Local News

Hollywood Horse Whisperer Shares Secrets Of Success

Posted March 27, 2003 8:58 a.m. EST

— Robert Redford made the concept famous, but many people still do not understand what a horse whisperer does. Horse whisperers are actually listeners. One expert said there is no secret language or gestures, just a simple understanding between man and animal.

Monty Roberts is best known as the horse whisperer. His book, "The Man Who Talks With Horses," has sold 16 million copies. He calls his horse-training method "join up."

"The join up is referenced to a moment -- a moment when, through communication, you cause the horse to want to be with you rather than be away from you," Roberts said.

Roberts said he learned this unspoken language of horses by watching wild mustangs.

"The key premise to everything that I do is to take violence out of the routine and to cause the horse to want to," he said.

Roberts was in Franklin County to work with Dizzy, a flighty, nervous horse. The horse gaves him small gestures -- an ear movement, a chewing gesture, the drop of its head. In just a few minutes, Dizzy was doing everything Roberts predicted.

"I take my eye away and draw her to me, shoulders on the 45 and there is your moment of join up," he said.

Roberts will demonstrate his "join up" Thursday evening at the Hunt Horse Arena at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The show starts at 7 p.m.