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Hardcover The Man Who Listens to Horses Book

ISBN: 0679456589

ISBN13: 9780091802066

The Man Who Listens to Horses

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good


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Book Overview

Monty Roberts is a real-life horse whisperer-an American original whose gentle Join-Up(R) training method reveals the depth of communication possible between man and animal. He can take a wild,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A great trainer, a great technique, and a great book!

This is a fascinating autobiography of one of the most sought-after horse trainers in the world. Monty Roberts takes us from his childhood, growing up on a ranch in California, all the way up through the years right before the book was first published in 1996. He learned to ride at a very young age and was quite successful on the rodeo circuit and in reined cow horse competitions. But what really gave him his ambition to develop a method of communicating with horses was the abuse with which he saw his father treat horses, and the the abuse he himself received from his father. Convinced that there must be a better way to train horses, he observed the behavior of mustangs, and ultimately came up with a technique he calls 'join-up'.'Join-up' involves working with a horse in a round pen, first encouraging the horse to flee around the perimeter by making steady eye contact and assuming an imposing stance. The handler then watches for three tell-tale signs that the horse wishes to communicate - first the horse will lock his inside ear on the handler, then begin licking and chewing, and finally lower his head near the ground as he travels around the pen. Once the horse has given these signals, the handler takes his/her eyes off the horse and shifts away from from the animal. At this point the horse will usually come up behind the handler and stand very close, allowing the handler to touch him. Then the horse can be saddled, bridled, and at last, mounted and ridden. (This is a very truncated explanation - the book goes into much more detail.)Of course Roberts was not the first to use methods like these. Some other reviewers here have complained about this fact, accusing him of taking undue credit. But Roberts himself admits this in his book. He points out that there were trainers in previous centuries that tried (and had success with) similar methods, but that for whatever reason these methods did not take a firm hold on the general equestrian population. So yes, Roberts does do a lot of self-promotion here (another thing some have complained about), but this is because he's attempting to spread the word about his method of training. He is using the book first and foremost to sell his technique, but this is because he wishes to make the training experience a better one for horses.This book takes us through Roberts' journey of learning, and all the trials and triumphs that led him to where he is today. He tells us of his experience with mustangs, his successful childhood riding career, the encounters with his father that helped shape his own way of thinking, the development (and narrowly-avoided disaster) of his Thoroughbred racehorse facility Flag Is Up Farms, various success stories of his 'join-up' method, his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II of England, his many tours to demonstrate his techniques, and even his succes in using 'join-up' with wild deer. He also introduces us to the horses that have shaped his life and carved a place for themselves in hi

A fascinating read

Roberts' story is fascinating, and I have found his advice and observations helpful in understanding my own horse, a smart 15-year-old Arabian gelding with an ornery streak a mile wide.I have read Web sites from his detractors in which they cite unattributed newspaper articles, open lawsuits and other meaningless documents as "evidence" to back up their claims. They also claim that they would have more evidence to show the world if the all-powerful Monty Roberts hadn't magically squelched, stolen or destroyed it.If you're concerned about Roberts' veracity, my advice would be to do your homework. If his critics show you a newspaper article, get the name of the paper and the reporter ... and make sure the paper and reporter actually exist.If his critics show you a court document, call the courthouse and ask for a copy of the whole case file, including the verdict.Beware of sources who feed you a bunch of outrageous accusations, partial court documents and conspiracy theories about why they can't prove their claims. I'm not saying they're lying. I'm just saying that in 17 years as a journalist, I've met a lot of people who make claims like this, but I've never met one who was telling the truth.Yes, Roberts is controversial. Yes, he has turned his success into quite a little cottage industry. Yes, his methods are variations on older themes. Yes, he preaches in spots. Yes, he sounds a bit arrogant in places. The same could be said of Barbara Woodhouse. I don't buy animal training books because I'd like to have a beer with the author. I buy animal training books because I have animals and would like someone else's insights on what's going on in their heads.Roberts' words are well worth the price of the book, and if you can tune out his critics for just a minute, you might learn something from him. I know I did.

An Insightful & Moving Book about Communication

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. For me, it is a book about communication. I have no particular interest in horses, horsemanship, horse training, etc. That's not why I read this book, nor why I have since recommended it to many of my friends. No, the book's appeal to me is what it has to say about people. Monty tells a story that illustrates a simple yet profound truth: You can best communicate by imagining yourself in the other's place. For Monty, the most obvious "other" is a horse. Monty was able to communicate exceptionally well with horses because he could imagine himself in their place. Unfortunately, Monty could empathize with horses that his father "broke" because his father treated Monty in the same harsh way. Monty sought an alternative way to train horses that was based on understanding and on compassion, and he found it.The story's appeal is largely emotional. Since reading it, I have found it difficult to explain to other people what it meant to me, and yet I have found its message useful in my business consulting practice. I think that fact reflects the richness of Monty's story and helps to explain the breadth of its appeal to many readers. You needn't read too much between the lines to see that this book is about listening, about empathy, and about human warmth in all areas of human endeavor. It is much more than a biography, or a story about horses.Apparently, there has been some debate about the accuracy and the balance of this biography. Did all the events that Monty Roberts describes really occur? Did he originate all the innovations in horse training that he claims? Well, if you read what his critics have to say then I'd suggest you be sure also to read his reponses, which can be found on his web site. It's beyond me to know where the truth lies. But if you are wondering in view of all the controversy whether you should still read the book, if you are concerened it may contain false claims, then let me say that I would recommend the book to you anyway. If you like, think of the whole thing as a work of fiction. Even then it would still be worth reading. The book is highly readable. To be sure, it's not an outstanding work in terms of style. The story construction is a bit mechanical. And, occasionally, I wondered whether a given passage was in the book only for the self-aggrandizement of the author. But eventually the mechanics of the story worked themselves out. Questionable passages were generally redeemed as they later turned out to be important in the story's development. And, in spite of the shortcomings, the author's use of language is artful and most of the writing flows very nicely.

Inspiring story of horses, humans, and search for harmony

This is the amazing life story of Monty Roberts. Monty has been called a modern day horse whisperer, although the language he uses with horses has nothing to do with whispering-except, perhaps, for its subtlety and gentleness. Monty learned the language he calls Equus from a band of wild horses that he observed as a youth in the American West. While the book isn't about Monty's methods per se, it is about Monty's life and therefore about how his methods were shaped. Monty can, using a round pen and the language of Equus, achieve what he calls "join-up" with a green, unschooled (and even difficult) horse and within a half hour have that horse under saddle and calmly carrying its first rider. All this with absolutely no use of force or harsh means. Monty has used join-up to "fix" countless "problem horses" whose worst problems were typically their human handlers. The book does include a brief appendix as a guide for "join-up." In it, Monty advises, "Hold in your mind the idea that the horse can do no wrong; that any action taken by the horse-especially the young unstarted horse-was most likely influenced by you. We can do little to teach the horse; we can only create an environment in which he can learn... If we refuse to believe that the horse can communicate, pain can be used to train him somewhat effectively. But pain is needless and terribly limiting." This is a book for everyone, including those unafflicted by "horse fever." You are treated to encounters with such legends as James Dean and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and completely riveted by events one can hardly believe were not conjured by a Hollywood scriptwriter. Here is an inspiring story of hope with a message of peace and understanding. As a child and as an adult, Monty has come face to face with and experienced the brutality that can occur in the world. Monty is living proof that the cycle of violence can not only be broken, but that people can learn to live in harmony with each other and with our fellow creatures. I highly recommend this tribute to the human and equine spirit for horse lovers, students of the human condition and those just looking for a great read. My gratitude to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth for encouraging Monty to write it down!
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