Wednesday June 26, 2019


Hello Monty,

I've spent years working with horses, most all have problems and I usually can solve them, by trying different things. But I have this one mare that I don't know where to start. She has definitely been so abused that she doesn't trust anyone. I had her to where she would let me touch her face and now out of no where, she has decided to not let me touch her at all, she bolts and runs. If I do get close, she freezes and acts like a bomb ready to blow, eyes wide. Can I ask where you would start with her? When you get a halter on, she will let you do anything, but I would like her to be that way, without a halter or rope. She just doesn't trust, so what ever was done to her, is ingrained in her big time. Really would like to know your thoughts.

Thank you,


Dear Fay,

Thank you for this very important question. Oftentimes this behavior is the result of perfectly normal treatment of one sort or another for a problem. The doctoring of head wounds, ear problems or dental work all rank strongly in creating the head shy condition. Of course the number one cause is human violence.

Hitting a horse for nipping or acting out to cause pain with a twitch or any other instrument also contribute greatly. Like so many behavior problems we address with horses, we need to relax, take a breath and think through what might help us. One of the things that has been very foremost in the work I’ve done with head shy horses is to go to the market and buy the little squeeze bottle of honey. While there, purchase a wooden kitchen spoon. 

Go to your horse, and put a drop or two of honey on the opposite end of the spoon from the large spoon portion. Hold the cup like portion of this instrument in your hand and see what you can do about placing the honey portion in the corner of the mouth. If this proves to be impossible, put a few drops of honey on the rim of the horse’s grain bin. You even might add a few drops to the top of the grain. 

Horses typically learn very quickly to love honey. It’s generally a very short period of time until you can put the stick in the corner of the mouth. Add more honey and make a little game of it so that the horse awaits your arrival with the honey on a stick. Take this procedure with you to the bit and you will successfully reduce ear sensitivity or head touching sensitivity of any kind. This procedure is well documented on my Online University and one should see the videos and repeat the solution.


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"I’m dealing with just about everything mentioned in Monty’s book! What I learned this week: be patient, you may not think the horse is “getting it” but if you think about what you’ve read and studied, the solutions will present themselves."

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July 22 to 26, 2019:  Monty's Special Training Brazil  at Flag Is Up Farms, Solvang,California
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Test yourself each week as I challenge you to answer the question below. I mean this. Sit down and write an answer. Don't wait for my answer next week. If you have been reading my Weekly Questions and Answers for the last six months, you should be in a position to do this. Send your answer to my team at:  
Why should you bother? Because it will help you focus. There is probably a comparable question in your life that needs answering... or will be. If you can gain insight into how to go about answering a practical question that is loosely related to your problem, this exercise will help you answer your nagging question. Then read my answer. I want all of my students to learn to be better trainers than me.That's good for you and good for horses! 
~ Monty 

Dear Monty, 
First off I want to thank you for opening my eyes to a better way of training horses. When I was younger and first got into horses it was through an older gentleman who had a talent for horses but was much like your father in his methods. Looking back, I am ashamed at the methods I used "breaking" horses under his guidance on his ranch. I remember in particular a bay colt he had me tie high to a dally pole and sack it out with a rolled up feed sack and the fear in his eyes as he could go no where. Then he would saddle him tied that way and get on because the idea was he couldn't buck when tied high to the dally pole. His methods worked to get him riding but that horse was so scared of people that he was dangerous when not under saddle. He eventually sold him at a kill pen.

Last night I saddled up and rode a young colt for his first ride that reminded me of that colt I ruined years ago. What a difference your methods have made for me in the last eight years. He was so calm and willing to learn, following me around like a dog when I got off the saddle because he trusted me and truly wanted to be by me.

Sorry for getting off topic. The question is, is it good to have other people ride your horses. Will it help them to trust humans more if they are ridden by multiple people? Some people don't want others riding for various reasons such as teaching bad habits, don't ride same as they do etc. I have several horses I let anyone ride because they put up with a lot of mistakes. I have a mustang for years that I never let anyone ride but me. What is the best approach?

The reason this is in my head is because I am working with a 12-year-old gelding that was given to me. Seemed in good care, good ground manners, didn't show fear of people or signs of abuse, he was just a pasture pet that had never been ridden. I have him riding good for me and he trusts me and enjoys being around me and other people, but when someone else tries to get on him he will not stand still and prances around in a circle snorting. Never moves an inch when I put my foot in the stirrup. 
Should I push him to accept other riders now or give him more time? I've probably started 100 horses with your methods and understand a horses lack of trust when there is evidence of abuse or fear instilled in them. I don't believe that is the case with this horse so this is new territory for me.

Thanks and God bless,

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