The Man Who Listens to Horses

The Man Who Listens to Horses

4.6 25
by Monty Roberts, Lucy Grealy
     
 

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Monty Roberts is a real-life horse whisperer—an American original whose gentle training methods reveal 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 …  See more details below

Overview

Monty Roberts is a real-life horse whisperer—an American original whose gentle training methods reveal 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. Roberts started riding at the age of two, and at the age of thirteen he went alone into the high deserts of Nevada to study mustangs in the wild. What he learned there changed his life forever.



Monty Roberts has spent his whole life working with horses—schooling them, listening to them, and learning their ancient equine language. In The Man Who Listens to Horses, he tells about his early days as a rodeo rider in California, his problems with his violent horse-trainer father, who was unwilling to accept Monty's unconventional training methods, his friendship with James Dean, his struggle to be accepted in the professional horse-training community, and the invitation that changed his life—to demonstrate his method of "join-up" to the Queen of England.



From his groundbreaking work with horses, Roberts has acquired an unprecedented understanding of nonverbal communication, an understanding that applies to human relationships as well. He has shown that between parent and child, employee and employer (he's worked with over 250 corporations, including General Motors, IBM, Disney, and Merrill Lynch), and abuser and abused, there are forms of communication far stronger than the spoken word and that they are accessible to allwho will learn to listen. This inspirational and gentle man, first introduced to the American public on Dateline NBC, is part James Herriot, part Bill Gates, and part John Wayne. And his story is one you will never forget.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
Quite a story. . .He takes us from the moment he learned to listen to horses through the development of his skill at 'gentling' them.
Horse and Rider
Fascinating. . .reads like the most thrilling adventure story.
New York Times Book Review
Riveting and inspirational. . . Will first break, then mend your heart.
Sporting Life
Extraordinary. . .wisdom born of a tough and immensely varied life.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This book is important reading for those interested in communication, particularly interspecies communication and linguistics. Growing up in the late 1940s on his father's horse farm, which also had a rodeo area, Roberts began to develop his revolutionary view of horse behavior in his early teens by observing the wild mustangs in the Nevada high desert. He came to know what a horse was thinking, he claims, by noting the position of its body, head, tongue, ears, legs and tail, as well as the focus of its eyes. He held firm to his insight despite the violent opposition of his father, who felt his son's notion threatened everything he had built his business on, namely that a horse had to be 'broken.' On one occasion, Roberts' father beat him so badly that he had to be hospitalized. But in time, the son scored many successes with horses he had 'started' (trained) rather than 'broke,' and he began to acquire followers. Among them was Queen Elizabeth II, an ardent horsewoman, who witnessed Roberts' demonstrations, became a convert and instituted his system for royal mounts. Roberts, who has worked as a movie stuntman since he was two and performed in rodeos, has 'reformed' many problem animals. How he learned to listen to horses, to communicate nonverbally, is the central feature of his convincing book, which will certainly elicit controversy.
San Francisco Chronicle
Roberts' story is more fascinating and profound than any told in fiction.
Wash. Post Book World
Quite a story. . .He takes us from the moment he learned to listen to horses through the development of his skill at 'gentling' them.
Kirkus Reviews
The surprisingly complex and lively memoir of a successful and influential horse trainer who helped pioneer nonviolent methods of breaking horses in. Some of the book's vigor and pace may have to do with the fact that Lucy Grealy is the co-author. The narrative begins in 1948 when Roberts, then 13, spent time studying wild horses in the Nevada desert. He applied what he learned there to radically new ideas about how wild horses could be trained and came to be an important figure in horse racing circles. His portrait of the business of breeding and training horses is frank and fascinating, but the book's most memorable passages cover the rodeos and horse business in the west as it was in the author's youth, and include a haunting portrait of his violent, racist father and of some of the other remarkable figures Roberts knew (including a young James Dean). Over and above everything, though, is Roberts's surpassing love for horses, captured here in his evocations of the horses he has trained over a career spanning four decades.

From the Publisher
"The Man Who Listens to Horses will first break, then mend your heart.... A riveting and inspirational story.... Read it. Monty Roberts will make you marvel." -The New York Times Book Review

"Utterly engrossing.... For those who have ridden the high plains country, wide open, atop a horse in the full, mature glory of its strength, the only honest reaction after reading the book is to smile in warm agreement." -Michael Enright, The Globe and Mail

"Mesmerizing.... The kind of life-altering book you never want to finish." -San Francisco Chronicle

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345427052
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1998
Edition description:
1 BALLANTI
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.88(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.98(d)

Read an Excerpt

'It all dates from those summers alone in the high desert, me lying on my belly and watching wild horses with my binoculars for hours at a time. Straining to see in the moonlight, striving to fathom mustang ways, I knew instinctively I had chanced upon something important but could not know that it would shape my life. In 1948 I was a boy of 13 learning the language of horses. . . .' -- From The Man Who Listens to Horses

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The Man Who Listens to Horses will first break, then mend your heart.... A riveting and inspirational story.... Read it. Monty Roberts will make you marvel." -The New York Times Book Review

"Utterly engrossing.... For those who have ridden the high plains country, wide open, atop a horse in the full, mature glory of its strength, the only honest reaction after reading the book is to smile in warm agreement." -Michael Enright, The Globe and Mail

"Mesmerizing.... The kind of life-altering book you never want to finish." -San Francisco Chronicle

Meet the Author

Monty Roberts, born in 1935, lives in California. He is currently at work on his second book.

Lawrence Scanlan lives in Ontario.

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