April 11, 2011

The Man Who Listens to Horses - Monty Roberts

In Chandigarh I was on a search for a book I could read in English on my return flight to the States. Most bookstores only had school texts and a few spiritual texts in English. Marlene and I found a music store with a small loft space that had a few neglected bookshelves filled with English books. I found The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts on one of these dusty shelves. The clerk at the register was so pleased that I was buying a book, a used one in fact, that he gave me a further discount on the $5.00 price. The book was well worth the investment.

Monty Roberts, who grew up in Salinas, living on the Rodeo Grounds - an area I passed regularly and visited on a few occasions when I lived Salinas in the 1990s. His book gives insights into how horses are flight animals and humans are fight animals. Historically, people "break" horses through what I would consider to be torture. Monty learned that horses are peaceful animals and have a language to communicate within their community. He observed the language and tried using it himself, learning that you do not need to break a horse but rather join-up with them. He was eventually able to use this same joining-up approach with deer on his ranch.

He uses this practice in his own life in his personal relationships. Only in the afterward does the book mention that Monty, who is known for taking in troubled horses, also took in troubled youth and teens.

I would like to visit Monty's ranch some day.