A Comparison of the Monty Roberts Technique with a Conventional UK Technique for Initial Training of Riding Horses
This study describes a comparison of the efficacy of the Monty Roberts horsemanship technique (MRT) in comparison with a UK conventional training technique (CT) for the initial training of horses. The sample consisted of 14 untrained horses, between 3 and 5 years old, sourced from a variety of non-competition yards in the UK. Horses were matched on temperament and randomly assigned to either the MRT group or the CT group. Each trainer was allowed 30 minutes per day to work with each horse for 20 days, following which the horses undertook a standardized ridden obstacle and flatwork test and a ridden freestyle test. Horses were scored for technical performance by a panel of judges who were unaware of the study or the trainers involved. During the session where the first saddle and rider were achieved, MRT-trained horses had significantly lower (p = 0.0137) maximum heart rates (bpm ± SD) (first saddle: 127 ± 37, first rider: 76 ± 12) when compared with CT-trained horses (first saddle: 176 ± 24, first rider: 147 ± 61). MRT-trained horses had similar mean heart rates to CT-trained horses (91 ± 15 bpm, 80 ± 7 bpm, respectively) during the ridden obstacle test but received significantly higher performance scores from the judges (171 ± 4, 133 ± 7, respectively; p < 0.0001). MRT horses had similar mean heart rates to CT horses (81 ± 13, 93 ± 5, respectively) during the ridden flatwork test but were awarded significantly higher scores by the judges (149 ± 9, 121 ± 11, respectively; p = 0.0005). Thus, the efficacy of the MRT for initial training of riding horses is greater than that of the CT.