Topic: TRAINING HORSES, MONTY ROBERTS
Date of Submission:
Training Horses, Monty Roberts
This paper discusses in detail the acts that are associated with Monty Roberts; this shows that it analyzes on the Biography and the kind of life that existed between the horse and his character. Therefore, it shows that when there is a comparing of horse training techniques, his way of dealing with a horse comes to our mind. What comes to our mind is that of a man who advocated for a gentle approach to horse training or breaking. This was where rewards could be used as opposed to the traditional methods that were currently in place. In the place of the whip, bridle and other accompaniments, he took a totally different approach altogether. This was possible as the communication between the trainer and the horse is the whole point by Monty Roberts approach (Roberts & Abernethy, 2007 p.119). There is a phrase “a good trainer can hear a horse speak to him, and a great trainer can hear a horse whisper “thus this has been attributed to him.
In essence, it is said that Monty Roberts is a strong advocate for Equine teaching that is free of cruelty and he is renowned with books written and movies made of him; moreover, he has lived an ordinary life. His early life contrasts with his adult life greatly, since he lived around horses, both when he was young and when he was an adult. It shows that from an early childhood of three years, he entered numerous horse shows in which he excelled hence winning his first championship in the next year; when he was four years (Roberts & Abernethy, 2007 p.44). His father was a horse trainer, thus following in his footsteps was what the father wanted for his son; this was so since after winning the championship, he was used by his father in attracting business to his ranch.
The contrast is seen in that the father was harsh and ill tempered hence he never hesitated to use violence on his family and animals. This could be used to mark the point at which he starts to nurture his special relationship with horses. He disliked the way his father used to train horses thus it was due to this that he started considering alternative ways of training horses. At the age of thirteen, he was involved with Rodeo Circuit who was tasked with searching and rounding up wild mustangs (Roberts & Abernethy, 2007 p.54).Spending weeks on horse backs while following a group of wild mustangs hence this led to the foundation for equine behaviors and his understanding of it was to form his philosophy of equine training.
When being contrasted with Paalman’s Technique of horse breaking, like gentle handling, it is realized that they are of the same school of thought though Roberts is more attuned. So what is the difference between them? The document shows that Roberts did observe the hierarchy of leadership in a group of horses unraveling the horse survival instincts. He learned that in a herd, it is not a stallion that is a leader of a group but rather the strongest and eldest mare. It is this mare who is in charge of the heard, finding water, food and as well as disciplining the younger heard members (Bayley, 2006 p.89). This leader is called the Alpha mare (heatherman2) a younger member can be punished by being separated from the herd.
Thus, the dominant Mare could take an aggressive attitude, of bunching up its shoulders and then making direct eye contact and offending younger herd member, the offender could be kept at a distance from the other members of the herd. Since as Monty, learned that just like humans, horses are highly social animals, separation from the herd induces survival mechanisms as the horses fear being abandoned by the group. Thus, this punishing stance could be kept up until the offending horse dropped its head to the ground signaling acquisanse and accepting the other’s leadership (Bayley, 2006 p.109).This marked the end of the punishment and the offender could then return to the herd. This observations made by Monty, exposed the nature of Horses either tame or wild.
From the observations made, Roberts learned that the human body could be made to imitate and generate the afore-mentioned signals of a punishing alpha Mare. Roberts used this technique to great effect in training young and steady wild horses. Without using force and without unleashing any pain, the young Horse could be taught how to get used to the saddle, the rider as well as the bridle (marsh1) this technique of a silent language of gestures and signals Roberts is referred to as eguus (Bayley, 2006 p.123). In breaking a horse, Monty did not need a whip but instead he used a long rope, a rounded pen and his squared shoulders acted as tools of trade when starting up an unbroken young horse.
In training the horse, he would shake the rope repeatedly while squaring the shoulders in imitation of an Alpha Mare punishing an offending young horse. This went on in the rounded pen, living the unbroken horse without an avenue of escape. In time; the young horse would get tired and confused and would then try to look for support to lean on. This would be the cue for Monty to assume the role of the forgiving mare and invite the horse to him. Roberts called this moment the ‘moment of truth’ or join up (Roberts, 2008 p.47).Although the technique gives an impression of sheer simplicity, in essence it requires a lot of patience and a keen eye to notice the subtle behavior changes in the horse. At this juncture it is only trust that has been gained between trainer and trainee (horse). Other accompaniments, like bridle, saddle and the horse accepting the rider are yet to be learned by the horse. In the end use of force and intimidation can be done away with if the technique is followed correctly.
It is worth noting that this, this pain free technique, learned by Monty through many years of experience interspersed with both failure and successes never was warmly received by Monty’s fellow trainers. As a young man, he thought that his discovery would be met with acclaim, but it was not to be. Instead of praise as Monty himself says, a friend, Ray, disdainfully claimed that his method was a coincidence and that Monty should stop this technique, warning him that he could get hurt in the process. All this was said after Monty had demonstrated the technique on a wild horse successfully. Worse was to come from his own father since the reaction was drastic; he beat up Monty with a chain resulting in Roberts being hospitalized. His father wondered whether he was raising a son or a wimp. This can be attributed to his father’s disposition as well as the times he lived in his home (Roberts, 2008 p.97). This scene marks a stage in Monty’s life where to develop his theories he had to change the environment in which he grew underground for fourty years.
In the year 1989, after working underground without the spotlight on him for forty years, Monty surfaced. His name was mentioned and recommended to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth who commissioned Monty to train the royal cavalry of sixteen horses at the Windsor Castle. This would mark the period that Monty gained the fame and recognition that was deservedly his. As an influential thinker, Monty Roberts’s technique of horse training has been adopted not only by the equestrian trainers, but also by the corporate scene. Corporate managers have incorporated Monty’s technique of gently winning over the workers as opposed to throwing about a mangers weight of issuing orders; followed by the workers which were a simpler way of winning over the worker(Maxwell, 2007 p.65). Thus, affording the human dignity that he has been known to get more out of the worker than the traditional top-down approach hence he deserves credit for this change around.
The humane aspect of Monty’s training technique is shown by his approach to children. On his ranch, together with his wife Pat, Monty has taken in over fifty children to foster. Just like unbroken horses for taming, the kids are mostly broken ones with drug problems of addiction, others having eating dis-orders and kleptomania. At his ranch, the children are taught the values of human dignity, self respect, meaningful work and patience. Instead of application of force, the kids are gently won over as the gentle breaking techniques are applied. Monty and his wife Pat lavish praise on the kids whenever the kids do well in any endeavor as they assigns them while no criticisms are directed towards them whenever the kids go astray or stumble (Maxwell, 2007 p.89). This helps the kids to develop trust towards Monty and his wife Pat, and thereby learn to live confidently in their environment.(marsh2).
As a contribution to management techniques, Monty’s gentle ways of getting the best out of wild horses as well as children has been co-opted by the corporate world. Beginning with his famous book and movie ‘the horse whisperer’ a major change has been wrought by Monty’s ways. Now more people do appreciate and understand the ways of equine industry, the best way of handling horses, i.e. how to break an unbroken horse and the general horse handling techniques. This is why a number of major corporations have turned to Monty for inspirational speeches (Roberts, 2006 p.78). Monty has been called upon by corporations like ford motor company, general motors, Volkswagen as well as Disney to give motivational speeches to their workers.
What would make major corporations like the above mentioned majors to seek the services of one person from such a different world altogether from their main area of industry? The answer must be found from the exceptional quality of the man himself since from a very humble beginning, he rose to great fame and recognition doing what he knew best and doing it wholeheartedly (Maxwell, 2007 p.69). As part of his life’s’ desire, he wished for a real change in the way people treated their animals especially horses, specifically doing away with the use of force in the handling of horses.
In the ‘horse whisperer’ both book and movie, which are based on the horse trainer Monty, his gentle ways of training horses are highlighted. His technique is an expose of a philosophy of instruction based on gentleness towards both beast and man. In developing his technique Monty had to study psychology of horse behavior from an early and tender age. This was not easy, but as to all individuals who make a mark on the social scene Monty stuck through. His recognition and fame are a deserved fruit for all his efforts (Maxwell, 2007 p.135). His ideas on horse training have become revolutionary to the equine training industry and beyond.
He has taught humanity that compassion can be an effective tool in training of both beast and humanity. Through his efforts, violence intimidation has no more space in horse training and human interaction as a whole. In the human side of enterprise, two categories of schools of thought are theorized in relation to workers. One school of thought proposes for a forceful direction of workers who are watched over while working and the other school of thought gives space for the workers to think for themselves (Roberts, 2006 p.126). Hence in the process, acquire the desire and believe to give their best in whatever they do.
In retrospect we could say that Roberts epitomized the later theory, both in his own life as well as the work that the man chose to do in his lifetime. No wonder the corporate world chose him as a role model to give motivational speeches to their workers. Though as a training technique, it was so drastic in contrast to whatever methods that had been in use that in most cases it has continued to elicit some form of skepticism (Bromiley, 2009 p.79). In conclusion, what better ways for such a man to say that he envisions a world devoid of violence, than to acknowledge the change he has inspired in humanity to understand that horses are intelligent creatures which can be reasoned to if only humanity could learn the ways in which to communicate with the horse.
Roberts, M, 2006, HORSES IN MY LIFE, THEA, USA, Publisher HEADLINE.
Bromiley, M, 2009, Natural Methods for Equine Health and Performance, Edition2, USA, Publisher John Wiley and Sons.
Maxwell, R, 2007, Unlock Your Horses Talent in 20 Minutes a Day, Publisher David & Charles.
Bayley, L, 2006, Groundwork Training for Your Horse, London, Publisher David & Charles.
Roberts, M & Abernethy, J 2007, From My Hands to Yours: Lessons from a Lifetime of Training Championship Horses, London, Publisher M. and P. Roberts.
Roberts, M, 2008, The Man Who Listens to Horses: The Story of a Real-Life Horse Whisperer, London, Publisher Random House Publishing Group.