Trust. The word came up often that evening. With monty roberts, one of the world’s most famous horse experts has come to the schlusselfeld district of hohn am berg. About 500 people did not want to miss the appearance of the now 83-year old.
Lena hegler and her father stefan traveled from schwarzenau. Already one and a half hours before the start of the show they looked around in the "king stables", watched the preparations. "It was all very exciting," says lena a few hours later. Of course, they had already heard about monty roberts and his philosophy beforehand. "But to see it all for yourself, that was impressive," confirms her father. The heglers have three horses at home on their farm. Lena grew up with the animals. One thing is clear to father and daughter from all these years: a calm and clear approach helps. "You just need a good feeling," says stefan hegler.
Four horses, one approach to a solution
Monty roberts has internalized all this. No wonder: at the age of three, he sat on the back of a horse for the first time, later he intensively observed the behavior of wild horses and derived his lessons from it. Four horses are presented to him in hohn am berg. The owners all have their very own concerns with the animals. One has never tolerated a rider on it, another bucks, the third is extremely skittish and the fourth just won’t get into a hanger.
Monty roberts and his helpers always follow the same method. First they "read" the horse, want to gain its trust. It only takes a few minutes, then each horse shows its typical body language, tips its ear, chews and licks, and finally lowers its head. Now monty roberts can work with the horses – without pressure, never with violence. "Horses always want to be in a safe place," he says. "It is up to us to show you this place."
He also succeeds in winning the trust of the horses in hohn am berg. His assistant rides the three-year-old stallion, who has never tolerated a rider before. "Seppi", the buckler, also accepts a rider after a period of habituation and sophie willingly walks into the hanger with monty roberts after a few minutes. "We have to show the horses that they don’t have to be afraid," he explains. "We must win their trust and never abuse it."
The 83-year-old has worked with around 70,000 horses during his career, and with more than 12,000 in front of audiences. Not everywhere it meets with undivided love. Roberts did not invent the "join up" method, but merely marketed it professionally, according to trade journals. And: on some horses he exerts a psychological pressure. In hohn am berg all this does not come up of course. Monty roberts markets himself and his performances professionally, captivating his fans.
Help for ex-soldiers
Over the decades, working with people has become more important to him, he says. He has been working with former soldiers since 1953. "Horse sense and healing" is the name of the program. Horse sense and healing. "In the army, soldiers have to think like machines," recalls the man who lives in california and is currently touring germany. "The trust is trained out of them."
When they are discharged after decades of service, they suddenly have to find their way in a world where trust plays a fundamental role. "The head can’t keep up with this change at all," explains monty robert. Working with the horses, the veterans learn to trust again. Volker weigand has experienced this phenomenon first hand in the last few days. He spent 26 years as a soldier in the german army in various countries, including afghanistan. Weigand reported a stress syndrome.
In hohn am berg, he climbed into the fenced-off area himself, did the so-called "join up" with a horse in front of an audience. Afterwards, he briefly answered questions from the moderator. "I find peace myself," he explains, close to tears. "To feel the trust of the horses is simply amazing."