Monty Roberts

Mule

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Have you met him? He comes across as genuinely wanting to make things better for horses and he knows he gets lots of flack

Join-up is NOT running them round until they are knackered! I have heard of people doing this, but it is NOT join-up.
I'm sure he does want to make things better for horses I'm sure the Parellis do too. The difficulty is that people put them on pedestals and if/when they mess up there is uproar. Tbh, because the NH people market themselves as the humane alternative they're bound to fall farthest. Afterall, we all mess up from time to time.
 
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Have you met him? He comes across as genuinely wanting to make things better for horses and he knows he gets lots of flack

Join-up is NOT running them round until they are knackered! I have heard of people doing this, but it is NOT join-up.
Sorry perhaps I wasn't clear. My point is that the same result can be achieved in seconds. MR and KM say that you need to keep going until you see head lowering, ear flicking towards the trainer etc. As I say, you can achieve 'join up' and 'follow up' simply by sending them out for a couple of laps on each rein.

Maybe he genuinely believes what he says. But it isn't true I'm afraid.
 

Rowreach

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I'm sure he does want to make things better for horses I'm sure the Parellis do too. The difficulty is that people put them on pedestals and if/when they mess up there is uproar. Tbh, because the NH people market themselves as the humane alternative they're bound to fall farthest. Afterall, we all mess up from time to time.
I think the two examples you give are solely in it for the millions they are making. If they ever had horse welfare in mind it was a long time ago.

The "real" American horsemen/women of that generation have no time for them, which says it all for me.
 

Mule

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I think the two examples you give are solely in it for the millions they are making. If they ever had horse welfare in mind it was a long time ago.

The "real" American horsemen/women of that generation have no time for them, which says it all for me.
Maybe, I don't know, but I doubt they started out that way. There wasn't millions in it back when they first started off.
 

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Maybe, I don't know, but I doubt they started out that way. There wasn't millions in it back when they first started off.
No there wasnt and there always wasnt thousands of eyes on the either...

Heck a semi recent example is parelli with Robert Whitaker's stallion Catwalk. YouTube that show of "Horsemanship"

While it is (very) easy to list the flaws with the likes of Monty and Pat P (don't even get me started on the cretin that is Clinton Anderson) they are only in the position that they are because of demand. So many people looking for a quick fix and thinking that twenty mins of join up will give them that. They dont appreciate the thousands of hours and horses that have gone into letting these trainers do 20min demonstrations.

Every good horseman will tell you about the ones they screwed up and learnt what not to do with. It's hard to appreciate over here but these trainers from working ranches/stations have access to literally thousands of horses and it's no biggie to screw one or two up when there are 998 others.

But yeah the crux was people looking for a quick fix and an easy definitive answer. Unfortunately horses dont work like that.

There are lots of good trainers and horsemen (& it does seem to be mainly men. There seems to he an issue by both sexes taking instruction from women in this field. This is made even stranger considering the female "english" riders that are popular trainers); Tom and Bill Dorrance, Mark Rashid, Ray Hunt and John Lyons off the top of my head all have excellent books on horsemanship
 

NLPM

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I used to like the idea of 'natural horsemanship', but I've really gone off it (the branding, not the idea of treating horses naturally!) with all the hype and various displays I've been to. Some of them have been far from natural. At the MR demo I went to, he bragged about how he would be able to get a horse that was terrified of plastic bags to go over tarpaulin. He did it, too... By laying out a huge sheet of tarpaulin in a small round pen, then tying a carrier bag to a stick and flapping it about behind the terrified horse until it was more afraid of him and that bag than it was the tarpaulin and it ran over in desperation.

All I could then think about was how horrific it would be if that horse ever then met a carrier bag on the road when hacking out with a poor unsuspecting rider.
 

Pascal96

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I am also a Richard Maxwell fan. I have been to several of his demonstrations and also have met him on a one to one basis and what you see is what you get at all times. He is very approachable and always prepared to help even when out of the public eye.
I do not like MR or PP as I think that both of them are showmen and are more interested in the money and not the horses.
 
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Take out the word "natural" and that's what a lot of people lack - "horsemanship".

Years ago I was on a stand at the Royal Show, I watched a demo of natural horsemanship trying to load a horse. Needless to say I wouldn't be rushing to them for help ever.
 

Tiddlypom

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Interesting to hear how the Monty bandwagon has developed. IMHO, he was more of a horseman and less of a publicist when he first came over. I volunteered the late chestnut git, then a genuinely unbacked 3yo, as a demo horse when Horse and Hound first brought Monty over in 1989.

The late chestnut git (TB/sec D) is the horse being ridden in canter in the main photo under the H&H banner, and also in pic 2 (horse advances) and pic 9 (long reining). 2ECC5541-DA4E-4714-97E8-EEA04701E821.jpeg

B5A9C6B5-BE3E-4B31-877A-5E9E2B6AA36A.jpeg
Why did I volunteer him? He was even then a brash overconfident horse with thuggish tendencies, and I decided that if any horse could cope with all this razzmatazz, he could. He behaved like a bloody lamb, he was putty in Monty’s hands. I would never have taken my other TB/sec D, a sensitive soul who would have hated it. It did the late chestnut git no harm at all.

Ones of the other 3yos for starting was a really tricky number. Monty did not try to get him backed on the first day, he asked the owners to stay over for two more days as he need more time to work with him. That was the 1989 Monty, maybe the 2019 Monty is a victim of his own hype, I don’t like the sound of his current approach to the demos at all.

There was no trying out the horses beforehand either then. I was with mine all the time at the stables and in full charge of him, except for when he was being used in public in the indoor arena.
 

cundlegreen

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that in itself is the problem. Why are ownership courses not available anymore? Horsemanship can be taught without the price tag. You don’t need a life surrounded by horses to be a horseman or to have
where are the instructors like we used to have that would say plain to your face nope not ready yet?

People are ballsy enough to go buy horses now without the slightest clue how to look after it but not ballsy enough to admit they dont have a clue what they are doing.

maybe I’m just too old school. I don’t like gimmicks and quick fixes. Spent too many years fixing those issues to be glamoured By big talk and a round pen
The problem is, in my day we took time to observe the horse, and work out what it was trying to say. People now seem to just get on it and go. I can understand that, but when the wheels come off it's the horse that suffers. I also took a horse to a MR clinic to get him sorted out, but he didn't pick him. Preferred horses that wouldn't even trot around the pen they were so quiet. Don't rate him at all. he has gone to the dark side with all the marketing. There was a horrific video of him years ago getting a racehorse to load into stalls. Very unpleasant viewing.
 

SpottyMare

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I'm not a fan of any kind of backing or retraining as entertainment. Both those things should be done with the least possible pressure and no time constraints, and that isn't consistent, I don't think, with a paying audience.
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Me neither.

I saw Monty Roberts a couple of times a few years ago when I first started riding again. Wouldn't go again - don't like the constant repeating of stories about his father (irrelevant imo), the ego, or the way he works with the horses. Watching the videos with the sound muted is fairly educational - you're not distracted by the chatter, and can really focus on what's going on. However, I think that with both him and PP (haven't seen him live and don't want to) there was a core of horsemanship when they started off, but that it's disappeared under all the hype and showmanship. They essentially peddle horse training by numbers..

I've not seen most of the others mentioned on this thread apart from Mark Rashid who was wonderful to watch.
 

Penny Less

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The Queen apparently is a huge fan and she is no slouch when it comes to horses so Im a bit torn. Saw him many years ago but not recently
 

TPO

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Every good horseman has evolved.

I wasnt aware of this but have it on good authority that there was an uproar when John Lyons changed his methods. Apparently he went from more "get on and get them going" to more groundwork based before getting on. Some "followers" felt ripped off and lied to because he changed his system. Really he just learnt there were better (& safer) ways to get the result.

I've posted before about a very negative experience I had watching Warwick Schiller. He was up here recently and whilst I didnt go back to see him two people did. One of them was at the same original clinic as me and ther other was my mum who had her head filled with all my negative talk about him! Both said the man I described and that we had seen before didnt turn up... He also spent a lot of time talking about his mental health, his suffering from Depression and getting counselling. A few people have passed comments that his "way" changed a few years back and quite dramatically so. The cocky youtube guy was apparently a lot more humble and considerate of the horses.

So yes every good horseman has a system but they are also open to learning and change.

However it appears that's change isnt always for the better!

I was working on stations in outback oz and saw the "tie up" method used once. Horrific. This was the norm for decades on ranches and stations. However this same station also used the round pen to "gentle" feral horses and back them yet not on of the station workers * had heard of Monty or Parelli. *the aussie females from backgrounds in horses outside of stations did but ine worked in racing and was pretty hard on horses too

If you read Tik Maynard's book he has a chapter titled Cafeteria Horsemanship. Basically it's where you take a little of everything that suits you and develop your own system. There will be good aspects in most systems but the problems start when people become blinkered and the "gurus" are put on a pedestal and not held accountable
 

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I've posted before about a very negative experience I had watching Warwick Schiller. He was up here recently and whilst I didnt go back to see him two people did. One of them was at the same original clinic as me and ther other was my mum who had her head filled with all my negative talk about him! Both said the man I described and that we had seen before didnt turn up... He also spent a lot of time talking about his mental health, his suffering from Depression and getting counselling. A few people have passed comments that his "way" changed a few years back and quite dramatically so. The cocky youtube guy was apparently a lot more humble and considerate of the horses.


If you read Tik Maynard's book he has a chapter titled Cafeteria Horsemanship. Basically it's where you take a little of everything that suits you and develop your own system. There will be good aspects in most systems but the problems start when people become blinkered and the "gurus" are put on a pedestal and not held accountable
I was one on the other post about Warwick Schiller who also had an awful experience at one of his clinics. To the point that I felt my horse's welfare was compromised, let alone the awful comments he gave to me (about me lying because he thought I dyed my hair, wore a padded bar and wore make-up). At that time he was very much making a feature about his wife's anxiety.

He may well have changed more recently, and if t were just the comments and putting me and others down then I may have given him another go, as a lot of what I saw on Youtube made sense. But, the part where it was to the detriment of the horse (IMO) I can't get over. I have to trust the trainer when asked to change what I know will keep my horse safe.

I am very much for taking information from many sources, some stuff resonates. Some does not. There are so many variables that are not even to do with the horse, school as handler confidence, timing etc.
 

Jill's Gym Karma

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In my (limited) experience of starting up young horses, everything we did would have been quite boring for an onlooker; patient, consistent, repetitive baby steps. No deadlines and every expectation of having to go back to Square One if needed. Exactly the opposite of the drama that a paying audience presumably demands.

Surely he doesn't need the money enough to still be doing circus stuff in his 80s?
 

Sleipnir

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The fact that a method seems to work doesn't mean that it's good for the horses. And, the faster a method works, giving an illusion of miracles happening in a very short time, the less friendly it often happens to be to the horses. I mean, it's now been proven for a while that you can "join up" a horse using a toy car - and there's a video where an aggressive rooster successfully "joins up" a horse in a round pen. The horse coming to the center of the pen and standing with the object of his irritation doesn't mean that any trust or "respect" has been gained - the horse just instinctively understands that this way he gets a breather from stressful pressure.

If Monty used to be better in the beginning of his career as a clinician, well, he isn't now. Seems to have gone down the road of promoting his merchandise and putting up a show.
 

Bojingles

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I went to see him at a low-key event in 1998 and was moved to tears by his gentleness and the results he achieved. I then saw him a decade later and was heartbroken by the change in the "show" which had shifted from being educational and all about the big sell.

That aside, I was always sceptical of "sending horses away" when they hadn't done anything to deserve it. What conclusion would they be expected to draw from this?
 

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Most of the 'cowboying' ways of being around horses leave me walking for the exits, lead line firmly in my hand.
I dont find this. "Cowboys" have access to thousands of horses and many who are more or less feral. They have ample opportunity to see horse behaviour in herds first hand.

I'd pick a good "cowboy" over many of the trainers in offer these days
 

tristar

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In my (limited) experience of starting up young horses, everything we did would have been quite boring for an onlooker; patient, consistent, repetitive baby steps. No deadlines and every expectation of having to go back to Square One if needed. Exactly the opposite of the drama that a paying audience presumably demands.

Surely he doesn't need the money enough to still be doing circus stuff in his 80s?
yes people have said to me ``but it looked like you just got on and rode it. `` yes i did but only after months of prep, which they failed realize is where the horse was trained
 

TPO

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I was one on the other post about Warwick Schiller who also had an awful experience at one of his clinics. To the point that I felt my horse's welfare was compromised, let alone the awful comments he gave to me (about me lying because he thought I dyed my hair, wore a padded bar and wore make-up). At that time he was very much making a feature about his wife's anxiety.

He may well have changed more recently, and if t were just the comments and putting me and others down then I may have given him another go, as a lot of what I saw on Youtube made sense. But, the part where it was to the detriment of the horse (IMO) I can't get over. I have to trust the trainer when asked to change what I know will keep my horse safe.

I am very much for taking information from many sources, some stuff resonates. Some does not. There are so many variables that are not even to do with the horse, school as handler confidence, timing etc.
Exactly- I saw him attack a horse (kneed the underside of stomach...and we've seen what length of threads that kind of behaviour gets on here!) and then spend the rest of the session justifying it as being the same as if a horse ran into electric fence and the horse has to learn respect. No mention that HE ran into the horse and not vice versa. Anyone who thought otherwise was a silly soft woman etc <roll eyes>. He'll never get another penny out of me.

However the reports back were that he was even stroking the horses and made a point of saying he didnt use to but hes softening and learned to do small things like that for the relationship.

In fact he has possibly gone too much the other way because a lot of the audience were complaining about a rude participant who was rising up and down in front of them constantly blocking g their view (was/is selling the horse) and the rode between WS and the next person he was working with. There were apparently a few mumbles in the audience from people wanting WS to have a word with her. So yeah, hes mellowed because in the clinic I watched no participant would have got away with that kind of carry on!
 

Tiddlypom

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That aside, I was always sceptical of "sending horses away" when they hadn't done anything to deserve it. What conclusion would they be expected to draw from this?
The ‘join up’ was of very dubious benefit even 30 years ago when I saw Monty. My horse, being well handled and confident around humans, wanted to follow him from the start, as did most of the well handled horses. Mine, being an arrogant thug, was a bit puzzled that he was sent away but went along with it until he was allowed in. Most of the other well handled horses got quite upset, though, they didn’t understand why they were being chased out. The barely handled horses coped much better.

My other horse, a year older, always wanting to please and much more sensitive, would have had a melt down.
 

NLPM

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The ‘join up’ was of very dubious benefit even 30 years ago when I saw Monty. My horse, being well handled and confident around humans, wanted to follow him from the start, as did most of the well handled horses. Mine, being an arrogant thug, was a bit puzzled that he was sent away but went along with it until he was allowed in. Most of the other well handled horses got quite upset, though, they didn’t understand why they were being chased out. The barely handled horses coped much better.

My other horse, a year older, always wanting to please and much more sensitive, would have had a melt down.
I had to stop a lesson once because the instructor insisted on sending my horse away by throwing bits of arena surface in his face, even when he was a few feet away. He became incredibly upset and kept trying to come to me (he wasn't a clingy horse; I think he was just at a loss as to what to do). It was horrible and I wish I'd had the guts to speak up for him sooner in the lesson. He was frustrated, anxious and confused and clearly had no idea why he was apparently in so much trouble.
 

Mule

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I remember reading a while back about Monty working with cowboys in Brazil. To them, breaking a horse meant beating it in to submission. They weren't gratuitously cruel that was just what they knew.

Anyway there was uproar in the US because apparently instead of stopping it he didn't interfere. Afterwards he showed them his way of doing things which they then adopted. I'd imagine they were receptive to it because they saw that it worked. If he had been high handed about it they might have taken offence and not taken it on-board.
 
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milliepops

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Pretty sure someone posted the video of that, mule. Some time ago now. I watched it, it was pretty horrible.
 

Mule

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Pretty sure someone posted the video of that, mule. Some time ago now. I watched it, it was pretty horrible.
I haven't seen it. I can never watch those type of videos. I know I wouldn't be able to stand by and watch something like that happen in front of me. I'm also pretty sure a group of cowboys would pay absolutely no attention to my protests:p
I can see the logic behind why he did what he did.
 

milliepops

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I think the videos may have been removed from youtube. It was truly horrible. the horse was beaten on the face and IIRC also while it lay on the ground. I agree that just insisting that your way is better is likely to get peoples backs up but I have to say I understand why Monty received a lot of criticism for just sitting there watching while it unfolded.
 

TPO

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I'm also pretty sure a group of cowboys would pay absolutely no attention to my protests:p
First hand I can say that they dint respond well 😏 "this one time in Australia" we had the horses in for shoeing, keeping in mind they are as good as feral and used as work vehicles, and this one horse wouldn't lift his foot. They then hobbled him and used a long rope as a pulley to get the foot up.

Now shoeing is back breaking and no ones favourite day again keeping in mind the horses are semi feral and while some are completely compliant there are others who (understandably!!!) do not want shod. This one didnt and managed to get away.

He was promptly caught, tied up very short and the 6ft3 heavy set stockcamp manager set about punching the horse on the muzzle. It was so hard the horse broke the nylon rope and halter that was tying him to the metal yard. He fled over a 6ft + gate, how I dont know, and they jumped in Utes to round him up 😥 all 5ft5 of 20yr old me was set for taking them all on but was held back by 3 more sensible people.

The point is they would never have listened to, and had no issue with laying out, the young scottish girl who didnt know what she was in about. As it turned out I just kept doing my thing and then ended up being the one sent to muster, gentle and back the youngsters with one of the decent guys so by being able to give the horses a good start hopefully lessened the chances of them ending up in that situation.

I do think someone of Montys status (& with his entourage) should have spoken up but I also think by not the guys were more likely to listen to alternatives. You catch more bees with honey than vinegar...

However I also have a hard time believing that anything MR doesnt isnt pre arranged and set up on purpose!
 
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