Monty Roberts Horsemanship
Mr. Roberts’ method is said to rely on body language. Is that true? From Indians, e.g. Lakota, it is said that they can communicate with horses in a different way, with spoken language. But there are no empirical proofs for that. I think that I was able to experience that twice in my life. But that is no proof, I just wanted to mention it. Maybe this is nothing special at all and many owners of animals “talk” with their animals, who don´t answer in German or English but in their own way. What exactly can Mr. Roberts tell us about human-animal communications? Are there empirical findings about that? They can be scientific, psychological or statistic?
Monty’s Answer: As a German citizen, it is likely that you have been affected by the writings of Karl May. I have been told that Mr. May wrote about the native North Americans who communicated with horses. I was told by respected individuals in the publishing industry that Karl May wrote his books while in prison in Germany. I have been advised that he died in prison and his mother had his books published with Mr. May never being in America.
In addition let me advise you that I have worked for years with a man called John Grinder. He is a co-founder of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Mr. Grinder has advised me not to use the word “language” when referring to communication between human and horse. He reminds me that language tends to refer to the spoken word with syntax. That is not what I do, but in fact I use gestures that clearly evoke predictable responses from the horses.
I’m just starting my gelding and my wife’s mare. They are 3 and 4 respectively. They’ve both done well with Join-Up and do well on a lead. Maybe not relevant but I like to give a little history. So my question is, I really would like to learn to jump, so should I incorporate anything special in to initial work with my gelding?
Monty’s Answer: It has been about six decades since I was active in show jumping. The discipline has changed dramatically during that time. It is however, a strong interest of mine to watch the top people and to monitor the overall changes in the discipline. It has been my pleasure to help Will Simpson (Gold Medal winner in the China Olympics).
A visit this past week with John Whitaker was gratifying. He has been strong in his support for my concepts and has echoed my advice to the showjumping world that relaxation within the horse is far better than high adrenaline and stress ever was. As you well know my concepts are non-violent and the show-jumping world has moved that way.
You can help your horses’ introduction to jumping by creating a safe and fun learning environment. Keep force out of the jumping arena, work on good balance, and work incrementally without over-matching yourself or your horses so that your confidence in jumping can grow. Create a low-adrenaline learning environment so you can both enjoy the work.
Causing the horse to ‘want to’ is massively better than demanding that the horse obeys. We are still a work in progress to completely change the world, but I believe that my concepts are equally effective in virtually every discipline you could name. Thank you for your inquiry, stay in touch with us for any related circumstances. – Monty Roberts
Monty Robert Ground Training