“Equine visionaries see beyond the present to a better future for horses and the people who share their world,” according to the committee of the American Horse Publications tasked with naming the “individuals and organizations that exemplify outstanding visionary achievement or sustained contributions that have profoundly impacted the equine industry.”
Horse Sense & Healing has provided Veterans, and their families, with tools to overcome past emotional injuries, learn to trust, communicate emotions, and build resiliency to better cope after deployment.
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Monty Roberts is an internationally respected horse trainer and founder of Join-Up International. Roberts is committed to improving the traditional ways of treating animals and the people around horses. For over 80 years, he has advocated for and demonstrated the many qualities of our equine partners and athletes.
Horse Sense & Healing weekends are the equine-assisted retreats for Veterans with post-traumatic stress injury. As Monty says, “A disorder is something you have for life, you never heal from it.” He prefers the term PTSi because those suffering from post-traumatic stress can heal from their service injuries.
For over a decade Horse Sense & Healing has provided participating Veterans, and their families, with tools to overcome past emotional injuries and learn to trust, communicate emotions, and build resiliency to better cope after deployment.
Monty Roberts 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 championships in the show ring.
Today, Monty’s goal is to share his message that “violence is never the answer”.
While tracking wild mustangs in Nevada as a boy, Monty observed a nonverbal communication system between the horses, a silent language he would later call Equus. Monty incorporates Equus into his nonviolent training approach called Join-Up®.
The result of Join-Up is a willing partnership in which the horse’s performance can flourish to its full potential, rather than exist within the boundaries of obedience. Join-Up is incredibly effective at helping people rediscover themselves through the eyes of the horse, enabling them to deal more effectively with PTSI, emotional trauma, anti-social behavior and withdrawal, anger, depression, hypervigilance, and other behavioral wellness issues.
50 – 60 VETERANS POSITIVELY IMPACTED EACH YEAR
With six Horse Sense & Healing retreats each year, the program impacts 50 to 60 Veterans and their loved ones annually, having helped over 550 in the 12-year history. In May 2020, results from the first Horse Sense & Healing science trial were presented at the (American) Association for Psychological Science conference.
The study found that the Horse Sense & Healing program showed more effectiveness in reducing PTSD symptoms 85 days post-retreat than pharmacological interventions (when measured with the same quality of life scores).
Participant focus is key. There’s something magical about, not just be able to spend time with horses, but it’s the volunteer, the leaders, the people and especially the place.” – Participant, March 2020
HORSE SENSE & HEALING II
In August 2021, we piloted the first Horse Sense & Healing II retreat for returning participants that focuses on post-traumatic growth – how those living with post-traumatic stress can use their experiences to build a stronger foundation and thrive in various aspects of their daily lives.
The program provides participants with further tools needed to reduce their symptoms, improve their quality of life, and re-build their relationships through the combination of the healing power of inter-species communication with horses, and the effective application of Motivational Interviewing (a client-centered counseling approach that mirrors the Join-Up philosophy) to provide participants insight into their life choices, habits, patterns, and other behaviors.
Fired-Up is a two-day equine-assisted retreat for active-duty fire service personnel, both structural and wildland. The program aims to provide participants with tools to overcome the daily stress and trauma associated with operating in a high-risk environment.
Through the experience of Monty Roberts’ ground-breaking Join-Up techniques, and other ground-based horsemanship activities, participants learn trust-building, and develop tools for overcoming trauma, improving relationships, better self-regulation and emotional intelligence, improved self-worth, and a willingness to open up and ask for help.
Partner-Up is a two-day equine-assisted retreat for active-duty law enforcement officers. The program aims to provide participants with tools to overcome the challenges they face working in law enforcement, through the experience of Monty Roberts’ ground-breaking Join-Up techniques and other ground-based horsemanship activities.
Learning outcomes from the two-day retreat include trust-building, overcoming trauma, improving relationships, better self-regulation and emotional intelligence, improved self-worth, and a willingness to open up and ask for help.
“After learning how to perform a ‘Join Up’ I realized, this was what was missing in my relationship with my wife. You’ve taught me how to invite her in and provided me with a visual representation of how this works and that it can work. from FIRED-UP participant, JULY 2022
CONTACT THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ON 805-325-8414 OR PROGRAMS@JOIN-UP.ORG FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.
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.
JOIN-UP philosophies can be seen at work with both humans and horses across the world, from farms to major corporations. To learn more about Monty Roberts or the many applications of his Join-Up training methods, visit www.montyroberts.com. Horse Sense and Soldiers aired on Discovery Military in 2010 highlighting the therapeutic effect horses and Monty Roberts’ Join-Up® have on PTSD. Soon after Monty and his team developed the Horse Sense & Healing program for veterans and first responders. Lead-Up International was officially launched worldwide at the Monty Roberts International Learning Center in Solvang, California, in February 2017. The purpose of Lead-Up International is to reduce violence in the community by creating peaceful leaders from vulnerable youth utilizing equine-assisted therapy and non-verbal communication, building trust-based relationships.
Press release by Debbie Loucks