Famed Horse Gentler and Trainer of Multiple Grade 1 Champions Calls for Change
SOLVANG, CALIFORNIA – 5/7/2008 – Monty Roberts, internationally acclaimed horse trainer, animal behaviorist and author of the best-selling The Man Who Listens to Horses, continues his mission statement to “leave the world a better place than I found it for horses and for people too” by advocating change in the horse racing industry.
The recent tragedy at the Kentucky Derby with Eight Belles is an opportunity for the industry to show that it is doing everything in its power to protect horses. A major step in the right direction would be to take whips out of racing. Roberts has been advocating this change for years and believes that now is the time for horse the the industry to show that it is doing everything in its power to protect horses. A major step in the right direction would be to take whips out of racing. Roberts has been advocating this change for years and believes that now is the time for horse the industry to show their support for this change.
“Violence is never the answer.” Roberts took his message of violence-free horse training to the world stage in 1996 encouraged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Already Roberts had been the leading Thoroughbred consignor at Hollywood Park Race Track for 13 years. He says that his horses respond to his non-violent approach.
“A whip has no place in horsemanship at all,” argues Roberts. “It’s medieval for horses.” He also points out that a horse that wants to win, that has that competitive spirit and natural “will to win” is always going to be a far better racing prospect than the one that has to be beaten for half of the race.
In 2006 Edgar Prado never touched Barbaro with his whip and never asked him to do anything more than was necessary. Prado said, “If he’s running real hard, why should he be punished? I’m a horse lover more than anything else.”
A student of Roberts’s concepts, Hong Kong’s leading rider and 7-time winner of the Jockeys Championship Trophy, Douglas Whyte, said “I still believe I can get more out of a horse by encouraging them rather than punishing them. My job is to win the horse’s confidence and to get them to run to their best for me.”
Roberts so often hears the statement, “We need the whips for safety’s sake,” but, says, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth, because far more accidents are caused by whips than are ever averted by whips. Roberts offers that if a jockey felt the need for a whip to guide the horse, why not use a spongy, Nerf whip so that no pain could be produced?
Trevor Denman (race announcer at the Santa Anita race track) suggests that an extremely high percentage of disqualifications are caused by using the whip. Further, he said that if the bettors could understand that, they would be less apt to insist that jockeys use the whips to verify that they are trying.
Roberts suggests that the number of race fans would increase with a strong promotional program featuring Whipless Racing. “As racehorse people, we often say we are giving the horse a chance to do what he loves best, run. I believe that is a true statement, but if it is what he loves best, why do we have to whip him to do it? We do not.”
It is Roberts’ opinion that the best jockeys would still be the best jockeys, and in fact, true horsemanship skills would come to the front if whipping was eliminated.
ABOUT MONTY ROBERTS
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. Today, Monty’s goal is to share his message that “Violence is never the answer.” Roberts has received the ASPCA “Founders” award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award.
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 http://www.montyroberts.com or call (805) 688 – 6288.
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Press contact: Debbie Loucks