Monty Roberts & Shyboy Capture


John Dolan

I had occasion to look at Monty Roberts’ Shy Boy book – the German version, in fact, replete with its many stunning photographs by Christopher Dydyk.

You don’t have to read a word of it, just look at the dozens of photos and you will realize that Monty Roberts did not perform any miracles, no wonderful training techniques here. All he did was capture – or shall I say REcapture a horse – the same way it’s been done for centuries.

He chased the horse, had other people chase the same horse, and continued to chase the horse for days until the poor thing was totally exhausted (pages 30-31, 44-45). They circled the horse. Then, according to the photographs, he threw a rope around its neck as it struggled against him; rearing up in defense, it struck out at him (pages 71-74) and he pulled tighter.

On pages 92 and especially 94, you’ll see that Shy Boy has massively swollen fetlocks, probably from the 3-days of nonstop chase (if someone else did this to their horse, Monty would scream “abuse”, but seeing that it was Monty himself who caused this horse to suffer this condition, I guess it was okay), or it could have been from the struggling against the hobbles that Monty had on the horse to get him to calm down before the “miracle” saddling occurred. Monty, of course, doesn’t like to talk about that little detail, but people who were on the Shy Boy expedition with him, do.

After a bunch of photos showing a seemingly calm Shy Boy being led off, there’s another one on page 114 that shows Shy Boy rearing up and struggling against the attempt to seat a rider on him. Very clearly, Shy Boy wanted nothing to do with Monty, the so-called horse whisperer. Too bad Monty didn’t take the hint and leave the poor horse alone. He just added more stress on top of 3 days of nonstop stress. All for the video cameras and prestige. If anyone else had done such a thing, Monty would have again screamed “abuse”.

On pages 22-23 there’s supposed to be a “wild” herd that Monty alleges went out with Shy Boy before he cut him from the herd. One horse has a clearly visible hip brand and two horses are clearly shod. So who are these “wild” – domestic horses Monty has along with Shy Boy? Well, they’re probably the buddy up horses his expedition people tell of, the ones Monty brought along for insurance for the REcapture of Shy Boy.

Monty obviously believes the public is very stupid. And from the number of people who continue to spend good money on his sloppy demonstrations, he’s obviously right. Others, of course, do see the light. They’re the ones who are able to read a little deeper and know how to reflect on what’s being said, rather than just accepting Monty hook, line and sinker.