Archive for January, 2012


Watch Monty Roberts videos on the Horse & Country TV

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Monty Roberts joins Horse & Country in this 13 part series. Filmed at Monty’s stunning Flag Is Up Farms in California, this series takes you on a journey into the mind and memories of one of the most influential men in equestrianism. Meet the inspirational man who listens to horses, and find out how he gains their trust and understanding. Click on this link to see the video:



Ask Monty: Is there such a thing a ‘coldback horse’?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012


My husband would like to know if there is such a thing as a “coldback horse”. In other words “one that you have to lunge before each ride”? We think not, but there are others who tell us yes. Robert says he’ll take your word before anyone else’s.

Monty’s Answer:

The Coldback horse is a phenomenon generally referred to by horse people whereby the horse tends to want to buck with the saddle or the saddle and rider in the first minutes of any given day. The inference is that when the back is cold the horse wants to buck. When the back warms up, the tendency is to accept the saddle and rider. When assessing this phenomenon, one wants to be very careful not to confuse a physical problem with a psychological problem.

Many Coldback horses will generally outgrow it and resolve the problem pretty much on their own. One should be careful to exercise moderately before mounting. If we are dealing with a physical problem, the odds are that it will not resolve itself without dealing with the physical malady before expecting a resolution to what we term the Coldback problem. At this point in time I know of no other diagnostic solution than to X-ray the dorsal processes of the spinal column.

Once the X-ray is completed, the competent vet will diagnose normality or abnormality of the dorsal processes, their spacing and their alignment. Should there be the problem of misalignment, it is likely that the vet will determine it to be ‘Kissing Spine’. I am discovering that many horses who have heretofore been termed buckers or horses with many negative labels are actually horses with anatomical abnormalities that can cause extreme pain with the weight of a rider. One should be sure to investigate the potential for physical problems before labeling the horse as having psychological problems.

What can you do to help this horse? The vet might use an anti-inflammatory between the dorsals or even the removal of some processes with no ill effect with the horse being able to carry the saddle and rider.


Ask Monty: How can I learn the correct riding position?

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Question: Hello, I have a little problem when I’m riding: I can’t keep my toes in. How can I fix my problem? Thank you, Candi

Monty’s Answer:

Beginning riders have to train their muscles to get their riding position right. To achieve the leg position that I practice, you will want the center of the stirrup to be in the middle of the widest part of your foot. The goal is to have your toes pointed toward the horse’s ears, but straight ahead is acceptable. Your body should be aligned in a line from your head straight through your heels.

The ‘correct’ riding position varies depending on the riding discipline that you practice. A good student will also note that the correct riding position has changed through the times. When I was a young boy taking riding lessons, my riding instructors often reminded me to ‘grip with the knees and keep the toes in’ and this is the way that I ride even today.

The critical factor is that your body is well aligned so that you can be centered and balanced. The center line of the horse and the center line of the human should be matching exactly. Achieving the correct riding position takes a lot of practice. The goal is to be balanced on the horse at every gait, ensuring the safety of the rider and setting the horse and rider up for good performance.

Watch Monty explain and demonstrate his riding style in this video:


Monty Roberts becomes patron of Horseworld charity

Friday, January 13th, 2012

In November 2011, Monty paid a visit to Horseworld, a charity that works to heal young people with emotional issues by helping them establish healthy and safe emotional bonds with horses.  Children and horses are subjects close to Monty’s heart. John Newman, chairman of trustees at Horseworld, said: “To have Monty Roberts join the Horseworld team as patron is a huge honour for our staff, volunteers and supporters.”

More here:


Ask Monty: What do you use to protect your horse’s back?

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Question: My lovely appaloosa mare, Leggs, and I enjoy rambling round the countryside (hacks/trails of 10-20 miles) and a few long distance rides each year. Leggs’ current saddle pad is a bit too long, rubbing slightly over her lumbar spine/loin area. The problem is that we live in the UK and ride western. Well, Leggs is Western and has been a great teacher so now we amble along happily understanding each other. The point is that there are no Western saddlers anywhere nearby to go and explore suitable saddle pads. Instead I’ve done some research online and come up with two possible options and wanted to see if any of you have experience of them. I am considering the Cavallo Western All Purpose – Performance Enhanced and the Horsedream Products 30mm pile merino lambskin western pad with a twill outer. I think the outer is a bit like a normal English numbna. I hope anyone with a Cavallo saddle pad could let me know what you think of its performance as to import one to the UK costs half as much again on the usual price – very expensive! Or if you use a merino wool pad without all the extras, like felt and woven exterior, how does it work? I want Leggs to be as comfortable and happy as possible, so if you’ve got any comments on the above or even another saddle pad idea it would be good to hear. Liz n Leggs

Monty’s Answer: Recently, I filmed a series of lessons for Equus Online University called ‘The Science of Saddle Fitting’ with saddle tech, Robert Ferrand. Our findings confirmed that no saddle can fit perfectly under all circumstances, but we can optimize the effect of a proper fitting saddle accompanied by an effective saddle pad cushion.

Since 2007, I have been working with a Canadian company, Cavallo Inc., that has reached out to assist us in this effort to maximize the effect of the saddle pad in the area of protecting the horse’s back. In this video, you will see me reviewing the qualities and benefits of Cavallo pads as I work with my horse, Nice Chrome.