Monty Roberts is a real-life horse whisperer–an American original whose gentle Join-Up® training method reveals the depth of communication possible between man and animal. He can take a wild, high-strung horse who has never before been handled and persuade that horse to accept a bridle, saddle, and rider in thirty minutes. His powers may seem like magic, but his amazing “horse sense” is based on a lifetime of experience. In The Man Who Listens to Horses, Roberts reveals his unforgettable personal story and his exceptional insight into nonverbal communication, an understanding that applies to human relationships as well. He shows that between parent and child, employee and employer, abuser and abused, there are forms of communication far stronger than the spoken word that are accessible to all who will learn to listen. This new edition features engaging photographs, a chapter that traces Roberts’s amazing experience gentling with a mustang in the wild, and an Afterword about the remarkable impact this book has had on the world.
Monty Roberts is, as they say, the real horse whisperer--even if he does revile the last third of Nicholas Evans's romance. Yet Roberts also makes clear from the start that listening and close attention have more to do with gentling an animal than soi-disant whispering. As far as he's concerned, silent communication can "effectively cross over the boundary between human (the ultimate fight animal) and horse (the flight animal). Using their language, their system of communication, I could create a strong bond of trust. I would achieve cross-species communication." And achieve it he does. After one short session, he has even the wildest stallion nickering with ungulate abandon.
Roberts's descriptions of "joining up," as he calls it with horses--as well as with the deer who cavort on his California farm like so many hyperintelligent Bambis--are inspirational in the best sense of the word. Surprisingly, though, it took him long years to persuade most of the humans in his life that pain and punishment are not the way to go. Indeed, the author expends many a page on past mistakes and disasters, familial and professional. Yet The Man Who Listens to Horses remains a powerfully positive document--and not just for Mr. Ed. Best of all, when it comes to his life's work, Roberts is far more practical than mystical. Instead of portraying himself as Equus's messiah, he'd rather share his hard-won knowledge. Having overcome years of rejection and ridicule, the author is certainly not short in the self-esteem department, as some passages in this book demonstrate. No matter. He always checks his ego before entering the corral. --Kerry Fried