Monty Roberts, from David Lamb

September 18, 2007 |

 I've been around horses most of my life but it wasn't until I read about Monty Roberts that I learned how to really treat and understand them. It is only recently that I have found some parallels in the markets with the way Monty understands horses.

At seven years old Monty figured out one can "talk" with horses by body language. He named this language, "Equus." He tried to master this language and many years later would be able to understand and use over a hundred different body movements that meant something to the horse.

Monty witnessed his own father beating and submitting horses when growing up. He thought then that there had to be a better way, a way to make the horse want to be with you and work with you. He said that most trainers are burdened with the great weight of the male ego.

"You walkin' on the fightin' side of me when you say my daddy didn't know what he was doin'. I got horses — you couldn't get close to 'em. You admit to me now, that there's a time when a horse needs a good whippin'."

He set out to disprove this and, indeed, he did.

"What I can do with horses is the result of long hours of observing them in the wild."

At 13 years old he set out on horseback to the Sierra Nevadas, and beyond, to study the wild mustangs. The very first encounter he watched them, through binoculars, for eight straight hours.

For a four day period Monty witnessed the lead dun mare of a particular herd educate one of the adolescent rebel rousers. Here is what he wrote:

"As I watched the mare's training procedures with this adolescent and others, I began to understand the language she used, and it was exciting to recognize the exact sequence of signals that would pass between her and the younger horses. It really was a language — predictable, discernible, and effective."

A couple of parallels to markets that I found in the above paragraphs are, (1) I must sit and watch the markets for long periods of time, and notate my observations. This allows me to see the market participants react to many different stimuli. (2) Preconceived notions about markets, how they interrelate with one another, or notions coming from the poorer market participants, will yield great misunderstanding.

Only after Monty spent countless hours of observance and gradually applying what he had witnessed was he able to be successful at his endeavor. By the time Monty was 70 years old he had trained some 10,000 horses all over the world, including the prized horses of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Just imagine, a country bumpkin from Salinas, California knowing his trade well enough that a Queen requests his attention.

There is so much more to Monty's story that I find applicable to the markets, and to life, but I am afraid of being too lengthy in this post. The book is called, The Man Who Listens to Horses.





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