Archive for the ‘Horse Sense for Organizations’ Category


A Summer of Inspiration with Monty Roberts

Monday, June 16th, 2014

By Debbie Roberts-Loucks and Dr. Susan Cain, authors of Life Lessons From The Man who Listens to Horses

It is finally summer, and that means that more people will be here in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, touring Flag Is Up Farms!

This month we hosted a great evening program called Night of Inspiration, featuring Monty’s signature Join-Up event, followed by a superb barbeque cookout. Over 45 people attended this great event–which was casual and at the same time very exciting. After watching a Join-Up® in Monty’s specially built round pen with viewing deck, the group headed to Monty and Pat Robert’s home atop the farm. There, they meet personally with Monty, Pat and their family, and enjoy a cocktail and dinner amid the signed photographs of the Queen of England and Pat’s award winning sculptures. It sounds like a commercial, but people who attend can’t say enough about how touched they are by the personal impact.

The next day, we held an intimate workshop called Life Lessons From The Man Who Listens To Horses. This full-day session is like an intimate book reading, a behind the scenes look at the famous stories from Monty’s original book- which spent over a year on the New York Times Best Selling list.

In this deeply personal session, participants get a chance to delve into the “back stories” in Monty’s fascinating life journey. We apply lessons learned, and think about our own lives and our own learning opportunities.

One of the session participants, Marsha Mantzoros, wrote this note about her experience:

“To you, Debbie, Monty, Pat & Laurel, thank you so much for allowing us an inside look at your life & home (stables). The small group allowed for a closer intimacy between all & I truly valued Monty’s ability especially to relay his private story. Sharing where we’ve been & what we’ve done allows comparison to all that we have become and/ or will become. A humble success story. What I regretted not asking Monty, as he goes through some struggles of his own, is how can we assist him & add to his life? What does he want from us??? How can we (I) help? Thanks again for a wonderful day.”

After receiving Marsha’s letter, we asked Marsha to tell us more about her experience. The resulting response is below:

“On June 1, 2014 I was blessed and grateful to be able to attend a seminar with Monty Roberts on his beautiful, peaceful ranch in Solvang, California. Living all my life on the East Coast, I never raised my head to notice this extraordinary Cowboy from the west who was doing wonders with horses in a way that I would have very much appreciated to

know about. So here I am in my 60’s, now living in California, and finally paying attention to a man worth paying attention to! The Life Lessons event on Sunday was beautiful, inspiring and fun. Pat Roberts, Debbie, Laurel (Roberts) and Sue Cain were all there to contribute to the day. Because of the small group, it was all up close & personal. All our questions and observations were addressed.

I came away feeling totally fulfilled, and that I am now on a path that would lead me forward with more insight and compassion for our giving, loyal friend, the horse.

Many thanks to the Roberts family and associates for putting this day together, for making us feel welcome and for passing on some valuable horse wisdom that we can carry with us.”

We get these responses from so many people that come away with a sense of renewal from Monty’s workshops. Even reading a Monty book or watching him work online via the Monty Robert’s Online University brings this improbable response on. It’s amazing and gratifying to watch Monty’s impact on people. From our Life Lessons workshop, we have a few tips to share to help you discover lessons taken from the session. Take a look at the personal development tools we introduced at the session here:


You can find the Life Lessons book here, at Amazon: Book:

Find the Monty Roberts Online University here:

Join us for a Night of Inspiration or Life Lessons workshop. Contact Debbie Roberts-Loucks at


What can we learn about leadership from horses?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

 Dr. Susan Cain and Debbie Roberts-Loucks

CLI_MR_book_covers-1In writing our new book, JOINING UP: What Horses Can Teach Us About Leadership, we came across an important discovery: the way we “show up” and influence animals is sometimes similar to the way we lead humans. Take for example the last time you trained a horse, a dog, or another animal in your life.

How did you communicate the training goal? Were you patient or impatient? Did you enter the training opportunity with anxiety or come in totally calm?

Monty Roberts starts horses with a dedicated calm, clear communication and a great deal of patience. Think about that approach the next time you are about to lead a human or a group of humans. Enter in assuming good intent, communicate expectations clearly and patiently work through the process of elevating the performance levels of others.

Leadership is that blending of personal style with enough self-awareness to be able to bring people with you. As a leader, think about the following question: why would anyone want to follow you?

Our new book, due out in fall of 2013, will give insights into how Monty developed a personal leadership style capable of changing the world for horses and humans. Let’s hear from you! What inspires you most about Monty Roberts’ leadership qualities? Click here to respond:

 For more information contact Susan Cain at


Helping Employees Turn Their Performance Around

Monday, July 8th, 2013

by Dr. Susan Cain and Debbie Roberts-Loucks

Recently, we received an interesting request for information. The sender, a human resources professional, saw a correlation between what Monty does in the round pen with horses to inspire trust and motivation and how it can impact the workplace. Click here to download further information about the retreats and workshops based on Monty’s principles that are offered to corporations at Flag Is Farms.

Dear Monty,

Have you ever looked at applying “Equus” in changing the progressive disciplinary systems of companies? If yes, I would love to get my hands on materials that you have developed for this purpose. If not, I’d especially enjoy speaking with you again and see what your thoughts are on this.

Creating circumstances to help horses or humans perform at their best requires similar skills.

A round pen and a learning environment in the workplace must start with the absence of fear, an abundance of support and encouragement, transparent expectations, and a negotiated agreement to moving forward. Force can create short-term responses, but can build resentment later. Monty shared a story from his book, the New York Times Best Seller, The Man Who Listens to Horses:

The most influential teacher in my educational career was a nun by the name of Sister Agnes Patricia. The thing I will always remember about her is that she taught me about teaching itself. It was her belief that no teacher could ever teach anyone anything. She felt her task, as a teacher was to create an environment in which the student can learn.

Her opinion was that knowledge needs to be pulled into the brain by the student, not pushed into it by the teacher. Knowledge was not to be forced on a student. The brain has to be receptive, malleable and most importantly desirous of that knowledge. I apply the same philosophy to training horses. To use the word ‘teach’ implies an injection of knowledge, but it is my opinion – garnered from Sister Agnes – that there is no such thing as teaching, only learning.

Setting the right environment for an employee to turn performance around starts with the assumption that improvements cannot be forced.

We have created three vital lessons that taken from “Join-Up”:

1. Respect for freedom of choice: In the round pen, free choice is placed on the table and the human leader offers support for change. In the workplace, an effective manager or leader might also disclose consequences if a performance is not improved. The crucial learning lesson from the round pen is that free choice is engaged, and horse or human have options-resist or engage. Resentence, the ability to say no, forms the basis for any possible commitment, replacing compliance and lip service. As a trainer, Monty treats horses that are resistive with the same respect as horses that have decided to “Join-Up.”

2. Resist the temptation to react: Tension and reaction limit the ability to manage the changing situation. Stay neutral and step outside the need to fix. Stay involved and available. Listen to your follower. Offer affirmation. How can you facilitate the situation so that it culminates in the best interest for all?

3. Generate options: If the follower decides not to “Join-Up” and improve performance, be very careful about lowering your standards to accommodate their choice. There are still many options for them, including employment elsewhere, a change in position, or other options that perhaps they were unable to see before. What skill or information gaps can you help close to help them move forward?

Even a horse that decides to “Join-Up” has specific fears to overcome and lessons to learn. How can you help your follower move forward, even if it is not with you?

Watch the Join-Up in Monty’s video above, and think about other ways you can transfer the key learning’s from round pen to the office. Contact Susan Cain for more information at