Wednesday January 23, 2019

Greetings!
Question 
  
Hello Monty Roberts.

I'm hoping you can remember little Smurf who you worked with at Ottly college 2017, I'm sure you will be very pleased to hear we have managed and worked with him with great success to pick up his back hoofs with out kicking out any more.

The reason why I am messaging you is have have a huge problem to desensitize him to people. If you can remember, he is extremely scared of people and although I can desensitize him from any object, people are a huge problem for me, I have had him for coming up to 3 years now and although he half trusts me he still snorts at me in the stable and backs away, if we are out he does this mad panic like I'm going to beat him (I've never laid a finger on him) and his fright just takes over to the extent I've been to hospital several times with rope burns and broken fingers this year alone. I'm wondering when you are in the UK next so maybe you would come and do some one on one work with me or I could bring him to a venue that you are working at?

Looking forward to hear back from you.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Kind regards,

Hannah Sewell and Smurf

Answer 

Dear Hannah,

I remember Smurf very well. He is not an easy case. People have not been kind to Smurf in the past. It is my opinion that horses have the greatest memory on earth. Please don’t blame him for what others did. You assumed these issues the day you agreed to take him in. Try your level best not to blame him for his fears. They are well founded memories.

Smurf can teach you so much about the stresses of being a horse. If you will just take a breath, relax and learn from him why it is so important to find a safe place. I have been through this so many times in my career and it's the Smurfs of the world who have taught me the highest percentage of my learning.

The most recent educator for me is called Benny.

Sincerely,
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NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION

Dear Mr. Roberts,

Since I began to ride over sixty years ago, I have almost constantly been encouraged to carry a whip. In some cases, horses that were always whipped, don't tend to respect the rider unless he carries it. I was taught to USE it too, and it can be very effective in getting what I want from the Horse!

I never really liked to use a whip, or crop, as we call it. Around age 17 I rode a horse who had been spoiled, Once there were no trainers about, I commenced riding, using the crop only when the Horse REFUSED to obey my signals, otherwise using natural aids only.

At the end of that hour I rode with no further use of the crop, and indeed, rarely ever used or even carried it again. For many years now, I always ride every horse without carrying a crop and almost always have no need to ask for one.

I am most definitely of the opinion that any horse trained without punishment, will never need punishment!

Many riding schools in Britain insist that riders carry a crop. I rode one Thoroughbred horse, who had been sold cheaply to the riding school because he was dangerous, bucking people off. I didn't carry a crop and although he bucked initially, he didn't throw me and after a few rides, stopped bucking. He was a marvellous ride!

The week before I first rode him, I watched him dispatch one of our trainers. When he napped (refused to go forward), she hit him. She landed about ten feet from where the horse was standing, all I thought was, don't carry a stick on Malone!

I do believe that any use of whips, sticks, or crops is unnecessary, and counterproductive. I equally firmly believe, that if they were not used, they never would be needed.

You might have concluded, from the forgoing, that I am an experienced, or even professional rider, but no, I have only ever been a weekend rider, and not a particularly strong rider at best. I always believed that animals should be understood, not bullied. I didn't like being bullied either!

Mr. Roberts, I have four of your books, all of which I have read,and reread. I have given away five or six copies of " The Man Who Listens to Horses " and have another already for someone else.

I have two of your videos, Shy Boy and Join-Up . I watched you live at the RDS Dublin and I am very impressed with almost everything you do.

Thank you,
Melvyn Carter

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