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The Man Who Listens to Horses

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  10,995 ratings  ·  272 reviews
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 30 minutes. His powers may seem like magic, but his amazing 'horse sense ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 28th 1998 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  10,995 ratings  ·  272 reviews

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As a horse owner, I have a HUGE problem with so-called "gurus". I've seen to many people who follow one guru this week, the next one next week, all without any regard for what their horse needs and certainly without ever questioning the "guru's" methods.

Roberts is not really one of those people I'd call a "guru". Sure, he sells, but then, everyone's gotta make a living. But in everything I read from him and about him, I had the feeling that he cares first of all about the horses - unlike "gurus"
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those life-changing books. It's really about 4.8-9 in how I'd rate it for readability, but the star system doesn't allow for that.

The work of a man clearly of fierce intelligence but minimal formal education, the prose is rough and honest as a cowboy's hands and tells the tale of an extraordinary life and the rediscovery of something as world-changing as the internal combustion engine: the ability to believe things other than humans have something worthwile to say, and to hear it.
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was the catalyst for change in the way in which i rode, handled and understood horses and for that i have to give thanks to Monty Roberts who introduced me into the world of effective communication, natural horsemanship and the proper understanding of these magnificent animals. I was gripped from page 1 to page 374 hence being unable to put this book down even for a few minutes i finished reading it in under a week, and being that i am naturally a very slow reader this occourance was t ...more
Kathleen L. L.
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a week, in the midst of reading another book and a very hectic work and holiday schedule. If I had no other obligations, I would have read it in one sitting. Monty Roberts is a gifted story-teller who can not only decipher horses' body language, but then communicate it in a captivating and clear way to others.

Roberts regales with vignettes of his relationships with memorable horses like the mustang herds he spent two summers with, his childhood show horses Brownie and Ginger
John of Canada
I was out in the country over Christmas and talked to some folks who have owned and/or worked with horses.They were very familiar with Monty Roberts and have used his techniques to great advantage.I was afraid that Monty's techniques were too good to be true.It turns out that they are too good and too true!I will now start my collection of everything he has written. ...more
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found this book by accident because I was looking in the wrong section of the library for another book for someone else. I'm so glad I did. Not only was it an engaging account of an extraordinary life, it was a clear, simple articulation of a method for creating connection and trust with a horse.

I've recently taken a course on taming mustangs that was based on Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) principles. The aim of this method is the humane training of horses (and other animals) based on gai
Jarilyn Schwab
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you love horses you'll love what this man has done for the horse world!! He is amazing! ...more
Andrew Pender-Smith
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Monty Roberts' 'The Man Who Listens to Horses' proved to be one of the most exciting additions to the field of equine/human inter-communication. It destroyed the myth that horses need to be forced into submission to get them to do the bidding of humans. Through his teachings, Monty Roberts has taught thousands of people that the best way to interact with a horse is to learn its language; that the key to a good, stress-free relationship between man and horse is to study the communication system o ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Riveting and instructive tale about a man whose identity and self-esteem do not depend on him feeling ascendant, either to other people or the animal kingdom.

He pays the greatest respect he can by quietly and with reverence observing his subjects’ behaviour within their natural setting, and learning how to speak their language.

I kept thinking as I read that Monty’s methods would serve human relationships as well as those with horses. When I read the Afterward, written by Lawrence Scanlan, I le
Sarah B
I've read a few books on horse behavior before but none of them have actually explained all of the various things that horses DO. Especially that chewing and tongue poking out that I see often. So then I left wondering WHY are they doing that? Are they thirsty?? But if they are then why don't they go get a drink? I mean the water is right there and the horse is free to wonder about, as we are in the pasture. So basically I'm left guessing and feeling a bit confused and trying to apply human thou ...more
Jan 21, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
3.5 Stars
A seemingly very random book to read, I found this on a stack of books at my parents house that they were getting rid of, and added it to mine about 7 years ago. Since my goal this year is to tackle my TBR shelves, I finally got around to reading this.

I have always loved horses, ever since I can first remember riding one at 7 years old at a ranch in Colorado. I would return there two more times as a guest and then spend two summers working there in college. I loved King of the Wind and
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, memoir
Very readable memoir by Monty Roberts about his life with horses. He grew up with horses, and watched many horses being "broken" by his father and others. He always believed there was a better, more humane way, and he invented it. It involved communicating with the horse: studying, understanding and speaking the horse's body language. Using his method (which he clearly describes in the book - there's no magic here) he is able to convince a horse in half an hour to allow itself to be ridden.

Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book for animal lovers, especially horse people, or anyone interested in working kindly with others.
Feb 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
When I read this book 10 or so years ago, I had never heard of Monty Roberts before, or at least, I couldn't remember ever having read of him before even though I had been a subscriber to popular horse magazines such as Western Horseman from the time I was a kid.

I took the book at face value, until it was proven to my satisfaction by several various other sources that much of the autobiographical information in it disqualifies the book from 'nonfiction' status. Marvin Roberts did not beat his so
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not just a book for the horsey set (I had read his "From My Hands to Yours: Lessons from a Lifetime of Training Championship Horses" before), this is an very interesting autobio.

I enjoyed the life and times described of his childhood in California during the 40's and 50's, his experiences in the movie world and as a competitive rider (all as a child ... it was definitely a very different time!) and later his work in Europe with horses.

Something I did not know about him was that he is completely
Audrey Vint
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is in the time period of the 1930's to the 1990's. The main character is Monty Roberts who is a horse whisperer who travels the world to help train horses. Monty's life is a roller coaster like anyone else. He came from the bottom to the top and much wisdom is shared.
I feel like it would be cool that at the end, Monty added a little writing from his children and how they love him and respect his job. There weren't any boring parts but in some areas the story goes into extreme detail
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I really love Monty Roberts' work. I've read other books by him and read a lot about his work with horses. I love how he describes the relationships he builds with horses and how he rehabilitates them with such love and care. In this book, he talks more about his childhood and how he came to do what he does now. You have a lot more of an understanding of why he trains horses with such gentility after hearing of his childhood and how his father treating him and his animals. I also enjoyed getting ...more
Maria Jansson
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book several times, and it's been a great source of inspiration for the horse part of my life, for the past 11 years. It's time for my daughter to get her first horse, and I figured that it was time for me to re-read this excellent book.

There's so much I can relate to when it comes to Monty Roberts childhood with an abusive father (in my case it was step-father,) and how this affect his way of thinking about both people and horses. It's difficult to understand that the cruel way
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Monty's relationship with his father had such an incredible impact on his life. Throughout the book, I was still seeing someone still looking for approval. My opinion is that Monty is still seeking it. The other poignant moment was when he talked about the number of people attending his father's funeral vs. his mother's funeral. A cruel confirmation on how we can turn away from what is really happening and how the forgotten the others become. It is truly a book of raw emotion behind his words hi ...more
Susie Kramer-Joneston
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Monty Roberts tries to come across as the only person who knows about horses and acts as if he invented the concept of "be kind to horses" and "don't abuse them when you train them". That's good advice except I have known people who gave him their horses for his demonstrations and he lied about them being never saddled and so forth. I read extensive articles countering much of what he wrote in this book. Is it a good adventure story and memoir - yeah it's pretty good. But is it truthful. Sorry, ...more
Nabitha Aline
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
I guess I shouldn't have read the news reports about Monty Roberts exaggerations and claims that he lied about nearly everything. Maybe then I could have enjoyed his book as fiction, at least. I read this book after a bunch of my riding friends told me about it. They were into horses, training and saving mustangs and since I love animals i thought I would give it a try to. It's interesting but the reports totally blew it for me. I do understand how others who don't know about the claims against ...more
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this book several years ago when it was fashionable in the UK and when I was still riding. Interestingly all the riding instructors seemed to hate it. I found it fascinating and pretty much took it at face value. I find animal psychology fascinating in as much as it equally relates to humans (us other herd animals!) I think if you ride or are merely interested in horses this would be an interesting read.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The man who listens to horses
by Monty Roberts

I realy enjoyed this book. I had been very intrested in Montys work and how well he can relate to horses and think its amazing what he has learnt from horses.
from this text i learnt alot more about join-up and found it amazing that i could be done with many diffrent animals in the wild.
i recomend this book to anyone who wants to have a deeper conection with their horse.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I just listened to this book, and several times, I didn't want to get out of the car. It was interesting. I want to learn more about how Monty interacts with the horses to get them trusting them because he says it's a similar concept for humans. Hmmm. . . His approach and methods have been very, very successful consistently. I was sad to learn that his dad was abusive. ...more
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horse-favorites
An excellent book about overcoming the cycle of abuse, toward both humans and animals. His revolutionary approach to training horses changed the way I look at horses and how they are treated, as well as influenced my interactions with them. A relevant read for horse lovers and non-horse-people alike.
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago... can't remember when. It started the change in the way I communicated with my horses.

Monty Roberts' story - his life - is devoted to the horse.

For non-horse people, it's an interesting read.

For horse people... it could be the turning point in your equine relationships.

Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I enjoyed Monty's book very much and I chose to disregard the rebuttal of his story by his own family. I simply think his story should be taken at face value and hopefully his approach to breaking horses softy has deterred harsh treatment and has made the public aware of the abusive treatment of horses. That fact alone makes this book worthwhile. ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
To me this was an amazing rags to riches real life story of a very talented horse trainer. He is now one of the most famous trainers promoting a natural gentler approach to communicating with horses.Monty Roberts ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting, a decently written autobiography. The author had a rich, eventful life. The one downside is the author's negative focus on his father. This casts a shadow through the book. I found myself hoping the Mr. Roberts would just let his feelings go and get on with the task of living. ...more
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very Good! He is an amazing person. It was certainly worth the read. I can't wait to try it on my ponies. ...more
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He wrote that by personally observing horses in the wild, he learned to "listen" to their non-verbal "language"; that when horses understood that they can trust you, they will decide to be with you. Roberts registered as his term for "hooking on", the phrase "Join~Up", in which a trainer negotiates with an untamed horse to form a voluntary relationship with him ...more

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