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").
Claire: Hi folks will be adding a few quizzes over the next few days so check out the Qizzes and Puzzles for Fun section !
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susan: hello, first time here. I am looking for various horse/pony books I read as a child. sadly, I cannot remember the titles, only what the story was about and perhaps a few of the characters. can someone help? am I in the correct place to do this? lmk
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Claire: Hi all, don't forget we will be having a bit of Halloween themed fun with a ghostly group read, a magical film to watch and I will also be adding Halloween themed quizzes.
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Pony_Mad_Girl_😀🐴: woops sorry, do you have Pony Club Secrets or First Day at Pony Club. Orposs
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Pony girl: Susan, have you tried searching for books by Josephine Pullen-Thompson and Stacy Gregg. Hope this helps, Pony Girl 🐴👩🏻
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horse reader: i love horses and pony< do you think you can give me some tips to riding?
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Claire: Hi all, just to remind you, our group read this Autumn is the new Caroline Akrill book. We are having a change this year and not doing a spooky book as this one is too good to miss!
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