Monty Roberts & The Bulletin Boards


The following comments have been found on a variety of horse-related bulletin boards made by people who know and own horses.

Posted by Magical 4/15/01

Except for Monty Roberts and his devotees, almost everyone else in the NH movement is embarassed that the man claims to do NH. He lies about his background, and he lies to your face about what he’s doing to the horse, when he’s busy ignoring and abusing the horse. He has no “feel”. He is an example of Bad Horsemanship, not Natural Horsemanship. What he does well is market, and he does that like all good marketing people, he lies.

Posted by Sheila Wintering 2/14/2001

I went to one of Monty’s demonstrations and have to say it is the biggest crock ever. He says the horses are untrained. Not true. They’ve been handled extensively and even ridden before. I think Monty Roberts would poop in his pants if he were locked in a roundpen with a real wild horse (and I don’t mean that pre-trained mustang ShyBoy in the stupid video- that was a set-up too!). Monty may have won some ribbons in his youth as a RIDER but he’s the farthest thing from a real trainer to walk this earth. I’ve heard stories from people all over about his demos and how he set up to work with pretrained horses and weeded out the wild ones – he was too scared to work with them and obviously didn’t want to be embarrassed. Well I say POOP on him for the stinking liar that he is.

Posted by Jorene Downs – 2000/12/29

Huh? Common sense? Respect animals? Teaching? Monty Roberts???

It appears we haven’t seen the same videos. 😉 Did you see Roberts’ “save the race horse who won’t go in the starting gate” video? He cornered that horse in a box stall to try and throw a strange blanket over him *without* introducing that obviously scared horse to the blanket. Roberts just *ignored the horse* and threw the blanket. The predictable result was a rodeo in the stall followed by a cut in the video to where the poor horse was scrambling to his feet after someone (probably several people) stuffed the poor horse into the horse-eating-monster blanket. Next the panicked horse predictably bolted over the top of the camera in the stall door and dragged Roberts a good 20 feet down a cement center aisle.

Roberts called that horse violent … yet ROBERTS caused that incident that terrified the horse. I don’t see how this demonstrates common sense or respect for animals. Nor does it remotely resemble what I would recommend as something to teach others about horse handling.

Because the man who *claims* to listen to horses wasn’t paying attention to the messages from the horse, it took Roberts 4 months to accomplish what should / could have been calmly accomplished in a matter of hours, then reinforced over days and weeks. But Roberts was a “hero” according to that video … and he went on to market that custom blanket. Another unnecessary gimmick.

That’s just one example. There are plenty of others to demonstrate Roberts’ *lack* of good horsemanship, from rushing training (his 30 minute miracles) to selling his custom “training” gimmicks to people who don’t know any better.

Roberts just skims the surface, and doesn’t even do that well. There are lots of gimmick trainers out there … Roberts just happens to be good at self-marketing. I’d pass on any opportunity to “learn” from Monty Roberts … you’d just need to unlearn later.

Instead, try Tom or Bill Dorrance, Mark Rashid, recent John Lyons and Richard Shrake. And if you want some common sense applied, sign up for Jessica Jahiel’s online Horse-Sense Newsletter.

Also Posted by Jorene Downs on 12/25/2000

Whether you appreciate the way the information was provided or not, Terry is correct that if you want to learn something about *good* horsemanship you should avoid anything by Monty Roberts. You’re certainly welcome to learn what you can from Roberts, but keep in mind that much of that education you’ll need to unlearn later if you intend to learn good horsemanship.

There are other sources that provide far more and far better information … without using gimmicks and potentially painful devices. Roberts is very good at self-marketing, but I’ve seen 2 Roberts videos that were supposed to show him off as a “hero” that I considered to demonstrate poor judgment, shallow communication with the horse, contained mentally and physically abusive situations that could and should have been avoided in the training process, etc. Roberts claims to listen to horses, yet in both those videos he ignored obvious communication from the horse to make things appear far more difficult than they really were, and in his seminars he sets 30 minute deadlines rather than working at a speed comfortable for that horse … and doesn’t hesitate to use abusive tools to meet that deadline.

Is this really what you want to learn? Your choice, but your horse will greatly appreciate your learning from better sources. 😉

Recommended options: Anything (books, video) in the last few years from … Tom or Bill Dorrance, Mark Rashid, John Lyons. And as you get further along in your learning and experience, add Richard Shrake’s latest video.

Comments by Carolina on 7/30/00

I have some comments on something I see as a misconception. There are those who mistakenly think that what Monty demonstrates is the definition of ‘Natural Horsemanship’. Monty has just taken a tiny slice of what many horsemen with empathy for the horse have done, for who knows HOW many years (I’m thinking of this empathy-oriented approach as Natural Horsemanship), and Monty has made this dramatic part of Natural Horsemanship into a profitable show and claimed it as ‘his methods’.

And then the misconception goes a little farther: Monty, to promote himself, claims that before he showed up, training methods were cruel. So those who think Monty equals “NH”, think that ALL Natural Horsemen make that claim. I have been fortunate to see several of these horsemen (and women!) working with horses, and NONE claim that their way is IT, that they are the massiah, as Monty does, and none uses a pressure halter as Monty does routinely, and none would THINK of using his gum-line rope. They talk a lot about COMMUNICATION in a way the horse can understand.

Monty has made a stir in the UK, which is understandable and no criticism to horse people there, many of whom have been training horses sensibly and well for a lot longer than WE have here in the US! Monty’s demo IS dramatic and surprising, if you haven’t seen someone doing it much better as merely an APPROACH to a training program. And before disappearing into the sunset, I’ll say that it has long bothered me that Monty’s good promoting skills have made his brief, superficial, rather rough demos blossom into ‘Monty’s methods’.

Comments by HorsesOfTheSun on Jun/25/00

MR caters to the “horsepeople” that do NOT know anything about horses (just for instance, he told his audience at Equtania KY that a horse giving a warning snort (which, by the way, is like a dogs bark and is a noise they make when they are uncertain about what is happening) was clearing the nostrils, not to mention his “non force training” that sent a horse careening into The top edge of the trailer that they were trying to force him onto) but think that they want to learn from the “master”. Who is, naturally, a carnie and full of horse you-know-what.

Comments by Joreen Downs/ Bulletin Board Posting 6/6/00

Actually, what Roberts does in his seminars and videos is – on the surface – something that people have been doing for generations. There’s nothing “gifted” or magical about it, much less special bonding. He just made a few small parts of the old process more visible to the public with his promotions and publicity, and to many in the horse world this is “new news.” Historically the basic methods go back to the vaqueros (in the Southwestern USA history, primarily CA and some in TX), and from there back to different overseas sources. There was also input from some American Indians.

Although Roberts claims to “listen to horses” and be gentle, he barely skims the surface on listening and several of the tools he uses and markets aren’t gentle in average hands. Those with better horsemanship skills have advanced far beyond what Roberts demonstrates and develop substantially deeper and stronger relationships with horses. If you take the superficial communication concepts that Roberts demonstrates, remove the various gimmicks he uses, and remember that working against a clock isn’t the correct way to train a horse, you’ll have a better handle on some of the basics to start you toward good horsemanship. Then you’re ready to continue your education through a variety of sources.

Comments by Rockhorse/Bulletin Board Posting 5/29/00

If you would like to read about more of Monty Roberts “natural bonding”, try Horse Whispers & lies. “Bonding” a sledge hammer with the top of a horse’s tail bone (breaking it) to permanently prevent it from switching. Or, read Horse & Rider, about Monty’s use of a baling wire chin strap to perfect a stockhorse stop. This guy allegedly has an arsenal of more instruments of torture that you won’t see at his demo’s, which, if you look closely, are carefully choreographed prior to their presentation

Comments by Caroline/Bulletin Board Posting 5/29/00

…a showman (a P. T. Barnum) not a horse trainer. He’s taken an excellent technique of approaching a horse, known for generations (it’s been called ‘hooking-on’, while Monty is now claiming it to be his new concept and calls it ‘Join-up’).

Comments by Ed Lehman/Bulletin Board Posting 6/16/00

Here I am, minding my own business. I have a dim view of St. Monty The Shyster, in general. I have now been confirmed in my opinion by the DISMAL advertisement I was subjected to on the radio … he is apparently touring in my area and advertising on local stations. It was pretty much what I expected “SEE Monty gentle an untrained horse, WATCH as Monty demonstrates his pioneering techniques to communicate with horses, LEARN how to communicate with your horse” yadayadayada . . . and then, the kicker and the barf-maker: Improve your relationship with not only your horse, but also your loved ones. ACKKKKKK!!

Comments by Skirel/Bulletin Board Posting 6/14/00

It is pretty much a known fact that Monty Roberts lied about the abuse so that takes away all his credibility right there. As far as horses go, he is a showman, he isn’t there to help the horse, he’s there to make money at any personal cost. The horses don’t actually accept. If you would go to see a real natural or progressive horsemanship trainer you would see a vast difference. I highly reccomend Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance, Dave Seay in NC, and especially Del Wideman in Royston, GA.

Comments by Caroline/Bulleting Board Posting 6/17/00

He must have been very lucky along the line, and I must reluctantly give him credit for being smart and seeing opportunity and grabbing. I think that he has the courage (insensitivity and crassness?) to seize power, take credit for much more than is ethical and play a role and lie without shame – and to KEEP on doing it! I want Goliath to topple, but am realizing that maybe we can nibble away at his shakey foundations, KNOW what we absolutely KNOW, educate a few people who can open their minds, but that may be about all that can be done!

Comments by Achtung/Bulletin Board Posting on Apr/03/00

I went to one of his demos in Oklahoma, a couple of years ago. It was interesting, though it was obvious to me that the horses had been ridden before. I have been the first rider on several different horses, with varying degrees of ground work on them, and I have yet to see one that would move off in a pretty, collected lope the first time you crawled on – much less in an unfamiliar place with a crowd. I have had them be calm as they could be about the whole thing, but they still did not know how to carry a rider with any real collection right off. His basic premise is sound, but after the initial join-up thing he really didn’t have any answers to any of the questions – he just kept giving different versions of the “Use Join-up and your horse will be magically bonded to you” line. I am glad I went, and I am glad they he is atleast offering and promoting a more natural and pain-free way to handle horses. I just simply do not believe that those horses were never ridden.

Comments by wranglerbutt on Apr/18/00

What i can’t understand is that For someone to have so much bad publicity he still has a following! How naive are these people? Honestly, it’s like going to a used car dealer to buy a car, but full knowing he sells heap of junks, that are going to fall apart as soon as you drive off the lot! Personally i would not spit on him if he was on fire….i don’t know him personally, nor have i wasted my money in attending his clinics and i never will! JohnD, i wish you all the luck in your crusade, you have my vote ;o)I think justice really needs to prevail here.

Comments by John on May/12/00

Monty Roberts – the self-described horse whisperer- the man who insists he is nonabusive – uses only the language of “equus” – does natural horse training, can go out into the wilderness and catch a “wild” mustang using only his famous b.s. join-up technique, the man who can cross mighty rivers and bend steal in his bare hands—–has to use a harsh controlling halter (because that’s how his Dually halter has been described) and now another gimmick called a Buck Stopper —and, you don’t see more than a little bit of an incongruity in all this?????

No, you weren’t objective while watching his demo, you just bought into his whole fraud because you didn’t compare what the man says he represents to what you actually saw. After all, his whole life has been a fraud. Eyewitnesses described many incidents in his past where he had to use a wire under a horse’s lip, a pipe under its tail, a spike under the jawstrap of a hackamore, and even a baseball bat on a horse before a demo (out of view of the general public of course!!!)

Horse whisperers like Monty Roberts fashions himself to be don’t use gimmicks! And that’s the bottom line —which ought to tell you something about win-at-all-costs Monty. And if everyone else at the demo applauded and ate it all up that just shows how stupid people really are – because they didn’t even know the kind of man/trainer they were SUPPOSED to be watching. If they read his book – then they too would have seen the incongruity. Oh, yeah I got this huge bridge in my backyard – it’s called the Brooklyn Bridge or something like that —it’s for sale and at a really good price and don’t worry – the proceeds will all go to charity too! Give me a break with this guy already. He’s B.S. ALL THE WAY!