Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List

Save
Save
Save
Save
Save
Save
Save
HomeMonty Roberts Questions and Answers

Is Monty Roberts the original horse whisperer?

There are probably many trainers who claim to be the true or original horse whisperer. The Horse Whisperer movie is said to be not the movie about Monty Roberts´ life but that of another person. That person is said to be Buck Brannaman. Can you please give us an clear answer about that?

 

*Monty’s Answer: Please let me address this first question by telling you what actually transpired after I met Queen Elizabeth II in April 1989. Her Majesty requested that I visit 21 separate UK cities. The Queen herself set up the people to host demonstrations in these locations. During my meeting with the Queen that April, she strongly requested that a book be written about my work. I began to write The Man Who Listens to Horses.

 

During my 21 city tour, a man came to me from the audience, at Duchy College in Cornwall, England. He introduced himself as Nicholas Evans. He said that he was impressed with the demonstration and was motivated to write a book about this experience. I did not take him seriously on that evening. About two weeks later, I received a telephone call while in California. Once more, I was visiting with Nicholas Evans.

 

In the next few days I was in contact with the Queen, who adamantly asked me not to get involved with a novel. She wanted a book from me, that was truthful, and accurate. I informed Mr. Evans that I was not available for endorsing or advising on a book about my work. He was clearly not happy with me and said that he would contact a man that I knew very well. This man was an American called Tom Dorrance.

 

Mr. Dorrance communicated with me that he had read the manuscript and was not interested in assisting in the writing of the book nor the production of the movie. He told me at that time, that he was recommending one of his students, called Buck Brannaman, to help with this effort. Later I was to learn that Mr. Brannaman was chosen and did assist in the setting up of the scenes for the movie called The Horse Whisperer.

 

Later I was contacted by the Disney Corporation who had purchased the rights to the movie. They asked me to attach my name to the book and the movie, as an endorser of the contents. The Queen very strongly advised me against doing that, and so it didn’t happen. You should note that I do not whisper to horses anyway, and the man responsible for the term, John Solomon Rarey (1827-1866), worked for the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Victoria.

-------------------

Isn’t it dangerous at your age to work with horses when they are wild and out of control?

 

Monty Robert's Answer: It is always dangerous to work with an animal much larger than we are. It is true that I am less athletic today than I was 50 or so years ago. I love my work and when I no longer feel safe doing it, I’ll know. I didn’t get into the horse business until I was about four years old. The horses have been my professors for the other 76 years.

 

Having participated in the revolution to train horses in the absence of violence, I am continually inspired by the improvements in the concepts of Join-Up®. My decades of observation and experience keep my timing and techniques improving, even at 80. I firmly believe I am safer than most anyone who steps into the round pen.

 

Ask someone who has attended one of my recent demonstrations and see if you agree that the horses are relaxed and trusting when we get our work right.

-----------------

In Austria, the number of horses is growing constantly-do you think the problems with horses are also growing?

 

Monty Robert's Answer: The problems with horses are not growing at all, in my opinion. It is the problems that people bring to the relationship. We desperately need better education and more understanding of who the horses are and what they need.

-----------------

How do you train a horse to jump?

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 Robert'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.

 ------------------ 

Is Monty Roberts the original horse whisperer?

There are probably many trainers who claim to be the true or original horse whisperer. The Horse Whisperer movie is said to be not the movie about Monty Roberts´ life but that of another person. That person is said to be Buck Brannaman. Can you please give us an clear answer about that?

*Monty’s Answer: Please let me address this first question by telling you what actually transpired after I met Queen Elizabeth II in April 1989. Her Majesty requested that I visit 21 separate UK cities. The Queen herself set up the people to host demonstrations in these locations. During my meeting with the Queen that April, she strongly requested that a book be written about my work. I began to write The Man Who Listens to Horses.

During my 21 city tour, a man came to me from the audience, at Duchy College in Cornwall, England. He introduced himself as Nicholas Evans. He said that he was impressed with the demonstration and was motivated to write a book about this experience. I did not take him seriously on that evening. About two weeks later, I received a telephone call while in California. Once more, I was visiting with Nicholas Evans.

In the next few days I was in contact with the Queen, who adamantly asked me not to get involved with a novel. She wanted a book from me, that was truthful, and accurate. I informed Mr. Evans that I was not available for endorsing or advising on a book about my work. He was clearly not happy with me and said that he would contact a man that I knew very well. This man was an American called Tom Dorrance.

Mr. Dorrance communicated with me that he had read the manuscript and was not interested in assisting in the writing of the book nor the production of the movie. He told me at that time, that he was recommending one of his students, called Buck Brannaman, to help with this effort. Later I was to learn that Mr. Brannaman was chosen and did assist in the setting up of the scenes for the movie called The Horse Whisperer.

Later I was contacted by the Disney Corporation who had purchased the rights to the movie. They asked me to attach my name to the book and the movie, as an endorser of the contents. The Queen very strongly advised me against doing that, and so it didn’t happen. You should note that I do not whisper to horses anyway, and the man responsible for the term, John Solomon Rarey (1827-1866), worked for the Queen’s grandmother, Queen Victoria.

-------------------

Isn’t it dangerous at your age to work with horses when they are wild and out of control?

Monty Robert's Answer: It is always dangerous to work with an animal much larger than we are. It is true that I am less athletic today than I was 50 or so years ago. I love my work and when I no longer feel safe doing it, I’ll know. I didn’t get into the horse business until I was about four years old. The horses have been my professors for the other 76 years.

Having participated in the revolution to train horses in the absence of violence, I am continually inspired by the improvements in the concepts of Join-Up®. My decades of observation and experience keep my timing and techniques improving, even at 80. I firmly believe I am safer than most anyone who steps into the round pen.

Ask someone who has attended one of my recent demonstrations and see if you agree that the horses are relaxed and trusting when we get our work right.

-----------------

In Austria, the number of horses is growing constantly-do you think the problems with horses are also growing?

Monty Robert's Answer: The problems with horses are not growing at all, in my opinion. It is the problems that people bring to the relationship. We desperately need better education and more understanding of who the horses are and what they need.

-----------------

How do you train a horse to jump?

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 Robert'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.

-----------

How do you train wild horses?

 

I have a dream to rescue and rehabilitate mustangs, using your methods, and let them live out their lives on a semi wild sanctuary. I’d want to join up with each one so it would be trusting enough to receive care when needed, but I’d only need to train a few as riding horses. Do you think if the trained horses were handled and ridden often, would it be okay to let them run with the others when turned out? I’d hate to keep just a few separated while the rest get to roam and play together. I thought if they were handled and ridden regularly, and the herd was gentled (just not trained riding horses, as I wouldn’t be able to keep all of them well ridden) the trained ones wouldn’t go wild, but I’d like to know your opinion.
Thank you so much. You are my horsemanship mentor!

Monty Robert's Answer
 
My first recommendation to you is that you either get a very good education on handling wild horses, or you bring in a hands-on person who has been trained in gentling wild horses without violence. Your question hits the bulls eye as to why we have courses in our international school, taking up this very subject. It has been fun for me to watch talented young people come to understand how cooperative these animals can be.

Another consideration is that one must provide a facility which is as well designed as possible, to be effective in handling wild horses and keeping them safe. One could put SAFETY at the top of the list of prerequisites in the handling of mustangs. You probably know that I indeed love mustangs and have allowed them to be my mentors for well over 70 years now. It has been a center piece of my learning.

It just so happens that yesterday I turned a four-year-old mustang out in the field with Shy Boy. It appears they will get along fine. Shy Boy will not get wild again, and the younger, wilder one, will probably become better settled and accepting of human beings in his life. One should learn all of the nuances of handling mustangs before we set out having a very good cause but insufficient knowledge.

Do not, for one moment, believe that I am telling you that you don’t have sufficient knowledge. You may be a genius at working with mustangs. It is possible that you have all the answers, but I have not met you, nor have I seen you work. It would be irresponsible of me to simply, casually encourage you to learn on the job. An injury to you would be blamed on these wonderful animals who mean no harm to us humans.

------------------------

My new horse brought at 7 months suffering from neglect unfortunately I couldn’t have his in foal mum to. Never been handled. Now I’ve owned him 5 months he’s had everything health wise and castrated 3 months ago. Dually holder works wonders. Leading and handling great. As soon as I take him away from the yard alone his anxiety increase a lot! He lives with one other 5 year old gelding who when I ride foal Sven is happy home alone. Out in the field together Sven is very on edge and wants to get back to stable even though other horse is calm and happy? His whole world is centered around the stable yard were he will be happy with anything plastic bags, road signs, balloons. Cars, lorries and tractors also fine not at all spooky as long as his yard is nearer the better? How do I say it’s ok to walk out with me or go out grazing?

Lusy S. --  Somerset, England

Answer: The term separation anxiety generally relates to one horse wanting to be with another. The fact is however, being separated from what is considered to be a safe place can often be just as challenging. A horse in this condition must be separated from a place he finds safe. The key however is to make sure that the new place is just as safe as the new spot.

Footing and fencing are critical issues to creating a safe environment for the horse that is anxious or anxiety ridden when transitioning to a new location. My textbook From My Hands to Yours has three chapters that should help you. One is called Separation Anxiety and then there is Barn Sour and Balking. Each of these will provide you with good information on the problem you have addressed.

~ Monty Roberts

-----------------------
After 20 years of raising children, I have returned to the world of horses that I missed very much. I started with lessons to build confidence and have recently purchased a 15 year old gelding named Ralph who is a great fit for me as a rider and new owner. Ralph is very well trained in dressage and has good ground manners. However, he has issues with riding in the indoor arena. He is easily distracted and ‘spooked’ by various things. There is a vinyl banner sign at one end that he dislikes. I can’t keep him on the track when passing it. And even when shortening the track keeping us about 3-4 feet out, he will skirt sideways quickly or run forward when passing it. Also, when he kicks up the dirt footing when trotting along the track, the sound of it hitting the tin wall causes him to run forward. Sometimes we can get a good chunk of a lesson in for about 10-15 minutes of focused attention and it is wonderful but then he will overreact to something again.

For example, during a very good lesson, another student in the lesson was too warm and took her vest off and placed it in the corner. When Ralph and I came around that corner again he stopped dead, spread his forelegs wide, leaned his head down and flared his nostrils. I pushed him on forward and it took about 6 circles in the same corner for him to accept it as non-threatening. And for the rest of the lesson every time we passed it, he was slightly distracted. I have been told that I need to accept that he is simply a ‘looky’ or ‘twitchy’ kind of horse and to ride ready for anything. He has probably always been that way and will always be that way, but I’m not sure I believe that. Maybe I just don’t want to believe it because it’s taking the fun out of riding.

What’s happening now is that my own anxiety is climbing which is contributing to the problem. And I find myself wanting to ride with crop and spurs now (which I have never done). But I know this is simply a reaction to my own fear and wanting to control the horse or intimidate him into being more scared of me than what he is already afraid of so I haven’t yet. My concern is that my own escalating anxiety will escalate his as well.

So, finally, my question is: how do I desensitize Ralph to an entire environment? I have watched the online videos at the Uni and I understand the incremental approach when it involves a ‘stream’ or plastic bag or poles, etc but I am having a hard time translating that approach to an entire structure and the environment of the indoor riding arena. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Monty Robert's Answer: Welcome to the real world of dealing with a spooky horse. My riding these days is limited to a horse you have probably seen on my Equus Online Uni lessons called Nice Chrome. He is a ‘twin brother’ to your horse where touchy, feely, and spooky is concerned. I can’t’ count the number of times I have been told that it is hopeless to deal with his issues. They say just acknowledge it and get over it.

Chrome is still spooky, touchy and feely but I am able to contend with certain challenges that were impossible when I took him over at three years of age. There is still a high pulse rate and adrenalin level but the volatility has subsided substantially. We do not have to accept danger with this personality feature. It is, in fact, a fantastic advantage when seeking a horse that is able to rise to world class performance.

Sensitivity is essential to achieving high marks in virtually every discipline that we deal with. Horses that lack elements of sensitivity are wonderful for therapeutic riding and educating entry level riders but it’s difficult to cause them to rise to laudable performances in the areas of competition which include dressage, show jumping, reining, cutting and the like. It is important however that you remain safe.

In a high percentage of cases regarding horses that are less than comfortable in indoor arenas, it happens that they express their concerns because they had bad experiences in that building. This is not always the case but it is well over the majority. The challenges that you have outlined in your question would indicate to me that one could deal with these elements, while remaining safe, if the horse was being led by another horse with a rider on his back.

I am thinking of things like the sand on the wall in particular. Spending time actively in the building without the rider on would tend to reduce the anxiety level. I might also suggest that one consider, if possible, placing some sort of enclosure in the building and causing the horse to spend substantial periods of time just existing in that building. Each of these suggestions would follow a litany of ideas that I recommend for spooky horses.

The Equus Online Uni has several lessons that outline the procedures that I typically utilize for spooky horses. A horse like this would complete that list over and over again and in various locations to more deeply imprint the acceptance of them. Good luck, stay in touch and let us know how it’s going.

-------------------------
Twelve tips to prepare horses for the farrier
 
My young horse, who is 10 months old, needs farrier attention yet it seems to me that he is too young for Join-Up. What steps should I take before bringing in my farrier? Kerry Milford

Monty’s Robert's Answer 
Thank you for your timely question. This week we have added a sixth farrier lesson to the Equus Online University. Students should ask their farriers to watch along with them as they learn from world renowned farrier Ada Gates showing us how she achieves a balanced foot and objective farriery. Farriers will appreciate that these owners are willing to prepare their horses for the farrier’s visit.

I remember, as a child, my father telling me that he had never been to a dentist and that he hated the thought of ever having to go. I remember my first visit vividly. I was totally unprepared, scared to death, and hated every minute of it. By the time our children made their first visit to the dentist, times had changed dramatically, and our family dentist was willing to take the time for a mock visit, where an assistant explained to the children the value of dentistry, and educated them about the great lengths taken to keep it pain free.

Consequently, our children have never feared the dentist, and our family has enjoyed a much improved dental environment than from my childhood. This is precisely the message that I believe to be applicable when preparing your horse to deal with the farrier. Let’s first address your question about Join-Up®.

Once your foal has been weaned and no longer calls out for his mother, he is ready for his Join-Up sessions. Accomplishing Join-Up is a great way for your foal to enter that period of his life when his mother is no longer a factor. Properly done, it will promote an understanding between weanling and human that will be beneficial lifelong. I recommend two or three Join-Up sessions on consecutive days. Be gentle and patient with foals as they are small and ultra-sensitive.

Doing too many Join-Up sessions at this stage is usually counterproductive. It is a little like often telling a child the same story; the foal will come to resent it and exhibit gestures of anger. Prudently accomplished, two or three Join-Up sessions will allow you to live by the concepts of Join-Up throughout the relationship with your horse.

The post Join-Up work with the Dually Halter should proceed until you achieve strong signs of willingness and relaxation. Then, you can move on to accomplish other goals. The Dually is very effective for schooling a horse to stand for the farrier or the veterinarian. The Dually halter will also help a horse load into a trailer, walk into a starting gate (starting stalls), walk through water, stand for mounting or any other handling problems.

Any person preparing a horse to be trimmed or shod by the farrier should take this responsibility seriously. I have seen extremely wild and fractious horses that require a week or more to be prepared for the farrier’s visit. During this training period the sessions might take up to an hour a day. Half-hour sessions twice a day are not a bad idea.

In every country I have visited, I have found that some people believe that the farrier can educate the horse himself when it comes to standing and behaving while the footwork is done. This is an unacceptable mind-set. A farrier is a professional and should be treated as such. His expertise is to care for your horse’s feet, not to train him. While it is true that some farriers are also good horsemen and quite capable of doing the training, most horse owners do not plan to pay the farrier for training services.

How do you train wild horses?
 The farrier often feels that he is being taken advantage of and should not be required to take the time necessary to train. This can result in short tempers, and horses dealt with in an inappropriate way. While farriers are generally physically fit, muscular and capable of administering harsh treatment, should something like this occur, the blame should rest with the people securing their services, and not the farrier. Starting to prepare your horse to meet the farrier should preferably be done just after weaning, but you might inherit an older horse that has not had this education.
 

I have a dream to rescue and rehabilitate mustangs, using your methods, and let them live out their lives on a semi wild sanctuary. I’d want to join up with each one so it would be trusting enough to receive care when needed, but I’d only need to train a few as riding horses. Do you think if the trained horses were handled and ridden often, would it be okay to let them run with the others when turned out? I’d hate to keep just a few separated while the rest get to roam and play together. I thought if they were handled and ridden regularly, and the herd was gentled (just not trained riding horses, as I wouldn’t be able to keep all of them well ridden) the trained ones wouldn’t go wild, but I’d like to know your opinion.

Thank you so much. You are my horsemanship mentor!

Monty Robert's Answer
 
My first recommendation to you is that you either get a very good education on handling wild horses, or you bring in a hands-on person who has been trained in gentling wild horses without violence. Your question hits the bulls eye as to why we have courses in our international school, taking up this very subject. It has been fun for me to watch talented young people come to understand how cooperative these animals can be.

Another consideration is that one must provide a facility which is as well designed as possible, to be effective in handling wild horses and keeping them safe. One could put SAFETY at the top of the list of prerequisites in the handling of mustangs. You probably know that I indeed love mustangs and have allowed them to be my mentors for well over 70 years now. It has been a center piece of my learning.

 

It just so happens that yesterday I turned a four-year-old mustang out in the field with Shy Boy. It appears they will get along fine. Shy Boy will not get wild again, and the younger, wilder one, will probably become better settled and accepting of human beings in his life. One should learn all of the nuances of handling mustangs before we set out having a very good cause but insufficient knowledge.

 

Do not, for one moment, believe that I am telling you that you don’t have sufficient knowledge. You may be a genius at working with mustangs. It is possible that you have all the answers, but I have not met you, nor have I seen you work. It would be irresponsible of me to simply, casually encourage you to learn on the job. An injury to you would be blamed on these wonderful animals who mean no harm to us humans.

------------------------

My new horse brought at 7 months suffering from neglect unfortunately I couldn’t have his in foal mum to. Never been handled. Now I’ve owned him 5 months he’s had everything health wise and castrated 3 months ago. Dually holder works wonders. Leading and handling great. As soon as I take him away from the yard alone his anxiety increase a lot! He lives with one other 5 year old gelding who when I ride foal Sven is happy home alone. Out in the field together Sven is very on edge and wants to get back to stable even though other horse is calm and happy? His whole world is centered around the stable yard were he will be happy with anything plastic bags, road signs, balloons. Cars, lorries and tractors also fine not at all spooky as long as his yard is nearer the better? How do I say it’s ok to walk out with me or go out grazing?

Lusy S. --  Somerset, England

 

Answer: The term separation anxiety generally relates to one horse wanting to be with another. The fact is however, being separated from what is considered to be a safe place can often be just as challenging. A horse in this condition must be separated from a place he finds safe. The key however is to make sure that the new place is just as safe as the new spot.

Footing and fencing are critical issues to creating a safe environment for the horse that is anxious or anxiety ridden when transitioning to a new location. My textbook From My Hands to Yours has three chapters that should help you. One is called Separation Anxiety and then there is Barn Sour and Balking. Each of these will provide you with good information on the problem you have addressed.

~ Monty Roberts

-----------------------
After 20 years of raising children, I have returned to the world of horses that I missed very much. I started with lessons to build confidence and have recently purchased a 15 year old gelding named Ralph who is a great fit for me as a rider and new owner. Ralph is very well trained in dressage and has good ground manners. However, he has issues with riding in the indoor arena. He is easily distracted and ‘spooked’ by various things. There is a vinyl banner sign at one end that he dislikes. I can’t keep him on the track when passing it. And even when shortening the track keeping us about 3-4 feet out, he will skirt sideways quickly or run forward when passing it. Also, when he kicks up the dirt footing when trotting along the track, the sound of it hitting the tin wall causes him to run forward. Sometimes we can get a good chunk of a lesson in for about 10-15 minutes of focused attention and it is wonderful but then he will overreact to something again.

For example, during a very good lesson, another student in the lesson was too warm and took her vest off and placed it in the corner. When Ralph and I came around that corner again he stopped dead, spread his forelegs wide, leaned his head down and flared his nostrils. I pushed him on forward and it took about 6 circles in the same corner for him to accept it as non-threatening. And for the rest of the lesson every time we passed it, he was slightly distracted. I have been told that I need to accept that he is simply a ‘looky’ or ‘twitchy’ kind of horse and to ride ready for anything. He has probably always been that way and will always be that way, but I’m not sure I believe that. Maybe I just don’t want to believe it because it’s taking the fun out of riding.

 

What’s happening now is that my own anxiety is climbing which is contributing to the problem. And I find myself wanting to ride with crop and spurs now (which I have never done). But I know this is simply a reaction to my own fear and wanting to control the horse or intimidate him into being more scared of me than what he is already afraid of so I haven’t yet. My concern is that my own escalating anxiety will escalate his as well.

 

So, finally, my question is: how do I desensitize Ralph to an entire environment? I have watched the online videos at the Uni and I understand the incremental approach when it involves a ‘stream’ or plastic bag or poles, etc but I am having a hard time translating that approach to an entire structure and the environment of the indoor riding arena. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

 

Monty Robert's Answer: Welcome to the real world of dealing with a spooky horse. My riding these days is limited to a horse you have probably seen on my Equus Online Uni lessons called Nice Chrome. He is a ‘twin brother’ to your horse where touchy, feely, and spooky is concerned. I can’t’ count the number of times I have been told that it is hopeless to deal with his issues. They say just acknowledge it and get over it.

 

Chrome is still spooky, touchy and feely but I am able to contend with certain challenges that were impossible when I took him over at three years of age. There is still a high pulse rate and adrenalin level but the volatility has subsided substantially. We do not have to accept danger with this personality feature. It is, in fact, a fantastic advantage when seeking a horse that is able to rise to world class performance.

 

Sensitivity is essential to achieving high marks in virtually every discipline that we deal with. Horses that lack elements of sensitivity are wonderful for therapeutic riding and educating entry level riders but it’s difficult to cause them to rise to laudable performances in the areas of competition which include dressage, show jumping, reining, cutting and the like. It is important however that you remain safe.

 

In a high percentage of cases regarding horses that are less than comfortable in indoor arenas, it happens that they express their concerns because they had bad experiences in that building. This is not always the case but it is well over the majority. The challenges that you have outlined in your question would indicate to me that one could deal with these elements, while remaining safe, if the horse was being led by another horse with a rider on his back.

 

I am thinking of things like the sand on the wall in particular. Spending time actively in the building without the rider on would tend to reduce the anxiety level. I might also suggest that one consider, if possible, placing some sort of enclosure in the building and causing the horse to spend substantial periods of time just existing in that building. Each of these suggestions would follow a litany of ideas that I recommend for spooky horses.

 

The Equus Online Uni has several lessons that outline the procedures that I typically utilize for spooky horses. A horse like this would complete that list over and over again and in various locations to more deeply imprint the acceptance of them. Good luck, stay in touch and let us know how it’s going.

-------------------------
Twelve tips to prepare horses for the farrier
 
My young horse, who is 10 months old, needs farrier attention yet it seems to me that he is too young for Join-Up. What steps should I take before bringing in my farrier? Kerry Milford

Monty’s Robert's Answer 
Thank you for your timely question. This week we have added a sixth farrier lesson to the Equus Online University. Students should ask their farriers to watch along with them as they learn from world renowned farrier Ada Gates showing us how she achieves a balanced foot and objective farriery. Farriers will appreciate that these owners are willing to prepare their horses for the farrier’s visit.

 

I remember, as a child, my father telling me that he had never been to a dentist and that he hated the thought of ever having to go. I remember my first visit vividly. I was totally unprepared, scared to death, and hated every minute of it. By the time our children made their first visit to the dentist, times had changed dramatically, and our family dentist was willing to take the time for a mock visit, where an assistant explained to the children the value of dentistry, and educated them about the great lengths taken to keep it pain free.

 

Consequently, our children have never feared the dentist, and our family has enjoyed a much improved dental environment than from my childhood. This is precisely the message that I believe to be applicable when preparing your horse to deal with the farrier. Let’s first address your question about Join-Up®.

 

Once your foal has been weaned and no longer calls out for his mother, he is ready for his Join-Up sessions. Accomplishing Join-Up is a great way for your foal to enter that period of his life when his mother is no longer a factor. Properly done, it will promote an understanding between weanling and human that will be beneficial lifelong. I recommend two or three Join-Up sessions on consecutive days. Be gentle and patient with foals as they are small and ultra-sensitive.

 

Doing too many Join-Up sessions at this stage is usually counterproductive. It is a little like often telling a child the same story; the foal will come to resent it and exhibit gestures of anger. Prudently accomplished, two or three Join-Up sessions will allow you to live by the concepts of Join-Up throughout the relationship with your horse.

 

The post Join-Up work with the Dually Halter should proceed until you achieve strong signs of willingness and relaxation. Then, you can move on to accomplish other goals. The Dually is very effective for schooling a horse to stand for the farrier or the veterinarian. The Dually halter will also help a horse load into a trailer, walk into a starting gate (starting stalls), walk through water, stand for mounting or any other handling problems.

 

Any person preparing a horse to be trimmed or shod by the farrier should take this responsibility seriously. I have seen extremely wild and fractious horses that require a week or more to be prepared for the farrier’s visit. During this training period the sessions might take up to an hour a day. Half-hour sessions twice a day are not a bad idea.

 

In every country I have visited, I have found that some people believe that the farrier can educate the horse himself when it comes to standing and behaving while the footwork is done. This is an unacceptable mind-set. A farrier is a professional and should be treated as such. His expertise is to care for your horse’s feet, not to train him. While it is true that some farriers are also good horsemen and quite capable of doing the training, most horse owners do not plan to pay the farrier for training services.

 

The farrier often feels that he is being taken advantage of and should not be required to take the time necessary to train. This can result in short tempers, and horses dealt with in an inappropriate way. While farriers are generally physically fit, muscular and capable of administering harsh treatment, should something like this occur, the blame should rest with the people securing their services, and not the farrier. Starting to prepare your horse to meet the farrier should preferably be done just after weaning, but you might inherit an older horse that has not had this education.

 
More Videos