09 February, 2015

Day Six - Shy Boy: The Horse That Came In From The Wild - Book Review

Are you sick of me yet? Well, tonight my sister has written a guest post for you - on one of her current favourite books. Apparently, in the world of horse lovers, Monty Roberts is a big name, and I must confess, Rachel has made this book sound so interesting, I just may read it...
Thanks so much, Chook - enjoy everyone!
Jessica xxx :)

Shy Boy is the story of how Monty Roberts, the man who listened to horses, got to live his dream, and prove that a wild horse can be broken in while still in the wild, using natural methods, instead of fear.

As a young fellow, Monty saw how his dad mistreated horses and he knew there would be a better way. Between 13-17 he had the chance of spending time with mustangs (wild horses in America), rounding them up for an annual Rodeo event. He learned how to communicate with horses from seeing them communicate with each other. Then a few times he tried it out himself. And he got to “join up” with a mustang in the wild! Joining up is basically when a horse accepts you as its leader. He told the other cowboys, but they just laughed. Then one year he 'joined up' with a mustang, and rode it back to the base. But still nobody believed him; they said he had either taken it with him, or got one that had previously been broken in.

But then many years later, he got the chance to show everyone that 'joining up' with a horse in the wild, without the help of yards or ropes, is do-able. He really had some miracles along the way, for example, he had to 'adopt' a mustang to be able to work with it. (Because of restrictions later imposed, he couldn't do it with a horse in the wild, so he had to 'adopt' a mustang that had previously been captured to be sold.) The 'adoption program' was the next day. Only a certain number of people are drawn, and get to 'adopt' mustangs. As the list drew to the end, and Monty's name still hadn't been called, he began to give up hope. But... the last name out of the hat was: Monty Roberts. He went to the pen and chose the horses he wanted (he wanted the mustang to work with as well as 2 backups) but being the last he thought he probably wouldn't get them. But he did. They were moved to a ranch that had its own private herd and put out with them, to remain wild until Monty was ready to work with them, particularly one, who was later christened Shy Boy. Monty didn't want them to have seen him, so another lady keep watch on them.

Finally, Monty was ready to go out to the property and find the herd. With the help of a few other fellows and their horses, he cut Shy Boy from the herd, and the others pushed the herd away. Shy Boy went into flight mode and Monty followed him on horseback for the rest of the day, night and some of the next day. He spent around twenty four hours in the saddle only changing horses a few times. Shy Boy soon started to slow a bit. Monty began to be able to work with him, stop him and get closer to him. After a little more work, he called Caleb Twissleman, who had helped him at the start, to come and work with him. Soon Monty could reach down and stroke Shy Boy on the neck – the very first time he had been touched by a human. Eventually, Shy Boy experienced his first lead rope, learned to walk beside Monty's horse, and wore a girth for the first time. That night, Monty and Shy Boy tried to get some rest. The next day, Monty worked Shy boy from the ground, and formed a stronger bond. The following day, Shy Boy accepted his first saddle. It took some time to be accepted, but because Shy Boy trusted Monty, it went well. Then it was time to introduce Shy Boy to the first person to ride him: Scott Sivera. After Shy Boy got to know Scott, he easily accepted being ridden. Monty said “He didn't put a foot wrong.” Caleb Twissleman, Scott Sivera and Monty Roberts along with Shy Boy, and the other horses went back to the ranch. Monty had proved – even in front video cameras – that he could 'join up' with a horse in the wild, and have it rideable within four days, by 'communicating' with the horse, instead of using fear as motivation. 

The book goes on to talk about a tour Monty did and one of the most difficult horses he has worked with. But everyone was asking: if Shy Boy was released back to his herd, would he return to Monty, or stay? About a year after Shy Boy came in from the wild, there was a round up at the ranch. Caleb rode Shy Boy, and he and Monty worked together at pushing the cattle back to the yards. It was Shy Boy's first round up, and he was doing well. They took the cattle back to the yards, and selected the cows they wanted to take back the ranch. That evening Shy Boy's herd came close and Shy Boy saw them. Monty said to Caleb “This is what we are here for; it's time to see what happens.” Straight away Shy Boy galloped toward the herd. Would he come back?

Monty didn't sleep that night. In the morning when still no Shy Boy came, Caleb and Monty were both discouraged. They prepared to leave, as slowly as possible. But... “Then I heard Caleb's little sister, Tara, call out, “Hey, look there; it's Shy Boy. He's come back. ….” Everyone in the camp was silent.” He looked at the herd a couple of times hesitatingly, and started to walk toward the camp. Then:“Shy Boy was running at a full gallop straight towards us. He gave a loud, clear whinny.” Shy Boy came back!

What makes this book even more amazing is this is what God wants to do with us. He wants to 'join up' with us. Just as Shy Boy had to accept Monty's leadership, so we have to accept and trust God. Shy Boy also chose for a time to go back to his herd and old ways. Sometimes we leave God's side.
But when Shy Boy returned, he wasn't turned away, but accepted with rejoicing. It is the same when we return to God; all heaven rejoiceth!

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