Monty Roberts Listens to Horses
Communicating with horses and people 
without brutality or coercion is more effective, 
and saves time and money




Systems of education and training and work based on coercion persist because people don't know any alternative that will get the job done, and they can't imagine that any alternative could possibly be more cost effective. Kindness, gentleness, patience --- all are fine ideas, in principle --  but patience takes time, even when it works, and time is money. Right?

One of the clearest voices urging us to give up coercion and begin respecting people (and animals!) as individuals responsible for their own choices and their own learning, Marty Roberts shows how it's done. You can't teach anyone anything -- but you can invite them to learn with you, and set up conditions to help them do so.

If you whip a horse during a race, it slows down. You can't afford cruelty, even if all you care about is money. Without violence of any sort, Roberts can do more with a green horse in a half hour than a trainer using traditionally cruel methods can accomplish in a week. Of course, most people care about more than money, and would love to be able to replace coercive relationships with willing and joyful collaboration. Here's a very good start towards learning how.

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Using a method involving kindness and communication, Monty Roberts can start a horse to saddle, bridle and rider in an average of 30 minutes. He believes that the violence involved in the traditional method of horse breaking is "unnecessary and counterproductive." "I don't 'break' horses in 30 minutes, I 'start' them," he says. "I want the horse on my team." 

The standard practice at a race was to whip horses in the stall to make them start faster -- making them so afraid that they would be desperate to escape the confinement of the starting gate. A friend showed him that this cruelty "was not only unnecessary, it was counterproductive. It made the horses slower off the mark." Use of whips by jockeys during a race is likewise worse than useless: Measurements showed that "most horses slow down when they are whipped."

-- The Man Who Listens to Horses, pp. 65, 66

He tells of one of his teachers, who stated that "There is no such thing as teaching -- only learning." No one ever teaches anyone anything. What a teacher can do is to "create an environment in which the student can learn." "Knowledge ... needs to be pulled into the brain, not pushed into it by the teacher. Knowledge is not to be forced on anyone. The brain has to be receptive, malleable, and most important, hungry for that knowledge." 

-- The Man Who Listens to Horses, pp. 87, 88

He talks about his failures. At one point he tried very hard to get a very promising working horse ready for racing. "After four months, I conceded defeat. I had taken Fancy Heels backward so enormously that the kindest thing was to sell him to a good ranch where he could go back to the work he enjoyed. An amateur bought him, and when I saw them compete, I saw a rider who did not notice every mistake the horse made and a horse who tried his heart out. They won often." "I pressed for a standard of excellence without taking the horse's feelings into account. It did not work." "That horse taught me to respect horses.... I had failed him, but I did learn from the experience." 

-- The Man Who Listens to Horses, pp. 146, 147

 He talks about relationships with some horses that go far beyond successful training. "After join-up, Dually bonded with me very strongly, and like Johnny Tivio, he will follow me around the farm without any headgear on. I can wander up to the promontory that overlooks the farm, and he'll walk alongside as if there were an invisible thread connecting us." "The understanding between us is mature and well-founded. I have not so much trained him as created an environment in which he wanted to learn. I have never pulled at his mouth, ever; in fact, I could use a cotton thread instead of leather reins." 

-- The Man Who Listens to Horses, p. 158

His approach can help people work more effectively with others, as parents, as teachers, as managers, as therapists -- in any role wherein communication is an important part of the process. "Applied to humans, Roberts' technique always offers alternatives without the fear of pain or punishment. 'Make it easy for the child or adult to Join-Up® with you, rather than struggle against you,' says Monty."

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Monty Roberts -- Books -- Videos -- Web Sites

Monty Roberts
My goal is to leave the world a better place, for horses and for people, than I found it. 

In that effort I invite you to call for further information regarding clinics, conferences, educational videos, or other educational material at:

toll free -- 1-888-U2-MONTY
Thank  you,
Monty Roberts

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Web Sites
Monty Roberts' Web Site
news - tour - farm - school - clinics - products

Join-Up with Monty Roberts and learn how he starts horses to saddle, bridle, and rider without any fear or pain. Gain access to his full range of custom designed tack and training videos, find out where to catch up with Monty on his Join-Up demonstration tour, learn more about plans for the International Learning Center.

"The Join-Up Method Explained"

Monty Roberts and Kelly Marks
Courses, demonstrations and clinics in UK, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

More Real "Horse Whisperer" Trainers

Frank Bell: Web Site
Buck Brannaman, model for the novel: Web Site - Article
Kenny Harlow: Web Site - Article
John Lyons: Web Site - Perfect Horse Magazine
Pat Parelli: Web Site
Dennis Reis Articles: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

The Not-So-Real Movie, "The Horse Whisperer"

The Horse Whisperer - The movie directed by Robert Redford.
The Production of the Movie

The Horse Whisperer - The novel, by Nicholas Evans, that the movie was based on.

Mixed Messages from the Movie - Very interesting warnings from John Lyons about misleading aspects of the film.

Web Sites about Horses

EquiSearch - HorseNet - Arabian Explorations Links

Life is for Everything Foundation 
KBR's World of Wild Horses and Burros
Wild Horse and Burro Adoptions

Institute for Ancient Equestrian Studies

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Monty Roberts Books

Links are to listings, where the books are reviewed by readers, and can be ordered online. (We receive a small commission on items you order through these links.)

The Man Who Listens to Horses, by Monty Roberts

Paperback - Hardcover - Audio Cassette - Large Print

Monty Roberts has worked with horses all his life. In this autobiography he tells about his childhood days as a rodeo rider and movie stand-in, his problems with his violent horse trainer father, his vision of a new way of working with horses, his struggle to be accepted by the horse training professionals, and the invitation from the Queen of England that let him deliver his message to a worldwide audience. Through it all, he tells how he gradually earned his deep understanding of  "Equus," the nonverbal  language of horses, and what he learned from the horses about communication and learning in humans.

An appendix gives instructions for starting horses with the Join-Up® technique.

Shy Boy: The Horse Who Came in from the Wild, by Monty Roberts

Hardcover - Audio Cassette

The story of one wild mustang that Roberts befriended and domesticated using his nonviolent training technique for a special documentary. In the beautiful Cuyama Valley, in California, he tracked the young stallion Shy Boy for three days, gradually letting the horse get used to human contact, and then started him to saddle, bridle and rider, and brought him back to his ranch. He also tells stories about others who have used his methods. Dozens of glossy color photos of the Montey's ranch, the range, and Monty at work make the book a delight for the eye as well as for the mind and heart.

Related Books by Other Authors

A Kinship With All Life, by J. Allen Boone

True Unity: Willing Communication Between Horse and Human, by Tom Dorrance

Think Harmony With Horses, by Ray Hunt

Lyons on Horses: John Lyons' Proven Conditioned-Response Training Program, by John Lyons

Natural Horse-Man-Ship, by Pat Parelli

Monty Roberts Videos

Monty Roberts: A Real Horse Whisperer In this popular documentary, which aired in the US on PBS and on QED in the UK, Monty sets out to Join-Up® with a wild mustang.  Without fear, without force, and without fences or enclosures Monty performed Join-Up on the mustang while riding his saddle horse, and started him to saddle, bridle, and rider over the course of three days.

Videos from Monty Roberts Educational Series
Join-Up® - Follow UpTM - Load-UpTM

This series of videos describes in-depth how to actually use Monty's methods in working with horses -- how to humanely train unstarted horses using non-violent methods, how to work with horses that are afraid of being loaded onto trailers -- with more topics to come.

 "... instead of using conventional procedures, Monty persuades an unbroken horse to accept a saddle, bridle and rider in approximately 30 minutes or less without pain or fear, something traditionalists view as impossible. The goal is to create a foundation of trust and instill an understanding of what behavior man desires from the young animal that will carry him throughout his life."

Join-Up® video jacket

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