Last evening I went to see a demonstration by Monty Roberts. Monty Roberts in case you were not aware advocates non violent methods in training horses. He is all about understanding the horse and helping it overcome its demons. A real horse whisperer if you like but he doesn't whisper to horses, he listens. No cameras allowed because of the problems of nervous horses and flashes.
And yes, when you see him in action, he makes it look easy but then he is a true outlier. He has had many thousands of hours training horses and perfecting his understanding of them. There is a calmness in his manner. Where others were wearing chest protectors and hard helmets ( because of health and safety) he went into the round pen with a flat cap. He joke he was born with a hard head, but then because of his father's actions Mr Roberts suffered 71 broken bones before he was 18.
He took a horse which had never had a saddle on its back let alone a rider from a nervous state to having a rider within 30 minutes. This is not to say the horse was ready to go out riding with just anyone on its back, but rather he demonstrated how quickly horses could accept things.
Because my friend is a member of the Intelligent Horsemanship, I was able to see the private horse demo which was done by his associate Kelly Marks. She is not as skilled as Mr Roberts but then she has not been doing it as long so it was interesting to see how she had to keep going back to the basics to gain the horse's trust, but she did.
One of the things that made me laugh was in England, Mr Roberts wears a flat cap as he was told that people would not respect him and what he had to say if he wore his cowboy hat. He pointed out that the horses do not care what sort of hat he wears! However, as he did want to get his message across and not just be dismissed, he does wear the flat cap when in the UK. This is a man whose talents at race horse training etc are second to none and who ought to listened to regardless of headgear.
He also rode. To see that man and Kelly Marks ride their horses is to see what true horsemanship can do. I used to think seeing a horse spin very fast was probably trick photography. Nope. The horse was wonderful and moved on fishing line. (Although Mr Roberts got his lines tangled because it was the first night of the tour and he held them to slack as the horse spun the first time!) And Kelly Marks' rescue pony Pie was super -- jumping through a fake blowing fire to get to her and generally doing tricks like walking a teeter - totter bridge.
For me a big highlight was hearing Mr Roberts voice as he is from Northern California originally and showed plus seeing him ride Western. Made me quite homesick.
Anyway, I am thoroughly motivated about training my puppies as PICNIC (Positive Instant Connotations Negative Instant Connotations) and lightness and motivation works for dogs as well as horses.
Equally Mr Roberts is a wonderful role model -- an aspirational leader who inspires love and commands respect. Who says alpha males have to be domineering and horrid.
If you can go, go and see him do his work or otherwise visit his website and see what he is about.