Archive for the ‘Monty’s Blog’ Category

 

Does it matter what words you use with your horse?

Tuesday, 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

 

Horse Sense and Healing Program Receives $50,000 Grant from Disabled Veterans National Foundation

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

June 30, 2016 Solvang, California: Monty Roberts, founder of Join-Up® International, and the Board of Directors of the California non-profit corporation, were pleased to announce the addition of four dates in 2016. July 8-10, August 19-21, September 30-October 2, and December 9-11.

Grants provide much-needed help to cover the costs of the Horse Sense and Healing clinics for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress injuries.

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) has provided grants. Joseph VanFonda (USMC SgtMaj Ret.), CEO of DVNF, said, “Join-Up’s mission is both unique, and for many of our nation’s veterans, it is also life-changing. The impact this program has on the lives of veterans is one DVNF is glad to support.” VanFonda also expressed that it is the hope of DVNF that these funds help with Join-Up International’s continuous commitment to the veterans’ community.

Marsha St. Clair, the member of the Board of Directors who corresponded with DVNF to obtain the grant was excited to share the news of the generosity of the foundation, saying “We urge those of you who believe in and support our program, Horse Sense and Healing, to spread the word about how both organizations together are making a difference to help our Veterans in need.”

Monty Roberts, renowned horse gentler, began running free-of-charge, resilience-building workshops for veterans and their families in 2010. 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 offers everyone an effective tool to rediscover themselves through the eyes of the horse. This self-awareness exercise deals effectively with emotional trauma, anti-social behavior, withdrawal, anger, stress and Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI).

Roberts holds two Ph.Ds in Behavioral Sciences. In these workshops, he demonstrates the deep healing power of establishing a trusting relationship with horses without the use of force. Roberts assists veterans as they learn to develop 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.

“Because the Horse Sense and Healing clinics are free-of-charge to veterans, donations and grants are the only sources of income to help Join-Up International put more deserving veterans and their families through the program,” said Debbie Loucks, Director of Development.

Executive Director, Pat Roberts, is looking forward to hosting the next three day clinic July 8-10. She urges those who want to learn more to go to www.join-up.org/veterans .

For more information, email admin@join-up.org or call 805-688-6288 Pacific Standard Time.

 

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Join-Up International is a California 501 (c) (3) 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. In 2012 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became a patron of Join-Up International and we are deeply grateful for the support we receive from both Her Majesty and the members of our board.

Join-Up philosophies can be seen at work with both humans and horses across the world from farms to major corporations. To learn more about Monty Roberts or the many applications of his Join-Up training methods, visit www.montyroberts.com. Horse Sense and Soldiers aired on Discovery Military highlighting the therapeutic effect that horses and Monty Roberts’ Join-Up® have on PTSD. Monty’s Horse Sense and Healing program for military and first responder personnel with stress injuries are detailed here www.join-up.org/veterans .

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to provide critically needed support to disabled and at-risk veterans who leave the military wounded—physically or psychologically—after defending our safety and our freedom.

DVNF achieves this mission by:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serving as a thought leader on critical policy issues within the veteran community, and educating the public accordingly.

MONTY ROBERTS AVAILABLE FOR SELECT INTERVIEWS: The New York Times bestselling author and world renowned horse trainer Monty Roberts is available for interviews.

MONTY ROBERTS first gained widespread fame with the release of his New York Times Best Selling book, The Man Who Listens To Horses; a chronicle of his life and development of his non-violent horse training methods called Join-Up®. Monty grew up on a working horse farm as a firsthand witness to traditional, often violent methods of horse training and breaking the spirit with an abusive hand. Rejecting that, he went on to win nine world’s championships in the show ring. Today Monty’s goal is to share his message that ”Violence is never the answer.” Roberts has been encouraged by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, with the award of the Membership in The Royal Victorian Order. Other honors received were the ASPCA “Founders” award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award. Monty is credited with launching the first of its kind Equus Online University an interactive online lesson site that is the definitive learning tool for violence-free training.

 

Monty tells his life story

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Carte Blanche catches up with Monty Roberts. Watch this short (9 minute) video interview where Monty tells his story and shares his goals. Can subtle behavioral language used by horses to communicate with each other be used by humans too?

Watch the interview here: http://carteblanche.dstv.com/player/1059094/

video

 

Unusual animal encounters

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Dear Monty.

I am 63 yrs old this year, I was raised around horses from birth. My Dad loved them and started his own cross-breed that made for a beautiful animal. He gave me a wonderful little bay gelding when I was 10.

Unfortunately, at the time I seemed to have more interest in conveyances of the motorized type and didn’t pay enough attention to Teddy. So, guess-what? Dad sold Teddy!

It took me a long time to really come to my senses, but I have regretted for many years the outcome of my lack-of-interest. There is still one descendant of Dad’s herd here on the farm as well as two of my daughter’s horses; her daughter’s mini and two more, belonging to my son. I don’t do much with them other than to make sure they have feed and aren’t injured and help the granddaughter with her mini when she visits. It seems there’s always too many other, more-important things to occupy my mind.

Just a few days ago I had the most amazing encounter with a wild/feral horse. Anyhow, I was driving around out in the bush west of my home, here in central Alberta when I came across a lone horse, about 100 yards distant, grazing in a recently-logged-off and scarified area.

I stopped the truck, took a picture and watched the horse for a few minutes and spoke to him once. He looked-up at me for a minute then carried on grazing. I then decided, what-the-heck, I’m going to see how close I can get to this fellow. So I started slowly walking his way. Each time that he lifted his head and appeared about to take flight, I would retreat a couple steps, turn my body at about 45 degrees to him and cast my eyes downward till he settled into grazing again. (Incidentally, I have read some of your work and was enrolled in your online university for one year).

Now this is where things got really interesting! I was now about 20 feet from the horse and he seemed fairly calm, having only flared his nostrils and blown softly a couple times. I could now see that he was an intact stallion and terribly scarred-up all over both sides of his back. The scarring and the fact he was alone, leads me to think he’d recently got run out of his herd. He was a nicely set-up little guy maybe 14-1/2 hands and if I had to guess, about 4 or 5 yrs old. Short-coupled; head and feet just-a-bit big for his body, with I believe, a touch of draft in him (he had a bit of long hair on his fetlocks). Predominately Dark Bay running into a Liver-Chestnut splash over the rump. All-in-all a nice-looking little fellow.

So at this point I had come to a large poplar log between us, so decided to just, set-a-spell. The horse then proceeded to circle around so that he was down-wind of me, alternately grazing and nonchalantly studying me. All the while, I too, tried not to stare at him too intently, just casually glancing up, then back down to his front legs.

After a couple minutes he started coming in the last 15 ft to me, till he got to where it looked like he would like to make one more step, but that would have required him to step over a small log and a gouge in the ground, which had been left by the scarifyer. This would have brought him in about two steps and I believe he was not comfortable with that idea. (I still chuckle to myself as I recall watching him ponder this)!

I thought I’d help him out, so slowly began to reach my hand out to him. He too reached out, to within about 8 inches of my hand, just briefly, then after a few seconds, quickly turned and trotted off about 20 feet and turned at about 45 degrees to me and stood casually looking at me for a bit.

I stayed seated on the log with my eyes mostly downcast but glancing up now and again. Suddenly he turned to face my way, from 20 feet out, square-on and let out the most powerful snort I have ever heard from any horse! I mean, like he put every ounce he had, into it I’m sure. Funny thing is, by this time I was so deep into this amazing encounter I didn’t even flinch, in spite of this sudden and powerful out-burst.

After standing looking right at me a bit with eyes wide and flared nostrils , he calmed down then quartered away, alternately cropping grass, glancing back and moving away till he disappeared over a hill some three hundred yards off. Finally Monty, I have come to my question! Did I miss my cue there? When he turned and moved away after sniffing my hand. Was it my turn to move towards him and I didn’t realize it?

Twenty-twenty hind-sight tells me he was enjoying this little game just as much as I was, and that, that was his invite for Join-Up? Also, what was that resounding snort? (Remember this came after the hand sniffing and retreat.) Was that perhaps a scare tactic, to see if I would take flight? Or, was he just (ha ha) voicing his disgust, at my lack of knowledge, of the rules-of-the-game!

A little background on the horse. He was in an area frequented by people on quads, dirt bikes and such, and so, used to seeing humans regularly, although never me, nor me him. Whether he had ever had contact with humans I do not know.

In closing I want to thank you Monty for sharing with the entire world, your vast knowledge of equine behavior and showing people how they can better interact with horses and other creatures, even humans. I have done some partially successful Join-Ups with some of our horses except for one docile little mutt who refuses to go into flight mode! So I want to study more of your lessons and put them into practice, therefor I intend to re-enroll, as soon as funds allow.

I apologize for such a lengthy story but, I was so fascinated, by this chance encounter, I just had to share, in hopes that other readers may find it interesting. I want to point out that the terrain we were in allowed me to keep some sort of obstacle; a tree, a stump, a fallen log, etc. between us, (just in case) at all times.
Although my Buddy showed no sign of aggression I thought it best to be careful. Thank you, and I do hope you will be able to find the time to respond. Sorry, I know you are a very busy man.

Sincerely,
Gerald Hoszouski, Alberta

Monty’s Answer

Dear Gerald,

Thank you for sharing the details of your encounter. You probably already know that my life has been filled with similar episodes. I have been able to write regarding about 10 percent of similar encounters. My life has been blessed with so many opportunities to communicate with the wild animals inhabiting this earth of ours.

There are so many educated people that have a hard enough time believing what I’ve been through as it is, I have never told the story about the dove on the fence of Flag Is Up Farms. I drove by in my pickup several times and realized that she just kept sitting there. I stopped, got out of my pickup, went to her and put my hand out.

I held my hand about six inches from her and watched as she elevated her wings and then just made a hop to sit on my finger. I had an employee in the pickup who was astonished by what he saw. Something had told me that this bird was ready to have a meeting with a human being. Nobody has to believe this but it’s true.

You had your encounter, nobody has to believe you either. Hold your memories as they belong simply to the two of you. I certainly can believe you, because I’ve had so many similar occasions. I will paraphrase how I see your episode taking shape and coming to a conclusion.

Let me suggest that there is a strong possibility that this horse was 11 or 12 years old and had been kicked out of his harem by a younger stallion. Let me say that it’s possible he was looking for some sort of meeting with another animal he thought he could trust. He wasn’t going to test the difficult terrain for that last few

inches, but as you suggest, he moved to a downwind position, this is not uncommon.

As the scent of your humanity drifted on the wind, let’s predict that it loaded up his olfactory plate. Let’s suggest that his mind was so preoccupied with you he suddenly realized he could no longer smell you. It was then that he blasted a huge volume of air across the plate to clear off the accumulated smells. He once again could identify odors with clarity, it was then that he probably decided not to take a chance on you.

Recently I had a similar letter from a man who took walks in the woods. This time it was a deer with the same sort of experience that you had with the horse. I suppose it’s fair to say that the closer I can bring people to the acceptable body positions the more of these kinds of experiences we will hear about. I would suggest traveling to the area as much as possible. You may even find another horse if your body positions are right.

Thank you so much for your inquiry. Savor this moment for the balance of your days. This horse will undoubtedly remember you. Remember, horses never forget anything, and I am sure this was a special moment in his life.
Sincerely,
Monty

 

November 30, 2015: Radiothon Features Trainer of American Pharoah, Bob Baffert, plus Monty Roberts and Charlotte Bredahl

Monday, November 30th, 2015
cyber monday
On Cyber Monday, November 30, the Horse Radio Network will give away over $3,000 in prizes, live on the HRN Holiday Radiothon, the Network’s first annual Holiday Radiothon to air on “Cyber Monday.” The premiere streaming event, sponsored by WeatherBeeta, runs from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm (ET), and features over $3,000 in prize giveaways to listeners.

Don’t miss the 1pm Eastern time hour when Horsemanship Radio’s segment of the Radiothon will air the interview with Bob Baffert who trained four Kentucky Derby winners, six Preakness Stakes winners, and two each Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Oaks winners. This year, Bob and American Pharoah won the 141st Kentucky Derby, bringing his total number of victories in the Derby to four. American Pharoah is one of the leading contenders for Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Sportsman of the Year because there was no other display of sportsmanship in 2015 that came close to what owner Ahmed Zayat and Bob Baffert did with American Pharoah. You can vote here: http://www.si.com/sportsmanofyear/2015/11/10/vote-si-sportsman-poll 

Top equestrian companies have lined up to offer their goods & services for HRN fans. Prizes from companies including: WeatherBeeta, Benefab, Sore-No-More, Dublin, Total Saddle Fit, Horse and Hunk Calendars, Cavallo Boots, Boy-O-Boy Bridleworks, Smooth Stride Jeans, Monty Roberts Equus Online University, EzSignsOnline.com, Distance Depot, Riders Sleeves, Gloria Austin, Mary Kitzmiller, Absorbine, and more.
 
ENTER TO WIN:

Throughout the show, prizes will be given away every hour, with a grand prize announced at the end of the show. Listeners can enter to win prizes in one of two ways: log on to the HRN Holiday Radiothon website before November 27, 2015 and leave a message on the Horseloverz.com Voicemail with a holiday message of your choice. http://radiothon.horseradionetwork.com/category/leave-holiday-voicemail/  or call in to the live show between 9 am and 9 pm eastern time, and tell us about your favorite holiday memory 
(435) 272-1997.
 
Charlotte Bredahl-Baker is a well-known trainer and FEI judge who was born and raised in Denmark before moving to the United States at the age of 22. She has an impressive list of accolades, including a team bronze medal from the 1992 Olympic Games with Monsieur and a Team Silver medal from the 1997 North American Championship with Lugano. Additionally Charlotte is the Assistant Dressage Youth Coach to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). http://bredahldressage.com/charlotte.html 
 
Monty Roberts first gained widespread fame with the release of his 1996 New York Times Best Selling book, The Man Who Listens To Horses; a chronicle of his life and development of his non-violent horse training methods called Join-Up®. Monty grew up on a working horse farm as a firsthand witness to traditional, often violent methods of horse training and breaking the spirit with an abusive hand. Rejecting that, he went on to win nine world’s championships in the show ring. Today, Monty’s goal is to share his message that “Violence is never the answer.” Roberts has been encouraged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the award of the Membership in The Royal Victorian Order, as well as becoming Patron of Join-Up International. Other honors received were the ASPCA “Founders” award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award. Monty is credited with launching the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is the definitive learning tool for violence-free training. www.MontyRobertsUniversity.com/library 
 

 

Monty Makes It Right

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Last week, Monty replied to a question in his Question and Answer column, and he believes he fell short of the mark. He would like to make it right today, with additional thoughts.

The original Question and Answer:

Question:
Writing to pick your brain as I’m sure through your experience and travels you have come across a horse like mine. His name is Royal. He is a 6-year-old Canadian gelding. I acquired him through the OSPCA so I don’t have much background info on him. All I know is that he was seized from his previous owner because they neglected him and he was extremely emaciated. He is now healthy and happy. Great guy, great ground manners, leads well, lifts feet, good to groom, stands in cross ties. Lunges off line well and really pays attention to his handler.
 
The problem I’m facing with him is that when any type of tack (saddle pad or saddle) is introduced to him, he steps 10 feet back. He’s extremely fearful, nervous to the point he starts to shake. With some persuasion, I can put the saddle pad on and off on and off, then the saddle. We haven’t worked up to doing the girth up on the saddle yet but I had a anti cast roller laying around so I figured well, this I won’t get to do up tight to secure it, there are no flaps to scare the poor boy. So again with some convincing, I was able to put it on and off, on and off. Then I was able to do up the girth. Once anything is on him, he is reluctant to move. I let him take his time to take this new piece of tack into stride. He stood still for the longest time, then all of a sudden he exploded. Running around that round pen as fast as he could, bucking for a bit but not big bucks, just as if he was trying to kicking at his belly to get the darn thing off. He then stops and starts to shake and just stands there, will not move. I enter the round pen, and encourage him to move with the anti cast roller still on him, he runs around and at one point does a nice little trot. So we end things on a good note, I remove the tack, give him a treat and back to his pasture he goes.
 
A couple days later, I repeat the above but get the same initial reaction as if he’s never seen it before. This goes one now for five sessions. I have tried Googling a solution to this problem but have come up empty handed. My question to you is how do I allow him to accept this tack without being so nervous that he wants to crawl out of his skin?
 
Thank you for your time,
Chantal B.
Ontario, Canada
 
Monty’s First Answer:
Dear Chantal,
 
Quite possibly to your surprise I have met Royal, at every city I have ever traveled to throughout my career. I say this to you because everything you told me about Royal verifies that he is normal. Whatever made you think that horses want something on their back and a belt around their girth? They have 50 million years in their DNA telling them that this is probably a lion or a tiger. This is an normal response.
 
Please let me inform you that everything I have ever written videoed or created as a lesson for my Online University addresses these issues directly or indirectly. Please do not fall into the trap of expecting knowledge about horse behavior to fall out of the sky and land in your lap, clearly understood. These issues need to be studied, learned and correctly acted upon. My entire life has been devoted to better understanding the behavioral patterns of Equus.
 
It worries me that you have undertaken these early training efforts with what seems to be no idea as to how the horses brain works. Please heed my words that horses can be dangerous with no intention of creating harm. In the end when horse cause injuries, they get the blame even when they are acting completely normal. Please hear my warnings.
 
No one can blame you for using whatever methods you thought might be acceptable but it is my message to the horse world that one can be blamed for acting without seeking the knowledge necessary to execute training procedures with no attempt to gather the information necessary to execute in a safe manner. It is not fair to your horse or anyone else to fall short allowing the horse to take the blame.

Monty’s additional words to the reader who asked about her cinchy/girthy horse:

Dear Chantal,

It is true that I find myself often saying that my critics are my best friends. They keep me getting up in the morning, and learning to be a better horseperson as well as a better role model for horse people. Recently I personally answered a question of yours. For good or for bad, I personally answer every question on the Ask Monty newsletter. It has been brought to my attention that there have been five negative responses to my answer regarding your horse and his sensitivity to the girth area. If we were in a court of law, I might hear the judge say that the charges are that you failed to answer the question, talked down to the person asking for your help and spoke to her in a demeaning fashion. My plea would have to be GUILTY. 

At this point in time I have had the question and answer read to me three different times. I failed to fully explain my recommendations for dealing with sensitivity to the nerve endings in the girth area. I used language that would indicate that you knew less than you should have known when in actual fact that is exactly why you were inquiring of me. I would like to make several excuses for why I believe that my answer was curt and short of the mark. The fact is that there can be no excuses for this inappropriate communication. I should know that better than anyone in the horse business as it is my mantra that communication is the center of all understanding where dealing with the needs of your horse is concerned. 

Recognizing that there could easily be many people who may have wanted to criticize my answer, I am now communicating through this open letter back to the Ask Monty forum so that those who may have questioned my answer can see that I am trying to be the best source of information that I can, and doing it with understanding and compassion for those who seek information from me. I answer was not good enough by any measure, and I will attempt, herein, to put it right once and for all. If you are a regular reader of Ask Monty do not hesitate to speak your mind whenever you feel the need to. Remember that I appreciate compliments as much as I appreciate the criticisms that cause me to be a better person. 

While I sincerely believe that I spoke the truth without deliberately meaning to demean, criticize or evade my reader, I failed to completely edify the questioning party as to my recommendations for successful problem solving the problem that she sought to put right. Girth-bound (cinch-bound or girth sensitivity) is a global phenomenon that exists in virtually every horse to one extent or another. Most horses can deal with this problem with two or three saddlings. It is true in this case that we have a condition which appears to have become chronic. Often times we hear these horses referred to as girth-bound or cinch-bound horses. This long lasting phenomenon must be carefully dealt with as it can be extremely dangerous. 

There is no question that while I did mention my Online University as being a source of information about the malady of the girth bound syndrome, I failed to point out that there was a whole chapter on it in, From My Hands To Yours the only textbook I have ever written. While these answers are meant to be shorter than the chapter of a book, I will now take the time to give the salient points of that chapter. I recommend the use of a stable rug or stable blanket to reduce sensitivity and then to use what we call an overgirth or thin elastic strap that can go over the stable rug and around the horse in the area of the girth. This should be tightened gradually, over about a 20-minute period of time. 

With the overgirth in place, the horse should be allowed to remain in a box stall (loose box) for about another half hour or so with the elastic band fairly tight. After that, I recommend that the handler should place a normal surcingle over the rug being sure that there is elastic in the girth. This surcingle should be equipped with a breastcollar (breastgirth) so that it will not slide back from the girth area. Once again the handler should tighten the girth gradually over 10 or 15 minutes until it approximates the tension of a normal saddle girth. After that, the horse should spend another 20 minutes or so with the surcingle in place. With these procedures complete the horse is ready for the saddle.

One should remember that these procedures are time approximate and the handler should be aware of the horse’s overall behavior and only move forward with these efforts as the horse has settled into a mindset of acceptance. The extreme case could require as much as 50% more time than I have outlined in this scenario. Removing the surcingle and placing the saddle should be done smoothly but in the shortest amount of time possible. The saddle girth should be tightened incrementally over 10 minutes or so. As the days go by, these times can easily be shortened until eventually the horse can be fully saddled in about 20 minutes or so. Once more I stress; read your horse. 

Do not at any time attempt to mount your horse until you determine that there is a calm, cool acceptance level. I recommend releasing the horse in a small area (50 foot round pen or so) or a small corral 30–50 feet square. It is advisable to see the horse canter with a cool demeanor before mounting. I recommend schooling your horse to come to the mounting block as is shown in my Online University. In doing so, the handler can read the acceptance of the horse, particularly when making the side pass movements when approaching the mounting block. I believe this to be the safest set of procedures to follow when dealing with the behavioral pattern that I came to envision while reading your initial question. 

Please accept my profound apology for an answer that was short of the one given here. With the encouragement of the criticisms that I received I intend to redouble my efforts to be as fair as I possibly can with anyone seeking my advice. I note with interest that the criticisms came from others and not from yourself. While I appreciate your patience with me, I also appreciate those that would stand up for your right to have a more complete answer than the one I gave you. I will continue to do my work in the knowledge that it is important and profound both for horses and those who love them. Please remember that it is my life’s goal to leave the world a better place than I found it for horses and for people, too.

~ Monty

Do you have a question for Monty? Email it to: askmonty@montyroberts.com

 

Happy Independence Day 2015

Monday, July 6th, 2015

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Monty Roberts’ Willing Partners Horses photos from the 4th of July Parade in Solvang, California

Pat Roberts rode Baron, Monty was on King, Justin Fareed for Congress on Chasen My Stetson, Cesar on Apache, Victor on Nic’s Mojo, Manuel on Zebra and Gilbert on Zane.

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Photos: Cody Shelton

 

Join Monty

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Are you interested in being mentored by Monty? Please fill out the application form here: http://goo.gl/forms/WPv1aJ8LV2

Thank you for your interest. More details will be sent after the selection from the first round of applications.

 

 

 

 

Horse Sense for Leaders Excerpt 1

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Man in the Arena
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done
better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives
valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there
is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great
enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy
cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high
achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while
daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid
souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

“I can see people who have been exposed to violence from across the room. That’s my
demographic.”
-Monty Roberts

In Brazil, like much of Latin America, horses are often trained by traditional methods
involving force. Training horses in the traditional method involves using an authoritative
and forceful leadership style to “break” the horse.

Translated to the work-world, this style recalls the hierarchical, top-down command and
control leadership style useful in the manufacturing age, but it does little to engender
trust, collaboration, and motivation in today’s age of information.

This approach has been replaced by leadership models that engender trust and help
followers find their motivation, styles like charismatic leadership, situational leadership,
servant leadership and transformational leadership. The market is crowded with
leadership theories, each proclaiming their benefits and respective values.

A good example of transformational leadership – the ability of a leader to inspire
followers – can be seen in Monty’s Join-Up process, where the horse is transformed
from flight animal to trusting partner.

There is research to support how transformational leaders impact followers. According
to authors Bass and Riggio (2006), there are four components to transformational
leadership, what they call the four I’s:

1. Idealized Influence: leaders are seen as a role model, “walking the talk,” and
are admired by others who pay attention to what the leaders do.

2. Inspirational Motivation: leaders inspire and motivate followers. Their sense of
charisma lifts followers to a high performance expectation and to high levels of
achievement.

3. Individualized Consideration: leaders authentically care about others, focusing
on followers’ needs and feelings.

4. Intellectual Stimulation: leaders challenge followers’ toward higher levels of
performance, expanding their sense of personal capabilities.

Research shows that transformational leaders are anything but “soft”; groups led by
transformational leaders have higher levels of engagement, performance outcomes and
motivation than groups led by other types of leaders (Bass and Riggio, 2006).

The key that transformational leadership holds to increasing motivation is the
combination of positive expectations and personal challenge.

Monty often says, “I don’t want my students to be as good as me, I want them to be
better than I am.”

This exemplifies Monty’s transformational leadership approach, inspiring horses and
humans to strive beyond complacency, to exceed their normal levels of performance
and rise to the occasion because they are encouraged and challenged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monty’s Horse Sense and Healing

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Monty was on the road with the good news from the Horse Sense and Healing program at Flag Is Up Farms. Monty’s recent roadtrip started in Illinois at the Bravehearts conference for veterans, the following weekend he flew to Washington DC for interviews and meetings with the Humane Society and Vanity Fair. On to New Yorkto be on Fox and Friends on Saturday morning with veteran Alicia Watkins.

Click here to learn about Monty’s nonprofit, Join-Up International, and Monty’s work with veterans: www.join-up.org