Monty Roberts Equus Online University
Horse Training Video Instruction Program

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• Horse Training • Round Pen Lessons • Performance Horses • Join-Up

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My Join-Up® Experience

Longer than 5-10 minutes!


I've lunged and free-lunged many horses and have a good idea of how it goes. I bought a highly trained dressage horse who is strong and independent with some bad manners, so I decided to do a formal Join-Up. Well . . . Monty at that time hadn't yet mentioned that a horse that has been trained to lunge isn't the best candidate since he will just go around forever. Yep! Fifty minutes later, he finally put his head down! I later found that I had torn a large callus off the ball of my foot. I have nerve damage and didn't feel it. The Join-Up worked, though. My horse and I have bonded much more strongly since, and his manners have greatly improved. My foot healed, too, thank goodness!!!


Wow!That must have been tough!Well done for not giving up though!If you had,it would have been even harder the next time you tried it!

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I have been there with lunged horses who have tuned out from their human partner. I find that work on the dually helps enormously in focusing the horse rather than exhausting and injuring yourself!


Yes, the dually has been a great help, especially since this horse's worst vice is pulling back -- he actually BROKE his first dually during trailer work (my fault, of course, but still) and also has broken lead ropes and lunge lines. He can pull a person clear across the stable, parking lot, arena, etc. This was a year ago. His behavior is almost perfect now. Knock, knock.

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So, I've got a trio of horses, a mare, 13 years+/-, and her two girls, 4 and 5 years. I've been trying to join up with the mum for some time now. I have tried to remove her from her girls several times but they always break out and get back together so I gave up on that for the time being. Both daughters want to work with me. They see my other two going out, getting brushed, getting treats and join in some times. I have managed to join up with the elder daughter once and only once. Once they are caught, sometimes easy, sometimes not, they work well, until they are put in a stall and then they fret for their mother.
Today I tried join up again with the mother for about half an hour before I let her go. I had her ear right away, She began licking about 10 minutes in but I never got a lower head or smaller circle. She could see her daughters the whole time or at least hear them and just kept running around the pen. When the girls got bored and started to walk away she ran faster and lost any focus on me she had.
Has anyone heard of anyone who has a similar situation and how did it turn out? I'm sure if I remove her or them from the property then I would have a breakthrough but I would also have a breakout and many fences down and probably and injured horse to boot. Any suggestions?

Hello! 100 lessons completed

I just did my first join-up with my 7 year old mare. She is a show jumper. It felt like she kept going around forever. She would have the inner ear locked into me, she would at times bring her head down and lick and chew, but she would not come into a smaller circle and would not slow down. It also took about 50 minutes for the join up to work! I had no idea it could take so long, and am glad to read that others have had the same experience.


It shouldn't really take that long, only thing I can think of is working first with calmer or more experienced horses before working with the more extreme cases. It sounds like many are missing the subtle cues the horses are giving. If all you have done is read the book and watched some videos, you are missing alot of the conversation that goes on between the horse and the handler. Many horses do not put their heads right to the soil the first few times in the round pen, and some may never drop their heads completely, many simply relax there head or drop it very slightly at first. As well some will weave off and then back to the outer edges of the pen, they are still shortening the circle but not as it is shown in the video. It takes quite a bit of practice with many horses to get to learn to read and understand them. Remeber the horse hasn't read the book or seen the video, they don't know what they are to do it is up to us as trainers to learn to read and understand our pupils better.

I know there is alot going on when you are in the middle watching your horse run around, but take the time to slow him/her down and listen to what they are telling you. Watch for the little things, it will come but it does take practice. Good Luck.

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i have a filly turning 3, and i tried to join up with her this weekend for the first time. i didnt persist for too long, because i didnt think it should take ages, obviously i hadnt read this forum before. but she simply wouldnt relax, also, she kept defecating, and i could see that that signalled something, but i dont know what! i would think its associated with a flight and fright response, and therefore mean quite the opposite of what i would want it to. finally, i dont know if this would have anything to do with anything, but i was wondering if perhaps the fact that she is a rescued horse that, according to her previous owner, lived on her own without any horse companionship since she was 8 months old. perhaps this affect the was she 'speaks' in her horse body language?