Monty Roberts

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Monty Roberts is called "the real horse whisperer". His story is one of the great successes of modern times. He watched and listened to horses to learn how they communicate naturally in the wild. While tracking wild mustangs in Nevada as a boy, Monty observed a nonverbal communication between the horses, a silent language he would later call "Equus."[1] He figured out how to use the natural instincts of horse communication to form an intimate and mutually supportive relationship with them. Monty gained international fame by developing a method of communicating with horses using their natural body language and a technique he calls "Join-Up".[2]

What Roberts does is the mirror opposite of "breaking" a horse: he "starts" a horse, getting it to accept halter, bridle, saddle and a rider without any coercion at all.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."[3]

People love animals, and we are supposed to be a civilized species. Is it not time for us to consider changing some of our retained barbaric ways? We have stopped lashing prisoners and whipping small children. Is it not time that we stopped whipping our horses, flight animals, who have no intention to hurt anyone? My goal is to leave the world a better place than I found it—for horses and people too. [3]
Through body language, the trainer will ask, "Will you pay me the respect due to a herd leader and join and follow me?" The horse will respond with predictable herd behavior: by locking an ear on her, then by licking and chewing and dropping his head in a display of trust. The exchange concludes with the trainer adopting passive body language, turning her back on the horse and without eye contact, invites him to come close. [ibid]


  1. Introduction to Join-Up
  2. [1]
  3. [2]