“I don’t want my students to be as good as me, I want them to be better than I am,” says Monty Roberts.
“I have dedicated my life to the study of horses and their interactions with humans, and after more than 80 years of working with horses I’m still learning! I often say to my students ‘My way is the only way for me today, but if you show me a better way, that will be my way tomorrow.’ My techniques have morphed in such a way so as to improve right up to this very day. And I encourage my students to do the same.”
For over 20 years Monty Roberts and his team of Certified Instructors have been working to spread his non-violent horsemanship techniques through his International Learning Center in California and his instructors’ programs in many countries around the world.
“Our instructor base keeps growing and now includes Certified Instructors on all 6 populated continents, with [Monty Roberts] courses in over 30 countries,” said Debbie Loucks, Roberts’ daughter and Legacy Manager. “Our instructors are doing some amazing work all over the world, for horses, and people too.”
“Three of my instructors have recently been highlighted for their extraordinary efforts and innovation in using my concepts to positively affect the lives of groups of individuals through the healing power of horses,” said Roberts.
“We are at a pivotal point where, I believe, the world is ready to accept and embrace the value of therapeutic initiatives with horses, and these young mentors are setting a platform for further expansion of my concepts into the next decade.”
The three Certified Instructors named by Roberts as pioneers in the equine therapy field are Denise Heinlein of Germany, Miguel Lupiano of Brazil and Simon Marrier d’Unienville of South Africa.
In her time as Head Instructor at Flag Is Up Farms, Denise Heinlein has taught and mentored more than 25 of the current instructors, several of whom have gone on to be pioneers in the horse training and equine therapy fields.
Denise was instrumental in the creation of the Gentling Wild Horses program at Flag Is Up Farms and continues to work tirelessly to bring many mustangs and rescue horses through the program each year, giving them a new chance in life.
Denise was at Flag Is Up Farms for the ‘Horse Sense & Soldiers’ Discovery documentary and development of the Horse Sense & Healing program. Over the past six years she has played a pivotal role in the continuation and growth of it and other programs, impacting countless lives through her compassion and commitment to the Monty Roberts methodology.
In 2018, inspired by the change she’d witnessed in so many veterans and wanting to do more, Denise began planning to take Horse Sense & Healing to Germany, and in April 2019 she and her team held the first clinic there.
“Denise Heinlein has been instrumental in the growth of Join-Up International’s programs and an inspiring mentor to so many of my young instructors. Her solicitude, diligence and perseverance with both horses and people continue to impress me. She is an exemplary student of my work and a role model for the future generations,” said Roberts.
As the first Monty Roberts instructor in South America, Miguel Lupiano has worked exceptionally hard to remove violence from the training programs of people he works with in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Columbia.
In 2013 Miguel assisted in his first Horse Sense & Healing workshop and instantly knew it was the kind of program needed in Brazil. And on his return from the US he started work on his non-profit program Galope da Esperança (Gallop of Hope).
Over the past six years Miguel has worked, entirely self-funded, with at-risk children and teens from government shelters and private NGOs. And now, with the help of the Military Police Cavalry in Brasília, runs the program with both vulnerable youth and police officers at their barracks.
Miguel says, “The idea of the program is not to make these people who have suffered trauma forget these traumas, but to learn from them, to overcome them and thus not to let other people suffer the same kinds of trauma. The first sign of recovery from those who have suffered trauma and managed to overcome is the moment that they want to help others who also have these traumas.”
“Miguel’s selfless dedication to quietly making a profound impact in as many lives as he can is truly inspirational. I would love to see his Galope da Esperança program get the recognition and support it deserves. My methods have already made a huge positive impact in Brazil, and Miguel is continuing on my good work.
He is one of the most positive role models we could have for the future of equines and people in South America,” said Roberts.
Miguel Lupiano works with a group of youths in his Galope da Esperança program. Photo by Sonia Lages.
Although only recently certified (2018), Simon Marrier d’Unienville has already made a significant impact with his non-profit work in South Africa. In addition to holding Lead-Up® workshops with at-risk youth, Simon, with the help of Horse Sense & Healing Developer, Kris Robins, formulated, created and piloted a program called Equ-Us™.
Equ-Us is “the world’s first program to combine Monty Roberts’ horsemanship techniques with Motivational Interviewing (Dr William Miller and Prof Stephen Rollnick’s globally acclaimed counselling method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behaviour).”
The Equ-Us program uses the combination of these two closely paralleled techniques and the healing power of horses to help those currently seeking assistance in an addiction recovery program.
Although still in its pilot phase, Equ-Us has already shown to have significant potential to make a breakthrough in addiction recovery where conventional therapy has not.
“Simon has shown exemplary talent in his ability to connect and work with troubled individuals at Horse Sense & Healing, Lead-Up and now Equ-Us workshops, says Roberts. “His dedication, passion and willingness to go above and beyond has quickly raised him to be one of my most recommended instructors."
"And I have invited him to be my resident instructor at Flag Is Up Farms from 2020 in order to grow Join-Up International’s programs and mentor future instructors to have the same compassion, dedication and innovation he has shown.”
“I have many more exemplary instructors who are living my life’s goal of ‘leaving the world a better place, for horses, and people too’. I have chosen to highlight these three as we approach the new decade. They have all earned a distinction that can be shared with all the certified instructors who have the talent and desire to be further certified to facilitate these programs. This inspires other young equestrians and open the door for the creation of more therapeutic programs based on my concepts and the unique qualities of horses.”
With the recent rise in equine-assisted programs the world-over, many more non-equestrians are being introduced to the amazing benefits of time spent with horses – something we all know well.