April 22, 2020 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: Where were you when I needed you?

I am 78 years old and worked with horses in the 1950s and 60s. I hated the methods of training. I decided to look at YouTube and see what is going on today and found everyone is using a creation of your method. I bow before you and say “where were you when I needed you?” You changed a whole industry. It is exciting to watch you work. I love horses too.

Monty’s Answer:

In my first book, The Man Who Listens to Horses, I tried very hard to tell you where I was in the 1950s and 60s and I believe I did a pretty good job of describing it. I won my first world championship in 1950, my second in 1956, my third in 1957. In the 10 years following 1957, I won eight more world championships with the last coming in 1966. So that is where I was when you were wondering why so much violence was used on horses.

At that time, I was trying to suggest to my father and other competitors that violence wasn’t the answer. I was criticized and considered weak. Later I was thrown out of the Hall of Fame along with my best horse, Johnny Tivio. It happens that my ejection from the Hall of Fame came in 1997 right after my first book was launched.

It was not possible for most of the horsemen of my era to accept the statements I made in that book about those who resorted to what I considered criminal violence. That is where I was, George, and it has taken me all of these 84 years to finally watch the world come to its senses about the fallacy of violence towards these flight animals. As I travel the world at the behest of Queen Elizabeth II, I fully realize there is a lot more work to be done. But many observers have indicated that we are well past 20 percent in our journey.

Most of my college generation would indicate that more than 20 percent is considered critical mass which means it will simply take time but the entire change is inevitable. Whips in racing leads the parade right now of regulations against violence towards horses. One might say 6,000 years leaves us with no pride about getting it changed. Whatever took us this long, when you think about it.


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