by John Dolan
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, a federal agency has clearly defined rules regarding the adoption and subsequent care and handling of wild horses and burros.
Below are some of the pertinent regulations. Monty Roberts clearly and willfully disregarded these regulations and the BLM itself is guilty of not prosecuting Monty Roberts for these violations:
4700.0-5 Definitions. As used in this part, the term:
(c) Commercial exploitation means using a wild horse or burro because of its characteristics of wildness for direct or indirect financial gain. Characteristics of wildness include the rebellious and feisty nature of such animals and their defiance of man as exhibited in their undomesticated and untamed state. Use as saddle or pack stock and other uses that require domestication of the animal are not commercial exploitation of the animals because of their characteristics of wildness.
Monty Roberts used one of the three mustangs that he adopted for the purposes of commercial exploitation (profit). The mustang he named Shyboy was the subject of a book, video and audio tape whereby Monty Roberts staged the horse’s re-capture (after adopting it then turning it back out into the wild) with the intent of filming its struggles and/or reactions to his training technique dubbed “Join-Up”.
(e)Humane treatment means handling compatible with animal husbandry practices accepted in the veterinary community, without causing unnecessary stress or suffering to a wild horse or burro.
(f) Inhumane treatment means any intentional or negligent action or failure to act that causes stress, injury, or undue suffering to a wild horse or burro and is not compatible with animal husbandry practices accepted in the veterinary community.
Monty Roberts described in great detail how he ran (following at speed) this horse unguided between barbed wire boundaries to exhaustion (referring to the description in his book of the 10 to 15 mile gallop on Shyboys’ heels). Any equine would have been greatly exhausted and stressed, unless it had had months of preparatory training, especially over the very rough, broken & rocky ground that Monty describes during the full gallop.
Negligence on Monty Roberts’ part resulted in Shyboy and the other two mustangs that he adopted being left without shelter and without proper hoof care while they were kept at his facility.
4750.3-2 Qualification standards for private maintenance.
(iii)Shelter shall be available to mitigate the effects of inclement weather and temperature extremes. The authorized officer may require that the shelter be a structure, which shall be well-drained and adequately ventilated;
Monty Roberts kept three mustangs (including the commercially exploited Shyboy) at his Flag Is Up Farms in paddock enclosures that had absolutely no shelters in them. Witnesses described the conditions in the paddocks to be heavily muddied from excessive rains.
4770.1 Prohibited acts. The following acts are prohibited:
(a) Maliciously or negligently injuring or harassing a wild horse or burro;
(e) Commercially exploiting a wild horse or burro;
(f) Treating a wild horse or burro inhumanely;
(g) Violating a term or condition of the Private Maintenance and Care Agreement;
SUMMARY: The Prohibited Acts as outlined by the BLM have been clearly violated by Monty Roberts. Mr. Roberts harassed Shyboy by sending him back out into the wild and chasing him for what Mr. Roberts himself says was ‘100 miles’. A helicopter filming the events also caused undue stress (according to Monty Roberts himself).
Monty Roberts commercially exploited the horse for direct profit.
Monty Roberts did not provide shelter or proper hoof care for any of the 3 mustangs for a inordinate length of time (at least 9 months to one year).
MONTY IN HIS OWN WORDS: EXCERPTS FROM HIS BOOK
* “Fences would be my most horrible fear. Mustangs have no knowledge of fences, so they don’t respect them.”
* “…the rattlesnakes had come out three weeks early. They killed two horses before the shoot even began. They strike at body heat and when they first emerge from their dark winter dens, they’re cranky and unpredictable – a disaster waiting to happen. A STRUCK MUSTANG AND WE MIGHT GET BY WITH OUR BACK-UP NUMBER ONE OR TWO. A SADDLE HORSE STRUCK AND IT MIGHT BE REPLACED. BUT MYSELF STRUCK – THAT WOULD BE THE END OF IT.”
* “…I’d have to suffer during what would probably be a day, a night and another day’s continuous riding, non-stop wear and tear.”
* “I was the dominant mare runing at the adolescent, driving it away to show I was displeased and asking for it to show me some recognition and respect. EXCEPT, INSTEAD OF TAKING TEN MINUTES, THIS FLIGHT WOULD GO ON ALL DAY.” I HADN’T RECKONED ON THE LEVEL OF PANIC CAUSED BY THE HELICOPTER. …THE HELICOPTER RAN US TO DEATH. WE COVERED NEARLY 100 MILES IN THAT FIRST DAY, THE MUSTANG IN FULL GALLOP FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF.”
* “It was killing, to stay at a full gallop for an hour and a half, … I was unsure of the ground and one stumble at that speed could have been FATAL. SO THAT DAY WAS TRAUMATIC – I PRACTICALLY RAN MY FIRST HORSE, THE CADET, INTO THE GROUND. AND THE FENCES WERE A HORRIBLE WORRY… THERE WERE TWELVE MILES BETWEEN FENCES, BUT MUSTANGS DON’T KNOW BARBED WIRE, THEY DON’T SEE IT…”
* “It was a minefield of badger holes, but we didn’t fall into any of those. Right at daybreak, around 4:30, he TOOK ME ON A HIGH SPEED CHASE FOR 15 MILES. IT WAS AS HARROWING AS ANYTHING I’D EVER RIDDEN. ..I’D BEEN IN THE SADDLE FOR NEAR ENOUGH 24 HOURS NON-STOP…”
* ” ..they started filming from half a mile away, just as I was coming down this valley, with treacherous ravines and boulders troubling us in the bottom of it.”