Monty Roberts Equus Online University
Horse Training Video Instruction Program

Learn all about Equus • Dually Halter • Shy Boy Mustang • Jumping Horses
• Story of a Horse Whisperer • Riding Horsemanship • Dressage Horses • Willing Partners
• Horse Training • Round Pen Lessons • Performance Horses • Join-Up

← back

Horse Behavior and Training

Humans as flight animals


I have heard that many women are attracted to horses becasue horses are flight animals and so are women. And with this we relate with them on a deep level (not that men cant). But what Monty says is that children are flight animals to. What defines children as flight animals? Are humans flight animals? or are women flight animals and many (not all) men are not? What are your thought on the concept of human (children, women, men) as flight animals???

Cavalli Runner
Hello! 100 lessons completed

That's an interesting question. I wonder, just as horses can learn to not "run away" from frightening things, can people? If all children are flight animals by nature, then would it not stand to reason that not being one as an adult would be a learned or conditioned behavior? I have long theorized that, the reason so many men seem to have anger issues is that, as little boys they are taught that anger is the only acceptible emotion. It's unacceptible for them to cry or be afraid because that is weakness. But they are encouraged to stand their ground, fight back, be tough.
It is hard for people who know me now to believe this, but as a younger woman I was VERY meek. But, once I hit my forties, something changed. I don't know if it came from living with a man who loves to debate, has a hot temper, and will fight to the finish (he's a "right fighter"). So, is this new, "stand up and fight" attitude of mine a conditioned behavior? A survival technique I have learned? Or, is this something that I would have developed eventually anyway? Very interesting topic.


I totally agree. This is somehting i have been trying to look into a lot and really havent seen anything. We have studied natural horse behavior to be flight, but what about humans? Maybe it has to do with how you are raised. I was raised (and still am) in an emotional and physically abusive family. With this experience it is easier for me to realate to horses and their fears. But there is still the discussion of what makes children and women flight creatures and then factoring in learned behaviors. Anyone have any interesting thoughts on this?

Debbie Roberts Loucks, USA
Hello! 2014 Cyberhunt winner 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed 350 lessons completed 400 lessons completed 450 lessons completed 500 lessons completed 550 lessons completed 600 lessons completed 650 lessons completed

I used the SEARCH BAR above and added the words flight animal children to find this from Monty:

08/20/08: I recently attended one of your tour events with a friend who is not a horse person. I was pleased to hear her tell her husband how it impacted her life – wow! Why do non-horse people love to watch your demonstrations?

Monty’s Answer: I believe that non-horse people enjoy my demonstrations because they understand the psychology of the human specie. Children are flight animals, and they respond to the same techniques that I use with horses. It is my opinion that the world has far too much violence between people, and I think that many of them are looking for an option to violence. Horses can lead us to a better understanding of our own species.

Please upload your photo 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed

I believe that humans really are fight/flight animals in that we range in personalities and can react differently depending on the situation. Being a woman, I do not agree that all women are flight animals- I certainly would rather stand and fight and quite enjoyed my time fighting in martial arts. However, animals like me and I NEVER feel the fight instinct when around them, EVER. Therefore, I think that while it can be generalized that horses will naturally choose flight over fight, humans range in personality and life experience to react differently depending on the individual.

Kicki -- Sweden
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed 350 lessons completed 400 lessons completed 450 lessons completed 500 lessons completed 550 lessons completed 600 lessons completed

It certainly is an interesting topic of discussion.
I'm not entirely sure Monty means "flight animals" as opposed to someone who enjoys martial arts or would stand and fight. I think most mothers would fight to the death if her "cub" was threatened for example.
Maybe - I'm just guessing here - more in a "mental mind set" way as flight animals in opposition to being a creature of pray. (Lion, bear, wolf...)
I think I would say that basically (as in the ape-family)humans as a *species* are creatures of flight as we lack speed, muscles, teeth and claws to attack with. Compare with felines and canines!
We do have a brain, though, and has learned to use weapons and craftiness instead. First to defend: our lives or our egos - and then for survival:food, valuables, a space to live in, etc.
Look at flocks of chimpanzees that will attack to defend, if riled enough, and even kill for food.

But I would also argue that the techniques would work just as well on men, if they are allowed to let their guard down enough to listen. ;)(Compare with an upset stallion!)
Isn't it true that most of us will gravitate toward a person who appears reliable, just and kind.


Yea its so interesting how the fluctuations of personalities bring out more fight or flight in an animal. Even look at horses that were hand raised from day one. So much different than hores raised naturally.