?” And then they said, “The bags have wheels on them, don’t they?” Actually they did, but we could have used one of those push trolleys.
It is a different world out there, but I have to tell you that Chantilly is heaven for horses. There is one training gallop through the trees that is over two miles long on the straight.There are about 50 training gallops through the forest in the Chantilly area. It is natural sand and for thousands of years the leaves have worked their way into the soil to the extent that it has produced a surface like the finest protective mattress that a horse could train on. It rained heavily while I was there, but the incredible footing was never a problem to train over. Every horseman should make the trip to learn about this natural utopia for horses. It is phenomenal.
Preparing for More Effective Presentations Using…
By Dr. Susan Cain and Debbie Roberts-Loucks
We were lucky to be invited recently to a Huey Lewis concert, and then to go meet Mr. Lewis back stage prior to the show. We went to the show with Pat and Monty Roberts.
When we got to the concert venue, we were ushered backstage. There was quietness before the show-no sign of backstage jitters or stage fright by anyone about to go on stage. Someone asked Mr. Lewis what he did to prepare for his show. He looked around, adjusted his glasses and said simply, “Change my shirt.”
We liked that answer. It showed how lightly Mr. Lewis wore his fame, and reminded me that even high profile people have a choice in the way they prepare for an event or meeting. After that statement, Mr. Lewis took the stage and the audience readily responded to his low-key sincerity.
On another recent occasion, we spoke with a colleague, a fellow graduate school instructor. His words about how he prepared for each class struck us as useful. “I don’t worry about class time,” he related. ” I prepare for each class, then enjoy myself once in class,” he said. It struck us that Mr. Lewis had done just that-albeit with minimal last minute preparation.
Many of us have to prepare for what we perceive as high-pressure meetings. Our anxiety in the meeting can steer an otherwise good meeting toward a tense, pressurized encounter. We have an antidote to that scenario- a different way of putting anxiety into a more useful place. We suggest looking to horses for a solution.
For thousands of years of domestication, horses as flight animals have developed a keen sensitivity to human adrenalin levels. They know when anxiety levels are high in humans, and when they are low. According to New York Times Best Selling Author Monty Roberts, it is more useful for training (read, learning) when adrenalin and anxiety levels are lower. Mr. Roberts uses a process of training called Join-Up to establish a relationship with a horse that relies on trust to relax and enable the horse to learn. He mirrors the horse by using the horses’ own language of gestures-a language Mr. Roberts calls Equus.
“Adrenaline up, learning down, adrenalin down, learning up,” says Mr. Roberts about the usefulness of nerve-wracking learning encounters. How can this perspective inform your own preparation for presentations or training meetings? It’s simple, for your next presentation, try doing the following:
1. Prepare for your meeting or presentation to the point of complete comfort with the materials you will present.
2. Rehearse, role-play, practice. Know your material cold.
3. Once at your meeting, enjoy the company you are with and let your presentation roll out. Connect with your audience. Relax, breath normally, you know your stuff!
For your next presentation, try the above suggestion-use your nervous energy to drive meeting preparation and then relax once you are into the meeting. Enjoy. Your anxiety levels will be lower, and so will the anxiety levels of your audience.
Debbie Roberts-Loucks and Dr. Susan Cain design and facilitate unique corporate training events. Find out more about MPRI corporate training opportunities by visiting the corporate events page at www.montyroberts.com.
Obtain a copy of the workbook: Life Lessons from The Man Who Listens to Horses
To order Monty’s Buck Stopper Kit, please call Monty’s office: +1-805-688-6288 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This kit cannot be purchased online.
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Should I keep my horse off the sand to avoid colic?
This is an important topic that I will need to answer in two parts: July 25 and August 1. Virtually every equine veterinarian will agree that horses that ingest even moderate amounts of sand are negatively impacted. Sand in the intestine in sufficient amounts will cause what is commonly known as “sand colic.” While this is true, even a small amount of sand will tend to act in an abrasive fashion to damage and even eliminate intestinal cilia. These are hair like extensions of intestinal wall.
We could say that food material containing sand acts like sand paper to scrape off the cilia eliminating their function in the digestive scenario. Cilia are critically important in the uptake of minerals which then pass into the blood stream and travel to the important areas they serve within the equine anatomy. Reduced cilia, among other negatives, will compromise the development of a sound equine bone structure.
By the time a horse has sand colic, a massive amount of damage has probably occurred. Sand colic is the result of many digestive problems compounding themselves until one has reduced peristaltic activity (the movement of material through the intestinal tract), after which a blockage usually occurs, and then there is pain (colic), hence a call to the veterinarian. The answer is to keep the sand out of the horses.
There are preparations being sold with the promise that they will help collect the sand and move it along, reducing the negativity of sand ingestion. The fact is that there is still sand passing through the intestine and therefore damage is experienced, whether or not one sees it on a daily basis. Clearly, if one can devise methods by which we reduce or eliminate the ingestion of sand, our horses are far better off.
The Internet is loaded with good information from prominent veterinarians regarding sand ingestion in horses. Google Sand Colic and look up entries written by these various veterinarians. One can peruse the commercials for products that assist where sand ingestion is concerned, but consider them as commercials and realize that the ultimate goal is to stop the sand from entering the horse in the first place.
Around about 1994, I was asked by Walther J. Jacobs, the owner of Gestut Fahrhof in Bremen, Germany to solve this problem of his precious Thoroughbred horses eating sand. Remembering back on my University days, I did an enormous amount of work to test how much sand was actually traversing the digestive track of these animals. I was amazed to find that as much as 80 grams of sand was present in a kilo of fecal material.
Most veterinarians site anything over six or eight grams per kilo as being a serious problem. I was to discover that the whole of north Germany is a sandy alluvial plane and that this problem has existed for hundreds of years. Off I went to the German National Veterinarian University at Hannover where I requested a study of the Gestut Fahrhof problem. The University was cooperative and quick to agree to the study.
There were many suggestions that were made after two or three months of assessing the situation. One was to eliminate grazing on grassy paddocks. Another was to reduce the time in the fields dramatically. Next it was suggested that we have fields with no grass at all and only use them for short periods of exercise. The Jacobs family found each of these suggestions unacceptable, and I was asked to continue the study.
One veterinarian put forward a novel solution which was to create an agreement with the county tree trimmers in the area of Bremen, Germany. I was told to ask them to allow Fahrhof to become the recipient of tree trimmings from 20 to 30 miles around Gestut Fahrhof. I was told that if I wanted the horses in the field give them a sizable pile of leaves and stems cut from trees in the normal pruning process.
This veterinarian said to me that the horses were craving fibrous, woody stems. He said that particularly when the soil was moist, the horses would pull up the roots of dandelions and other weeds and devour those ‘stemy’ plant understructures. He was as right as he could have been and the babies immediately fell in love with stacks of tree trimmings. The internal sand count fell dramatically to less than 20 grams per kilo.
There were several down sides to this idea and one was that we had to do quite a lot of cutting and hauling these branches. Then we had to clear the fields of the uneaten branches almost daily. There were large limbs that came along that had to be processed for the wood
pile. It was a good lesson for me and it certainly proved what the horses were looking for and how to give it to them without costing them heavy sand contamination.
We were not able to continue this project very long because after the death of Walther Jacobs, a certain bookkeeper felt that she was quite important to the operation. She didn’t like the sight of the branches in the corner of the field, and I suppose she was also was against the man hours required to conduct the project. She issued an order, however, and the addition of the tree trimmings was discontinued in about 1998.
Ultimately the Jacobs family took on about double the amount of land and reduced the size of the broodmare band, thus lessening the pressure on the fields. With extreme husbandry mostly conducted by Stefan Ullrich, the sand levels now apparent in the Fahrhof babies has been reduced to well less than 20 grams per kilo. While I would have accepted two or three of the recommended solutions, I did what I could.
It should be noted that the bone quality of the young adult racehorses has improved dramatically with the reduction of the sand. We have produced 28 championships in 20 years of my involvement with Gestut Fahrhof. There are still too many skeletal injuries in the young animals, but I credit the organization and the staff, especially Stefan Ullrich, for conducting effective sand control system.
Is there significance to defecation when training horses in an enclosed area, i.e. Is it nerviness or release?
Here is an exceptional opportunity for those of you in the USA!
By becoming a member of ACTHA you have a chance to win an all-expense paid trip, airfare included, to Monty’s farm and the opportunity to saddle up with Monty. Winners will be whisked away to California and will be treated to an equine experience they will never forget! Register with ACTHA to enter this incredible prize drawing: www.actha.us/register
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Your group will be welcomed to beautiful Flag Is Up Farms to watch a Join-Up experience, Monty Roberts’ signature event. Witness firsthand the powerful relationship of trust and communication between a horse and a human. In this narrated event you will learn about Monty’s fascinating life journey from his early days as a rodeo rider to trusted advisor to the Queen of England.
Afterwards, enjoy an traditional barbecue dinner with author Monty Roberts and artist Pat Roberts in their hilltop home. At dinner, great conversations will emerge about the importance of trust, overcoming adversity, achieving your vision, and living strong at any age. This unforgettable experience will transform your group and allow them to connect to a living legend.
Click here to download the flyer: http://www.montyroberts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/May18Web.pdf
Call (805) 688-6288 to reserve your spot at this inspirational event.
The big word “desensitization” is proving challenging for Fergus the Horse! So he decided to seek professional help from Monty Roberts.
Dear Mr. Roberts,
I know most of your questions are from people, but I’d like to ask you something too, if that’s OK, because I’ve heard, and read, that you know some things about horses. You see, there’s a big human word that I’m having a great deal of trouble with: “Desensitize“. My people don’t say it to me, they say it to each other. What they say to me is: “Easy, does, it Fergus, it’s OK.” But it’s not OK! Because when they come to me saying that, they are tense and nervous, and I know they are going to show me something horrifying! It is going to be something that moves, makes suspicious noises, and wants to touch me. I’d rather leave, but I cannot because of the lead-rope that they’ve named “relationship”. Often, “relationship” is strained. I really want to relax and be an “Easy does it, Fergus…” but it is impossible because they themselves are not relaxed, and they want to “desensitize” me every day with something new and dreadful. I dream about it at night. This is really hard. Is there anything you can say to my people about “desensitize”?
Thank you for (somehow) writing to me with your concerns. Most people think I help people with horse problems, but more often I help horses with people problems. I hope to help you get past this confusion about what we humans are asking of you, and why. When they say ‘Desensitize’, they want to help you worry less about spooky items you come across on the trail and in the yard. That’s a good thing, Fergus.
Being spooky is one of the most natural conditions in the world of equine behavior. Just as with so many terms in the horse world, it seems appropriate to define the term spooky. It seems important to me to be clear so that these words can be understood worldwide. We horsemen in America tend to say things like, “He sure is spooky.” We expect everybody to immediately understand that this means, ‘to be frightened.’
There is a big word in psychology for your fear of unfamiliar things, Fergus. The word is ‘neophobic’ which is a persistent and abnormal fear of anything new. Horses are neophobic but people can be, too. Young children like their world to remain constant and elderly people often cope using long established habits and don’t want to learn “new tricks”. You are big and strong, Fergus, and people worry you might hurt yourself, or them, if you “spook”. This is why they introduce you to new things. My goal is to help people learn to do this with adrenaline and heart rates that are low.
After my first book, The Man Who Listens to Horses, was published in 1996, I was asked to conduct demonstrations on a worldwide scale. One of the remedial problems brought to me on a regular basis was “the spooky horse.” While I had dealt with this sort of training for more than fifty years, I had no idea how serious the condition was until I began to travel extensively. Cases representing fear of plastic bags, birds, airplanes, trucks, tractors, umbrellas, cattle, sheep, hogs, and even the fear of bicycles, were brought to me on a regular basis.
The plastic shopping bag has become the definitive object to assist me in desensitizing the horse to objects that cause him to spook. They are extremely light and therefore can’t physically cause the horse any harm. I attach several bags to one end of a discarded rake handle (a small wooden pole approximately 1.5 meters or five feet in length). You can train the bag to go away Fergus. Here’s how.
After you and your human have accomplished a Join-Up, they show you the plastic bag on a stick. It will be scary at first, but when you relax and accept it, they will take the bag away and relax. You can too. When I do this with horses, soon I can swing a massive collection of plastic bags at the horse evoking no flight response. And soon the horse will accept other scary objects if I stay relaxed and he trusts that nothing painful will happen.
Recognizing that we are dealing with the true nature of the horse will soon produce a non-spooky individual. It is important to eliminate blame from the mind of the trainer. I instruct my students that the horse can have no fault in these matters and with that mindset one can expect positive results.
Over the past 20 years the more than 8000 horses I have dealt with in front of public audiences have virtually all come to me with a spooky mindset. I think that it is fair to say that there have been no failures. It’s important that we humans respect your nature, Fergus, and your right to fear unfamiliar objects while you journey to overcoming spookiness.