Northwest NEWS

September 20, 1999

Front Page

Monty Roberts demonstration will benefit EquiFriends

Monty Roberts

Monty Roberts and friend.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Dydyk; copyright © 1999.

by Lisa Allen, Valley View Editor

   Monty Roberts says we all just need to listen better.

   "Communication is the key," he said last week in a telephone interview. "Whether in human relationships or with horses. Horses have a silent language, but they are very quick to become a partner. It's better to just listen."

   Roberts' book, The Man Who Listens to Horses, has touched millions of readers around the world with his dedication to non-violent teaching methods. The popular horse trainer will be in Monroe next week to demonstrate his ground-breaking Join-Up technique. The event will be on Monday, Sept. 27, from 7:30-10:30 p.m. at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. The demonstration will benefit EquiFriends Therapeutic Riding Program of Snohomish.

   Joining Monty on this tour are two of his close equine friends: the famous Shy Boy, title character of Monty's new book and PBS special, Shy Boy--the Horse That Came In From the Wild; and Tucker, a young thoroughbred born blind and sold for slaughter, but rescued by Colorado Horse Rescue (CHR). This special horse won the hearts of volunteers at CHR, who raised the substantial funds necessary for cataract removal surgery, which restored much of his sight.

   Tucker's heartwarming story attracted the attention of both the national media and Roberts. Now adopted and living at Flag is Up Farms with Monty, Tucker's story will soon be seen on Animal Planet's TV series, Wild Rescues.

   "The purpose of the Join-Up tour is to enlighten people about the importance of humane treatment for horses and all other living creatures, and to let them know they can achieve training goals with good communication and trust," says Roberts. "A horse will give you his cooperation, either through fear or trust, but only if you gain his confidence will he ever achieve the highest levels of performance."

   Roberts begins each event by demonstrating his technique to start a young horse that has never before been ridden. He then works with up to three remedial horses, demonstrating how the principles of the technique can be applied to teach a horse to load in a trailer safely and without fear, and to overcome behavioral problems, such as kicking or bucking.

   "Traditional methods of training–fighting with the horse and using pain––take from four to six weeks," Roberts said. "I do the same thing in 30 minutes, and it's more effective."

   Using the horses' silent language--which he calls "Equus"--Roberts wins their confidence and trust. Horses typically learn to accept the saddle and bridle without fear, and can be ridden for the first time.

   "We are thrilled to be the beneficiary organization for this truly inspiring event," said Evie Bredeson, development director for EquiFriends Therapeutic Riding Program. "Our efforts to provide therapeutic programs for people with disabilities depend heavily on fundraising and donations, and Mr. Roberts' demonstration will help raise much-needed funds to support our continued efforts."

   According to Mel Thomas, executive director, EquiFriends serves over 100 students in 46 classes a week, utilizing 245 volunteers. Founded in 1989 in Monroe by Bredeson and Duvall residents Crish Lydon and her daughter Jackie, who was the original instructor, EquiFriends now operates out of Warren Wood Farms in Snohomish. EquiFriends is a non-profit program that depends on fund-raisers, contributions, and minimal tuition for its financial welfare. They are fully accredited by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA).

   Roberts' first book, The Man Who Listens to Horses, soared to #2 on the New York Times Best-Seller List in its hardcover version and remained on the list for over a year. Now in paperback, this inspiring page-turner has sold more than four million copies throughout the world. His second book, Shy Boy--The Horse That Came In From The Wild, released in May, is also a New York Times Best-Seller.

   General admission seating is $25 per night, and a limited number of VIP tickets are also available at $75. The VIP admission includes ringside seating and a one-hour reception and book signing with Roberts beginning at 5:30 p.m.

   Tickets are available by calling the toll-free number, 888/U2-MONTY (888/826-6689). For more information about Roberts' 1999 tour schedule, visit his website at www.montyroberts.com.