Tag Archives: Man Who Listens to Horses

Monty Roberts Dupes News Media and Publishers

Special to USA Views

Nov. 6, 1999
There’s a horse trainer named Monty Roberts who seemingly took the United States by storm a couple of years ago. He’s a best-selling author of his book “The Man Who Listens to Horses”, the tale of his tortured childhood, his prowess with horses, his recognition by the Queen of England. Great story telling.

After the book was published by Random House, it was everywhere and so was Monty Roberts, on television, on radio, crying his tales of childhood abuses at the hands of his father, giving fancy training demonstrations called “Join-Up” using the “language of Equus”, along with other long-known methods that only he, it seems, could promote in his uniquely charismatic manner. He became the latest cult figure to the masses of horse people around the world. His book is translated in a slew of languages and he still makes jaunts to the Queen’s hangout. Monty Roberts became in many people’s eyes the savior of all horses from various abuses and misguided training methods. He made it sound as if no other trainer on the face of the earth ever promoted good will and common sense to equines.

Then from the bowels of his past, came family members with their own tales of Monty’s childhood. These tales weren’t so dramatic: no abuse at the hands of his father, no complicity by a lax mother, no great film career or friendship with James Dean. Little by little they whittled down Monty’s great manhood to a series of lies, deceits and abuses, not to him, but by him.

But where was the news media? Why didn’t Random House or another large entity publish “Horse Whispers & Lies”, the book that counters Monty Roberts’ own? Where were the television cameras, the top reporters from NBC’s “Dateline”? Where was the Los Angeles Times? Only “Horse & Rider” magazine and TIME had the gumption to publish an article unfavorable to him – although it must be said that TIME’s article was a mere shadow of revelations to come. Why was no one interviewing the scores of people who spoke against Monty Roberts?

Monty Roberts’ public relations person did an amazingly good job getting him to be seen and heard around the world. The truth, however, had no public relations person, so the media just ignored the controversy that’s been brewing for well over a year. The media has ignored the three major lawsuits surrounding Monty Roberts. And, since one of the lawsuits against him has been settled out of court, and another on its way to the same conclusion, it only ensures that the public will never know the extent of the evidence against him. One other lawsuit that this author knows of remains outstanding until March of next year. I will not place any bets on the winner but will only say that Monty Roberts is rich and the plaintiffs are poor. Who do you think has more funds to hire top notch, albeit sleazy lawyers who will do everything in their power to protect Monty Roberts’ bad name?

Where are the news honchos protecting the public’s right to know? They’re still kneeling at the altar of the man who only thinks he listens to horses.  For more literary scams about author fraud visit AllForums.com

USAViews Report:Monty Roberts Sued
USAViews Report: Monty Roberts Just Can’t Tell the Truth
USAViews Report: Anti-Monty Roberts Book Review
Citizens for Justice Report: Monty Roberts Fraud Reports
Monty’s Fraud Author Listing at FameandGlory.com

Monty Roberts: Celebrity Horse Trainer Sued

By John Dolan
Special to USA Views

Monty Roberts, the celebrity horse trainer and best-selling author of the book “The Man Who Listens to Horses”, is being sued by two separate parties for fraud, animal abuse and bad business practices.

Those not familiar with the California-bred trainer should know that he has gained fame and fortune from his worldwide demonstrations in which he takes an allegedly unbroken horse and gentles it to bridle, saddle and rider in a mere 30 minutes. He says he has trained horses for the Queen of England and he has quite a following in Europe where people there are unaware or simply don’t care to know about the controversy that is brewing about this man here in the United States.

In addition to the lawsuits, the 63 year old Roberts has been facing more charges in the press by some in his own family. Aunt Joyce Renebome and her daughter Debbie Ristau have penned a book called “Horse Whispers and Lies” that is soon to be published in which they counter many of the stories in Mr. Roberts own book as being downright false. “Horse Whispers and Lies” was written with the blessing of Mr. Roberts’ own brother, Larry. Each of them say Monty Roberts has embellished and lied repeatedly in his autobiography in which he wrote of abuses by his father Marvin and told tales of his own prowess and achievements both in and out of the saddle.

Monty Roberts is being sued for threats, animal abuse and fraudulent business practices by the owners of Big Red Fox, a saddle horse that Mr. Roberts used in his capture of a mustang described in his book and shown in a British Broadcasting Co. video. The saddle horse suffered a broken leg as well as numerous other health problems while being in Roberts’ care during the filming. The second lawsuit involves a mustang that was left for training at Mr. Roberts farm (Flag is Up Farms) in Solvang, California for nearly six months that was in fact never trained and subsequently trampled its owner nearly to death. Roberts and his staff lied to the owners, saying they had trained the horse, but after the incident, they admitted that they had not trained the horse because as Monty himself stated “mustangs can’t be trained”.

Now, as opposing information about Monty Roberts, his life and business practices comes to light, Monty Roberts has taken to defending himself full-time. And, of course, he would, his very life – or at least his financial good health, depends upon it.

Monty Roberts has filed a ten million dollar lawsuit against “Horse & Rider” Magazine which printed a very interesting article about him in February 1999. Consequently, his website is now filled with 50 or more pages, defending himself against that article as well as accusations against him with regard to the film “The Horse Whisperer”. He had fashioned himself into the role model for the Tom Booker character and as a consultant for the book and film while all involved deny that Roberts had anything to do with either project. Roberts, meanwhile, has painted relatives: aunt, brother, cousin as vicious loonies out to discredit him.

It is interesting to note that Mr. Roberts’ defense comes at a time when his relatives’ book is about to be published. It is his way of quashing the competition as well as keeping his God-like image rust free. It is even more interesting to note that his web article on mustangs comes at a time when Monty is being sued by the owners of a mustang. Suddenly, Monty has a whole new perspective on the issue of mustangs – a very long one at that.

Monty Roberts has worked with horses, touted that they should be treated well and respected, has alerted other people to his good deeds all around. All well and good. What Monty fails to understand is that while everyone believes his message is an admirable one, it is the callousness with which he operates toward others, the hubris, the threats to bring people down that has turned people against him. All the people now opposed to Mr. Roberts were once his biggest supporters and fans. They did not do a sudden turn-around just for the hell of it. They did it because Mr. Roberts’ message took a dark turn itself. He abused their trust for the sake of his own glory. And that is where the biggest shame is.

A psychologist from Chicago named Jonathan Radcliffe has pinpointed Monty’s hold on people. It is a cult effect, he says, and Monty is the leader. “There are those people who need and want a father or God-like figure in their lives to lead them to the promised land. Monty’s story, as outlined in his book, depicts him as just such a person. His message is clear and worthy; his rhetoric is smooth, his look fresh and spirited. Lead on, Monty, and we shall follow.” But, Radcliffe continues, “Monty has betrayed certain people in his faction and now he must fight them tooth and nail otherwise they might turn the others against him and tumble the empire. So Monty has fashioned a furious campaign to destroy them first. It’s very Biblical in nature. We see it all the time.” Unfortunately, in our society, Radcliffe says, “might really is right rather than the other way around, and Monty will always have his supporters because people are often too eager to look the other way when their heroes are found to be unworthy of the pedestal that they’ve put them on. Besides, Monty, with all his money can turn his opposition into mincemeat and he knows it. That’s where the 10-million dollar lawsuit against that magazine and young lady author comes into play.”

Mr. Roberts fails to realize that the ends do not justify the means. And that’s why some people will always be against him and he will spend the rest of his life having to defending himself. (original post approx 1999)

Citizens For Justice: More Monty Roberts, Horse Trainer, Fraud Reports

Truth or Fiction: Does Anyone Know The Difference Anymore?

It has to be related to television and the movies and even computer and video games. All that ‘virtual reality’ has people not knowing the difference between fact and fiction. Each new generation becomes further removed from the realities of life in general. Television shows and films take great license in portraying true events. What that really means is that a mere kernel, the gist of an idea or story, was based on a true event. Anything after that is complete fiction. But, people take it as a true story, nonetheless.

Apparently the same thing is happening in the book world too. Someone wants to write an autobiography, but guess what? The facts just aren’t that interesting, after all. And publishers want extraordinarily interesting personal stories that will sell well.

Monty Roberts, the so-called ‘horse whisperer’ who wrote what became a national best-seller called “The Man Who Listens to Horses” sits accused of writing reams and reams of fiction and passing it off as truth. Read another book, “Horse Whispers and Lies” by Debra Ann Ristau and Joyce Renebome, and you’ll get a whiff of the kinds and numbers of untruths that graced Mr. Roberts’ book. They are mammoth in nature.

In trying to cover his tracks, Mr. Roberts has alternately stuck by his stories, or changed certain names and events to jive with disputed facts. Some facts, for example, facts differ between his book published in America and the one published overseas. The disputed details surfacing in “Horse Whispers and Lies”, however, are so numerous that one must believe that the only thing true about Monty Roberts’ writings about himself are that he was born, he rode and trained horses, he had some dealings with the Queen of England and that he is now lucky enough to own a very lush horse estate/training facility.

Some people in the horse world who have become so enamored of Mr. Roberts have stated that they don’t care if everything he wrote was false, because his message about the humane treatment of horses is so valuable. This is a dangerously narrow-minded view that is detrimental to intelligent readers everywhere because it devalues the meaning of the word ‘nonfiction’ as noninvented or nonimagined subject matter.

It also sends the wrong message to children who might grow up and become writers themselves someday. It says that, in effect, lying is okay; facts and fiction are interchangeable, and absolutely everything must be overly dramatized to sell.

Jonathan Karp, a Random House editor said: “I think that nonfiction writers are doing it more and more. I was meeting a writer the other day and the writer said, ‘Hey, I invented some dialogue, is that all right?’ I said absolutely not. And the writer said ‘I really want it to be vivid, and I know these two people met. What’s the harm?’

It’s immoral, that’s the harm!

People like Monty Roberts, however, apparently don’t get it when it comes to ethics in writing. What they do get are large advances from publishing houses for authors willing to call their works ‘memoirs’ rather than fiction and heavy publicity, particularly in the form of highly coveted television interviews, which are far easier to procure when ‘true story’ is written across the cover. (originally posted in 1999) — For more literary scams and fraudulent authors reports and  warnings about author fraud visit AllForums.com

More Monty Roberts Horse Trainer Fraud Reports

Anti-Monty Roberts Book Review-“Horse Whispers & Lies”

“Horse Whispers & Lies” answers the question it has emblazoned across its cover – Did Monty Roberts Trade Truth for Glory? – with a resounding ‘Yes’!

It details Monty Roberts’ life and times in his early years, the years in which he says he was viciously abused by his father, a man he describes as a racist and a murderer as well as an abuser of horses. The new book, written by Debra Ann Ristau and Joyce Renebome, Monty Roberts’ cousin and aunt respectively, successfully counters, point by point, tales told by Monty Roberts himself in his own best-seller “The Man Who Listens To Horses”.

“Horse Whispers and Lies” is remarkable for the wealth of historical research and interviews with people who knew and loved the Roberts during Monty’s childhood. If you can believe what each and every person quoted in the book states, then Monty Roberts’ parents were truly larger than life. They appear as extraordinary role models for all their horse riding students, friends and associates. They taught their students self-esteem and moral values that these children carried into adulthood and then passed on to their own children. Monty Roberts’ parents were so revered, in fact, that the Red Pony Stall Exhibit at the John Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California has been recently dedicated in their honor.

So the question comes, how is it that Monty Roberts is the only person not to have been so positively affected by Marvin and Marguerite Roberts? It is indeed an interesting question and I’m not sure that Monty’s own brother, Larry, who is heavily quoted in the book even knows the answer.

Although Larry did not contribute in the writing of the book, he may as well have, because his quotes are some of the most powerful in their indictment of Monty’s tall tales and forgotten memories. It is Larry who sets the record straight on important points from Monty’s imaginary trip to Nevada where Monty says he learned the behavior of wild mustangs, to an imaginary boxcar that hauled Monty and his best horses to shows around the country to imaginary parental abuses, to the imaginary abuse of horses by his father to myriad other issues.

The authors even cast doubt on Monty’s story of how he came to own his state-of-the-art training facility Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang, California. What is especially remarkable, though, is reading the words of Marvin E. Roberts in his 1957 book “Horse and Horseman Training” and seeing how Monty’s own training techniques merely parrot what his father had previously established: fair and safe methods using line work in a round pen for starters. Perhaps Monty Roberts thought no one would ever drag out a old copy of his father’s book to compare notes.

Monty Roberts is painted as a spoiled child who was never happy enough with all the sacrifices his parents made for him. He is painted as a temperamental and greedy soul whose own actions caused death to one of his own horses and an injury to another¹s’ horse. And lastly he is painted as a man with an enormously unnatural ego. There is a passage at the end of the book, a letter to Monty from another cousin of his named Cheri, it does answer the question of “Why” Monty Roberts would choose lies over truth, it is because his parents were larger than life, people whose talents Monty knew he could never exceed. And yet he so much wanted to do to just that. So he tore them down to build himself up to be larger than life as well.

But as much as the book is an indictment of Monty Roberts, it is also a glorification of two remarkable people, Marvin and Marguerite Roberts, his parents, and a mini-history of Salinas, California in the forties and fifties during which time his parents ran a horseback riding school on the rodeo grounds there. The parents’ history itself spans fifty years, however, and the book is chock full of interesting first hand accounts by relatives, friends, students and business associates.

I have heard charges by Monty Roberts’ supporters that the authors of “Horse Whispers and Lies” are ‘greedy’ or that they are trying to ‘cash in on Monty Roberts’ fame and want to make a killing by selling their book.’ But, isn’t that precisely what Monty Roberts himself has done in defaming his parents and exaggerating or simply making up stories in order to sell his own ‘non-fiction’ book (not to mention videos, caps, tee-shirts, posters, live demonstrations, etc.)? There are some people who insist that the ends always justifies the means. Others cannot fathom such a corruption of truth and honesty. Monty Roberts has claimed that his ends – the humane treatment of horses – is all that really matters. Whatever happened to: “Honor thy mother and thy father” and “Thou shalt not lie”? Exaggeration, lying, omissions and defamation: what an extraordinary means to an end! And money, while being a formidable motivator to many, is not the sole motivator to all.

I previously read “The Man Who Listens To Horses” and found it an interesting, even, exciting at times treatise but it is clearly a fiction as is the man himself. So, for all those people who read and loved “The Man Who Listens To Horses”, I urge them to read “Horse Whispers and Lies”. Because, as Ristau and Renebome so eloquently put it, ‘truth matters’.

USAViews Report:Monty Roberts Sued
USAViews Report: Monty Roberts Just Can’t Tell the Truth
USAViews Report: Monty Roberts Dupes the Press
More Monty Roberts Horse Trainer Fraud Reports

View other author fraud reports and literary scam warnings at AllForums.com