The Monty Roberts Mustang and Transition Horse Program at Flag Is Up Farms is in its sixth month of successfully training and placing horses in new homes and new careers. The training center is more active than ever, given that Monty Roberts, the world renowned horse trainer is home, masterfully coaching horses and riders alike to improve their skills in a beautiful partnership.
In an unusual year when international travel is a challenge, Monty has focused on producing happy horses and skilled trainers right from home. Since 1966 Flag Is Up Farms has always been free to visit and enjoy, with visitors from all over the world coming to observe the Join-Up training methods and take a self-guided tour of the grounds.
When Roberts partnered with The Right Horse Initiative three years ago, they began a vision to improve the training element of the horses in transition to their next homes. Many adoption partners sought help with this barrier to adoption; horses are more easily adopted out if they have some re-training. The program is being run by the Monty Roberts International Learning Center at Flag Is Up Farms, in partnership with The Right Horse Initiative https://therighthorse.org/ – a program of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
The Monty Roberts Transition Horse Internship Program has successfully put three interns (new to Monty’s concepts) through the basics of the methods. The Interns learn how the concepts apply to working with horses in transition. The interns assist Monty and resident instructor Simon D’Unienville with ground-based training of the MRTHP horses to gain hands-on experience, join in the learning (for free) when there are classes, and receive one-on-one training time too. Flag Is Up Farms is located two hours north of Los Angeles in Santa Barbara county.
Roberts provides free on-site accommodation (private bedroom, shared bathroom and living areas) plus a $150 weekly food stipend. Internships can range from 3 to 6 weeks, depending on how much time applicants have available. They have county approved COVID protocols and are keeping the courses outdoors. There are a limited number of students in order to keep everyone safe.
The MRILC school courses are the ideal setting to learn Monty’s core methods and how they can be used in everyday situations with horses in transition. Roberts extends the invitation to all The Right Horse Adoption Partner trainers and volunteers (that work regularly with their horses) to apply for the MRTHP internship program.
Space is available for two interns at a time. Recently Monty has been interviewing and training riders for his 60-day pilot for the Monty Roberts’ Mustang & Transition Horse Program (MRTHP) that kicked off on October 12 by going live on Horse & Country TV online. Monty worked with nine horses he had never met before. Some received their first saddle and rider, some were there to gain more training to settle and politely come to the mounting block.
In the words of The Right Horse, “Each year, hundreds of thousands of good horses find themselves in transition of career or ownership. And each year, a growing number of these horses end up at risk of inhumane treatment. It’s time for all of us to come together and play a role in changing their story and fate.”
Research by the ASPCA indicates there are over 1.2 million homes that have both the perceived resources and desire to house an unwanted horse. This number greatly exceeds the approximately 200,000 unwanted horses living each year in the United States.
However, a lack of high-quality training for remedial issues and wild/feral horses is one of the most consistent, ongoing needs for horses in transition. A well-trained, safe and pleasant horse has a much higher adoption rate, lower length of stay in a shelter and a higher likelihood of staying safe for life.
And this is where the MRTHP comes in. By utilizing Monty Roberts’ world-renowned gentle and effective training techniques, including Join-Up and his patented humane gentling pen, Monty and his team at the MRILC will gentle and start unbacked horses, work through remedial issues with others, and re-gain the trust and desensitize all of these horses to a variety of objects and stimuli – to make them safe and willing partners for their future owners.
For almost 25 years the MRILC has been dedicated to promoting and teaching gentle, effective alternatives to violence and force during the starting and training of horses. And students visiting the MRILC will have an opportunity to work with the horses in the MRTHP program, learning the Monty Roberts methodology and how to practically apply it to working with horses.
Courses range from complete novice (including those with no prior horsemanship experience) to beginner and intermediate horse owners, all the way to advanced level (to qualify as an industry professional).
With the recent addition of the modular option for the introductory course of horsemanship, students are now able to work towards certification in the Monty Roberts methods by taking four x 3-day modular courses: 1) First Steps to Monty’s Methods, 2) Join-Up: Building A Trust-Based Partnership, 3) Long Lining – The Benefits, Form and Fun, and 4) Preparation for The Introductory Exams over length of time that suits their schedule and budget.
To learn more about upcoming courses, visit the MRILC calendar page or contact them at +1 805-325-8414.
About Monty Roberts
Monty Roberts first gained widespread fame with the release of his New York Times Best Selling book, The Man Who Listens To Horses; a chronicle of his life and development of his non-violent horse training methods called Join-Up®. Monty grew up on a working horse farm as a firsthand witness to traditional, often violent methods of horse training and breaking the spirit with an abusive hand. Rejecting that, he went on to win nine world’s championships in the show ring. Today, Monty’s goal is to share his message that “Violence is never the answer.” Roberts has been encouraged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the award of the Membership in The Royal Victorian Order, as well as becoming Patron of Join-Up International. Other honors received were the ASPCA “Founders” award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award and FEI’s Man of the Year. Monty was recently included as Horse and Hound Magazine’s Top 50 Horsemen of All Time. Monty is credited with launching the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is the definitive learning tool for violence-free training.