This is a marvellously engaging book, beautifully written with fascinating content.
The book works on three levels. It is the author’s life story – both personally and professionally quite dramatic. It is an account of the author’s innovative methods of horse handling, based on extensive observation of horses both domestic and wild. It is a fascinating insider’s view of the world of western riding and showing based on a lifetime’s experience.
The author has great ability with both narrative and descriptive writing. I will not spoil it by giving away too much of the content.
The book has some lovely descriptions of horses the author has worked with, but to me the undoubted star of them all was the splendid Johnny Tivio. It would not be unfair to say that Johnny is not perhaps the most beautiful horse in the world. He has a cob like look in his photo with very pugnacious face and looks as if there might be a Suffolk Punch lurking in his family tree somewhere. However, he was a loveable horse of remarkable achievements and splendid character and will make you smile.
Very readable book by a very humane man who has lived the cowboy lifestyle for real.
"The importance of being a good horsemaster should be impressed on every mounted soldier. He should be taught to look upon his horse as his best friend, to study it, to take a pride in its appearance and to look after its wants before his own"
Monty is over here at the moment - I'm hoping to go and see him in action next month.
Rescuing one animal does not change the world, but the world surely changes for that one animal.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring- it was peace ~
I just loved this book and have awarded it a Gold Cup too. This an achievement for any non-fictional book read by me, as I have a dreadful time concentrating on anything that isn't fiction. Also a lot of non-fictional horsy books are just downright dull. Monty's is anything but. He has had an extremely exciting and interesting life, working in Hollywood in its golden era as a stunt rider, and rubbing shoulders with the likes of James Dean, probably being the most glamourous episode!
However it is the parts where he learns to understand horses, (a reaction against the cruel and violent breaking methods displayed by his father and the cowboy culture in general of the time) which are the most exciting and magical to me. Also he comes across as a truly nice and humane person with none of the gimmicky superficiality of other so called horse experts (mentioning no names!)
He's the horsy person I'd most like to meet in the world!
If you haven't read this before then you MUST do so!
Post by nzponywriter on Mar 26, 2014 7:39:00 GMT 1
I have read this and loved it, learning a lot from it. In more recent years, I've become a little sceptical of Monty's methods and the value of repeatedly enforcing 'join-up' to bond with a horse, and have found other methods that I far prefer. Like the Parellis, he has become more about the marketing and less about the horses, and hasn't always been able to back up his ideas with his actions.
Two years ago,I watched a 3 day "Horsewomen's Challenge" where 3 trainers were each given a halter broken horse to break in over the course of 3 days. They each had a round pen and up to 2 hours each day to work with the horses. One of the trainers was a middle-aged Natural Horsemanship practitioner specialising in helping problem horses, one was a professional trainer in her 30s specialising in break-ins and dressage schooling, and one was a 24 year old professional rider who show jumps to Grand Prix level.
By the end of the three days, the horse started by the dressage trainer was being ridden under saddle in a 100m x 50m grass arena at the walk, willingly stopping, starting and turning. He was a naturally sensitive type who tended to "worry" and she did a wonderful job producing him slowly. The horse started by the Grand Prix show jumper was walking, trotting and cantering around the grass arena under saddle and bridle. He was a naturally inquisitive and intelligent type who also had a defiant streak, but had been carefully managed so that he didn't get bored or feel inclined to play up. The horse that had been allotted to the Natural Horsemanship practitioner was still being chased around the round pen by the woman who was trying to get her to 'join up'. She blamed the horse's clear refusal to join up with her on the fact that she was a defiant mare - not on the fact that her 'training' when she did catch the horse had involved waving a plastic bag in the horse's face to 'desensitise' her. At the end of 3 days she could barely catch her, and never so much as got a saddle on her. (Fortunately for the mare, she went to the show jumper, who hopped on her bareback and rode her around the arena at home twice, then sent her out hacking over the hills with her working students (standard practice for all their break-ins). The mare never put a foot wrong and was a happy horse when she went back to her owners.)
Clearly that's only one example and there are many dressage and show jump trainers out there using horrific methods, and plenty of Natural Horsemanship trainers doing amazing things, but the above is one of the reasons that I'm a sceptic. I had someone call me once and ask if I could help with their pony. They went on to ask "I assume that you're natural horsemanship inclined?" to which I responded "I'm common sense inclined."
In saying that, Monty has done a lot of good for promotion of horse welfare and 'alternative' training methods, and he is certainly an excellent horseman. And his book "Shy Boy" had me crying my eyes out. I'm currently listening to the e-book of Buck Brannaman's "The Faraway Horses" which is in many ways similar to Monty's life story, and is so far excellent (as was his documentary film "Buck").
fizz: Is it too late to read the Francis book and watch the film?
Aug 17, 2017 22:08:46 GMT 1
fizz: My show went well, good to have being painting again
Aug 17, 2017 22:09:07 GMT 1
Claire: Glad the show went well, wish I could paint! Yes, join in with the film and book any time you want.
Aug 20, 2017 0:08:05 GMT 1
cally: I need to make $ to emigrate. I can write non fiction, but fiction has me stumped.
Oct 14, 2017 11:52:49 GMT 1
cally: I need to make $ to emigrate, buy a rural property in the Yorkshire Dales area, start an animal rescue sanctuary and a service to take animals in to see the elderly, sick, disabled etc.
Oct 14, 2017 11:54:33 GMT 1
cally: Oh I see how this works now- don't press the return button, eejit. How do I start to write a pony book having read hundreds, and not accidentally or intentionally accidentally 'borrow' ideas?
Oct 14, 2017 11:56:41 GMT 1
Claire: Hi Cally! What great ambitions!!
Oct 14, 2017 20:59:09 GMT 1
cally: My lap top stuffed so am trying to get all my stuff over to slow crap I pad so had to go through log in thing and change password so I hope I come up as me. So this is a test!
Oct 24, 2017 5:27:39 GMT 1
Claire: Yep Cally it's you alright!!
Oct 26, 2017 22:30:22 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all, just to say have put my 2 Christmas 'Pumble' stories in the Christmas 2017 in case anyone fancies a re-read.
Dec 24, 2017 13:48:15 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all apologies for not being around the last few days. Have been away travelling with no intyernet
Mar 8, 2018 13:53:52 GMT 1
Claire: Or even internet lol
Mar 8, 2018 13:54:08 GMT 1
brumby: Hi Claire, what has happened to the Pony Mad book Lovers Website??
Mar 18, 2018 8:23:22 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all sorry the website has been down due to technical problems with web host. All back up and running now!
Mar 22, 2018 19:19:12 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all the offical Reading Challenge thread is now up and running!
Jun 12, 2018 18:08:13 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all just to say have added a few Autumn/Halloween themed quizzes for you
Oct 9, 2018 15:02:48 GMT 1
Claire: Yet more Pooboards problems - sorry it is not letting anyone post as a guest at the moment - will contact them and try and sort it out.
Nov 4, 2018 12:50:07 GMT 1
aud: Can anyone tell me if they know of a Pony book that has a story line with A nesting Pair of Osprey Birds(thats as well as Ponies)i have been told it is either Alisons Island Adventure by Sheila Stewart or one of the Jinney books by patricha Leitch.
Dec 10, 2018 19:03:28 GMT 1
tali: One of the Jinny books has a sub story line of egg stealing so may be the one you are thinking of. It is one of the books that features the character Claire Burnley.
Dec 24, 2018 12:54:11 GMT 1
ginslinger: It is one of the early Jinny books. I only read the first few and I found the storyline upsetting.
Jan 4, 2019 19:17:50 GMT 1