Archive » June 14, 2012
By Pat Murphy, Contributing Writer
After years of working in various countries, teaching gentle techniques for starting young horses under saddle, Monty Roberts came to realize that some vast changes were indeed taking place. Some of the roughest treatment of horses occurred in Latin American countries where the rough macho image is prevalent. So it was heartwarming to hear that he had made progress.
But the road hasn’t always been smooth. When people in various countries were shown that the methods that had been used for centuries were completely outmoded, it didn’t always make them happy. In fact, in some cases, it made them furious. Perhaps feeling that their livelihood and expertise was being threatened, they retaliated.
But hearing of the success of Join-Up techniques, leading Argentine polo players like former World Champion Memo Gracida and current World Champion Adolfo Combiaso, came to Monty’s Flag Is Up Farms and studied Monty’s methods. Now polo training methods in Argentina have changed, and Valley polo player Joel Baker has been a big part of the success.
As we visit about his recent adventures, Monty leans forward in his chair and says firmly, “It’s unbelievable that in some places, horses are still getting brutal beatings in the name of training them to accept a saddle and rider. I am going to provide you with a video that I had taken in Brazil that shows you what is going on. This was a contest with several teams of three people showing horses being broken with their traditional methods.”
I took the video home and was shocked at the brutal treatment of the beautiful Brazilian horses. One horse was so frantic to get away that he climbed over a high metal corral fence. Then, after being pursued by the three “trainers” he simply fell to the ground exhausted, where he was kicked and beaten. This actually brought forth wild whoops of approval from the crowd (which included women). Then just as I was feeling a combination of anger and disgust, the video shows the same man converting to the new Join-Up methods and admitting that they are much faster, easier and have neither horses nor people getting hurt.
So back I go to Flag Is Up Farms and we are in the sitting room, surrounded by Pat Robert’s beautiful sculptures as Monty continues. “I am so grateful to Queen Elizabeth. If it had not been for her endorsement, I would never have been invited to these different countries to demonstrate my Join-Up methods. I’d still be working with horses in California. I’ve been looking for a way to show my gratitude to her, because no other world leader has positively affected man’s relationship to animals to the extent that she has.”
So Monty made a video showing the changes that are being made in the world, because of her help. “I hired a psychologist, a famous linguist named John Grinder and an American named William Miller, who is an expert in addictive behavior. I also had the CEO of Volkswagen North America, named Clyde Warilow on it. The man who was running the video for the Queen was an English war hero.”
Feeling so encouraged by her positive response to the evidence of change, Monty then decided that he would like to make three requests of the Queen. But then he was firmly told that if one wishes to make a request it must first go through her emissary Sir Alan Reed. “So I proceeded properly,” he said. “The letter invited this royal personage, who cared so deeply about horses, to become a patron of the global non-profit organization Join-Up International. Our mission statement is ‘To leave the world a better place for horses and for people, too.’”
He also asked if, perhaps, she would even award come certificates to places in the world where great changes in their training methods had taken place. The third request was for her to grant a one-hour interview to a publishing company that wants to do a book about the living leaders of the world that have something to say about how we should live our lives. Statements were not to be political or religious. Other leaders that would be invited included Nelson Mandella, the Dali Llama, Steven Hawkins, Bill Gates, as well as others. They would be asked to tell about their own history and what they deeply felt would help the world.
Then more bad news arrived! “I was told that she never does interviews for anything. So I had made another faux pas and was told that none of my requests could take place.” Feeling embarrassed and disappointed, he wondered how he could he have stepped so far out of line. If he had done research, he could have realized that people outside of the United Kingdom were never granted a patronage. Now he realized that he probably looked like an uneducated American cowboy and was deeply mortified.
A few days later, another message arrived and this one was directly from the Queen. It said that she wished to grant all of the three requests. And that the plan was for the certificates to be awarded on June 24, at the guards Polo Club in Windsor, England. The people who would be honored would come from Argentina, Brazil, Dubai, Guatemala, Mexico and – because of his valuable help with the polo industry – Valley resident Joel Baker, would represent the USA.