Posts Tagged ‘Join-Up’

 

Science Confirms It: Join-Up® is Gentle on Horses

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
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A paper titled “Monty Roberts’ public demonstrations: Preliminary report on the heart rate and heart rate variability of horses undergoing training during live audience events” has been accepted for publication in the international journal “Animals.”

“Animals” is an international and interdisciplinary scholarly open access journal concerned with publishing high quality scientific papers within the field of ‘animals’, including zoology, ethnozoology, animal science, animal ethics and animal welfare. In particular, this journal showcases scientific study describing animals’ interactions with the outside world, including humans. “Animals” is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and takes the responsibility to enforce a rigorous peer-review together with strict ethical policies and standards to ensure the addition of high quality scientific works to the field of scholarly publication.

This new paper describes the opportunistic collection and analysis of heart rate (HR; beat-to-beat intervals) and heart rate variability (HRV) of 10 horses being trained during Monty Roberts’ public demonstrations within the United Kingdom and is authored by Loni Loftus, Kelly Marks, Rosie Jones-McVey, Jose L. Gonzales and Dr. Veronica L. Fowler (lead author).

Key findings from the study include:

• Stress responses recorded in this study were comparable (e.g. when compared to horses undergoing foundation training) or more favorable (e.g. when compared to novel object tests, handling tests or horses anticipating competition) to previously reported studies in the literature. 
• Stress responses during public demonstrations were proportional to low-moderate exercise intensities described in other training methods where horses were under similar levels of physiological stress as reported in literature.
• The stress responses during a specific training method known as “Join-Up®” were comparable to other methods of training used by Monty Roberts during public demonstrations, and were consistent with exercise intensity (physiological stress). There was no evidence that Join-Up® altered HR and HRV in a way to suggest that this training method presents the horse with psychological or physical stressors which would negatively affect welfare. 
• There was preliminary evidence that training undertaken in a roundpen, including Join-Up® controls or inhibits the flight response (limits the fear response). 


In conclusion, training of horses during public demonstrations is a mild stressor for horses. However the stress responses observed within this study were comparable or less to those previously reported in the literature for horses being trained outside of public audience events and was indicative of exercise at low-moderate intensity (physiological stress), rather than psychological stress. 

The full paper will be available open access within 10 days.

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The International Society of Equitation and Monty Roberts’ Join-Up®

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

A comparison between the Monty Roberts technique and the conventional UK technique for initial training of riding horses 

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Solvang, CA – The scientific paper authored by Drs. Veronica Fowler, Mark Kennedy and David Marlin entitled ‘A comparison between the Monty Roberts technique and a conventional UK technique for initial training of riding horses’ was accepted for and published in Anthrozoös. Anthrozoös is a quarterly, peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal reporting the interactions of people and animals, a journal which has enjoyed a distinguished history as a pioneer in the field since its launch in 1987. Prior to appearing in print in Anthrozoös the study was presented at the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) having been accepted by the scientific committee and also presented at the Centre for Animal Welfare & Anthrozoology, Department of Veterinary Medicine University of Cambridge both. 

Comment from Dr. Veronica Fowler on the results of the study:

“This study describes a comparison of the efficacy of the Monty Roberts horsemanship technique in comparison to a UK conventional training technique for the initial training of horses. Initial training of young horses, in particular the first time a horse is saddled and ridden has been recently reported in the scientific literature as a significant stressor in terms of the impact on the welfare of the horse. It is therefore vital that we fully evaluate the techniques which are practiced around the world to identify those which have the potential to cause compromised welfare and suffering during foundation training of horses.  

Our study reports that horses trained using Monty Roberts’ methods had significantly lower maximum heart rates (bpm) during both first saddle and first rider when compared to a UK conventional training method. Monty Roberts trained horses did have significantly lower heart rates during first saddle and first rider backing process (i.e. heart rate reduced between first saddle and first rider), a finding which has never previously been reported in the scientific literature. Thus the heart rates observed from Monty Roberts trained horses during first saddle and first rider are currently the lowest reported for any training regime reported in the literature to date.

The use of the round pen and in particular the technique of Join-up have been frequently criticized and reported in the literature to be another significant stressor due to the perceived opinion that this environment and method overtly activates the flight response. Our study could find no evidence that the use of the round pen or, indeed the technique of Join-up, was fear inducing and thus a significant stressor to the horse based on heart rate alone. In fact, we found that the heart rate of horses during this technique were considerably below the maximum heart rate for horses of this age and breed. 

Following 20 days of training (30 minutes/horse/day) the study horses undertook a standardized ridden obstacle and flatwork test and a ridden freestyle test. Heart rates recorded during these tests for both training regimes were not significantly different; however Monty Robert’s trained horses scored significantly higher in all three tests as determined by a panel of judges who were unaware of the study or the trainers involved in the study.  

Our manuscript therefore provides peer reviewed scientific substance to indicate that that the Monty Roberts training technique is highly efficacious in terms of the effect on the welfare and performance of the horse undergoing foundation training.”

Recently, a student under the supervision of Professor P. McGreevy of the University of Sydney, Australia, set out to discredit round pen techniques, specifically Monty Roberts’ Join-Up® methods. This video demonstrates the explicit reasons behind the student’s paper in her own words, specifically mentioning Her Majesty The Queen of England. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/science-takes-on-the-man-who-listens-to-horses-20120713-2219x.html  An abstract of that paper was presented at the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES) conference in Edinburgh, Scotland during their conference. 

Mr. Roberts responded that his Join-Up® method uses both positive and negative reinforcement, and negative reinforcement could be a ”good thing.”

”How do you get a horse to move off your leg? You lay your leg against the horse with pressure and then when the horse steps away you remove the pressure – that’s negative reinforcement,” said Mr. Roberts, who advocates non-violence and uses choice without pain or force in the training of horses in front of live audiences worldwide.

”Everybody that ever works with a horse stresses a horse. You will stress a horse when you bring him out of a meadow,” said Mr. Roberts. “They have to go through a certain amount of stress in order to accept they are going to live with humans,” he said. 

Compare this student’s paper making the news in equestrian circles worldwide with a controlled Science Trial and published in a legitimate Science Journal Anthrozoös referenced by Fowler V. Kennedy M. and Marlin D. (2012) A Comparison of the Monty Roberts Technique with a Conventional UK technique for initial training of riding horses. Anthrozoös. Vol. 25 (3). 

 

 

Summary of the Science Trial Results

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

‘Monty’ versus ‘Conventional’ Training… A summary of the astonishing Science Trials results is released at last! Reprint permission from Intelligent Horsemanship. Click on this link to view and download the whitepaper with science trials results and graphics: http://www.montyroberts.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/science-trials-summary-results-with-graphics-final.pdf