has been “Monty’d"
The trials and traumas
of trying to load a 17.2hh 775lb monster!!!
note that the video clips with this article may require
you to update your Windows Media Player)
Auchmillan Charmer (A.C.) is owned by my 18 yr old daughter
Kate. Kate is studying Equine/BHS at Hartpury College and
A.C. is assisting her.
was purchased as a 16.3 Shire x TB semi green 4 yr old
4 ½ years ago. His previous owner had owned
him from a 6month old weaned foal. Sadly she had to sell
him – he was just too big for her (she was approx
just over 5’.0”). We on the other hand were
fed up of our daughter outgrowing every Arab we put in
front of her – so thought, she’ll never outgrow
a youngster AC had not been travelled a lot but his upbringing
was kind and
gentle – he’d never
known any traumas. We arranged for a well known couple
to bring him from Essex to Worcestershire – he travelled
with no problems and settled into his new home well.
was a big horse, compared to what Kate or the rest of
us had been used to – a lot more went in one end
and a lot more came out the other. A totally new “wardrobe” had
to be purchased and we arranged for someone to school AC
and give Kate lessons. All progressed well.
day Kate’s Instructor suggested to take him
to a local equestrian centre to a) school him b) pop him
over a couple of jumps c) to let him see more of life.
We agreed and AC was loaded onto this person’s horsebox – No
Trouble. We arrived at the equestrian centre, he was schooled,
popped over a couple of jumps and Kate rode him round.
it came to loading on the horsebox AC refused to go on
board, we coaxed him,
but no way was he going on
board. The instructor decided to try and “beat” him
on board – he definitely was not going to go. In
the end, I rode him all the way home.
Instructor left and a new person took over his education
with Kate – things progressed really well. AC and
Kate have a good rapour and naturally when she started
at Hartpury College – AC went along.
knew this massive horse would not fit in our trailer – so
we decided to swap the Discovery and trailer for a horsebox.
This was built with 7’9” headroom and big enough
to accommodate AC. Everyone travels really well – even
AC travels well ONCE WE GET HIM IN. We have tried and tried
for over two years – he doesn’t seem afraid
and once in, he travels really well, doesn’t sweat
up and walks off the other end calmly and carefully. Chris
has always driven carefully – we even have internal
cameras so we can keep an eye on him.
usually takes between one to one and half hours to load
him. If we give him a mild
sedative we can usually
get him inside in between 30 – 50 mins, on one occasion
after 10 mins and we thought we’d cracked it. Next
time it took 90 mins.
NEVER lose out tempers, we NEVER beat him or use lunge
lines, brooms etc. If
you get angry with him, he gets nasty – so
we don’t bother. He just puts his front feet on the
ramp and STOPS. We have tried lifting each foot until we
are just about in and then he decides to go back – very
would love to go places, enter competitions etc etc – our
biggest worry was getting him there and not being able
to get him back. Now that’s not too bad – we
once went to a dressage competition and he wouldn’t
get back on board, so she rode him back but that was only
10 miles away. What if it had been 50 miles away!!!
we heard Monty Roberts was giving a demonstration at
Hartpury College on 26th
February – I wrote pleading
with them to help. They took all details and said they
couldn’t promise anything but would let us know 10
days before whether he would be put forward.
to their word – 10 days before they contacted
us and asked if he would come for an “INTERVIEW” on
the afternoon prior to that evenings’ performance.
We were excited and nervous – could they offer us
were nine horses forward for interview – two
bad loaders and the rest had various problems and a couple
were for breaking.
Roberts and Kelly Marks were both deciding which horses
would go forward. They
never laid hands on the horses
but watched each horse as it was given a short spin in
the round pen with one of their helpers. Each owner was
asked questions – we had to be as open as possible
and tell the whole truth.
was accepted as one of the horses going forward with
a loading problem. The
other horse also was accepted with
a loading problem – although his owners were having
great difficulty getting him to the College – at
least ours lived there.
The indoor school was packed; all seats were sold out
prior to the performance. It was a freezing night; people
were wrapped up in sleeping bags and blankets etc. All
these people had come from miles to see this amazing man.
Roberts has a wonderful affinity with horses – we
could all learn from his way of understanding them. We
saw young, big, stroppy horses accept saddle and rider.
A huge dressage horse, that was afraid of its own shadow – accept
plastic bags being rubbed over it and walking over a blue
plastic tarpaulin. Even a young “Arab” stallion – whose
main intention in life was being a stroppy delinquent looking
for a harem!! Within 20 mins he was calm, obedient and
had a rider on his back.
last two of the evening were the “difficult
loaders”. The first horse, who had taken all day
to get to the College. I really felt for his owner. After
Kelly Marks did “join up” with him and made
him accept moving backwards and forwards – he walked
straight on the truck – his owner was in tears, she
was just so elated. This horse went backwards and forwards
on and off the truck – it must have been ten times – he
never once faltered or refused.
it was A.C.’s turn – this horse towered
over Monty Roberts. When he was let loose in the pen for
join up – A.C. thought it was great to have freedom
and bucked and zipped round the pen. He went through all
the stages of join up – smaller circle, head lowered
to the floor, mouthing and licking with his tongue – eventually
following like a lamb!!!
Monty says we have to school our horses to respect us.
They should walk with their nose near your shoulder,
not knocking you over. They should stop when you stop
up when you ask them to back up.
VIDEO CLIP 1
explained that you should use the Dually halter to school
your horse. When he comes
into your space – without
permission – the halter tightens and you should back
him up. When you back your horse up, he learns how those
couple of steps will get him a rub on his forehead; he’ll
soon learn that backing up isn’t a bad thing. The
most important procedure in loading a horse on a truck
is backing up.
felt that A.C.s main problem was “manners” because
he is such a big, powerful horse – if he wants to
walk past you, he will. If he wants to push you in the
back he will. After a few minutes “schooling with
the halter” AC accepted it and began to listen to
Monty and walked at his shoulder towards the truck.
The commentary that followed from Monty was hilarious;
thankfully we captured it all on video
VIDEO CLIP 2 VIEW
VIDEO CLIP 3
Mr Roberts, that’s a truck and I don’t
Nope, it’s not alright”
“ What you doing now?”
I’m backing you up”
Nobody’s ever taken me towards a truck and backed
me up before.”
Well, you’ve had it happen now”
“ Why you backing me up? Every mother knows what this is
AC come over here, come up here by this truck – I
don’t want you to go on this truck. I want you to
Mr Roberts, I’m tired of backing up, please let me
go on the truck.”
“ Nope, I want you to back up.”
“ No please let me go on the truck.”
“ OK come on the truck, come on the truck.”
Oh no, I’m not going on the truck and now I back
up and I might even rear.”
But I don’t put my hind feet on the ramp, nope I
don’t do it, I stop right there”
“ What is this thing I have on my head?”
“ A Dually halter “
I don’t like it. It says I have to come forward or
else it gets smaller.”
Yep, that’s what it says.”
Well I don’t like it”
this point they pulled part of the round pen across the
back of the truck – like
VIDEO CLIP 4 VIEW
VIDEO CLIP 5
are they doing Mr Roberts?”
They’re closing the back door”
“ How come”
“ Cos I want you to put your hind feet on the ramp.”
I don’t want to”
“ Well back up”
No, I can’t back up, there’s a fence behind
“ Well think it over”
I’ve thought it over”
I’m coming on the truck”
took approximately 5mins.
Monty explained that we can use repetition as our friend
and just keep repeating the process.
we have a horse that’s difficult to load, once
you get them in there, you close the ramp and go somewhere.
We are guilty of this – we have been so grateful
of getting AC on board that we get the ramp up immediately
VIDEO CLIP 6
Monty says this is the worst thing we can do, closing
the ramp and going somewhere
because all that does is allow
the horse an opportunity to rethink it the next time and
refuse to go in the next time you try it. He suggests we
use repetition, let the halter take charge, until he’s
happy with going in and out and in and out.
went in and out of the truck endless times – he
never faltered. In Monty’s words: “
He’s like a Sherman tank coming in”
VIDEO CLIP 7 VIEW
VIDEO CLIP 8
said eventually we’d be able to sit at the breakfast
table, open the window and shout “A.C. get in the
truck were going somewhere today and AC would trot up
into the truck!!!!”
VIDEO CLIP 9 VIEW
VIDEO CLIP 10
Kate took hold of AC and led him into the truck, Monty
told her not to
look back at AC but just to walk
straight on the truck – the joy on her face was a
dream to behold – she gave Monty a great big hug!!
VIDEO CLIP 11 VIEW
VIDEO CLIP 12
know a lot of different things have been said about Monty
Roberts and his methods
but I for one found him a
genuine, caring person whose love of horses shines through.
This man says there is no need for abuse and whips to beat
these animals into submission – get into their minds
and see how they react with each other, then you will understand
how to teach them the right ways.
The evening has proved to us that AC is not afraid of
the truck, he is able to go in, and he just needs the confidence
to keep doing it. We also need the confidence to keep him
doing it. We have arranged to have an associate horse listener/whisperer
come and give us and AC more lessons.
aware there are people who say they are “natural
horsemen” or “whisperers” etc but they
are not – so check them out fully before placing
your horse in their hands.