I met MR when he first came to the UK about 30 years ago. He was working with the army remounts at Windsor Castle and the Queen attended several sessions.
I was not overly impressed as although the horses were unbacked they were well handled and back then there was no paraphernalia to sell nor any tall stories.
A few months later the Horse and Hound magazine arranged for him to come over and do a couple of demos. I volunteered two horses. One was a remedial. I had broken her several months previous. She was built downhill and was narrow in front. She learnt that by getting her head down and bucking the saddle would go over her non existent withers and she could drop her rider. The lass who had been riding her was getting married and I didn't want to send her down the aisle in a plaster cast so the mare was turned away.
The second mare was totally I handled. She had to be herded into a pen to be caught and although I had her stabled for a few days before the demo, I only taught her to lead. She never even had a brush on her!
At the demo he had the latter filly backed and walk, trot and canter in 27 minutes. The remedial did drop the rider so stayed for the second day when he used a western saddle that she could not pull over her withers.
Now, what did impress me was another remedial horse there. This lovely looking 5 year old had been to several trainers and was classed as I rideable.
The owner led him into the pen and the horse was quite relaxed. When she left and MR entered that horse was a tight as a tick and the fear evident. When MRs rider mounted (after join up) the horse was relaxed until asked to move. It was then tensed ready to explode. MR just walked backwards towards it, rub between the eyes and the animal relaxed and went well in the pen. The rider dismounted took it out the pen, mounted only for the horse to be afraid. MR did the same as before and that horse was going freely and relaxed around the arena.
That did impress me!
Again there were not stories of his adventures - those came later. Various demos he gave and I attended meant that I heard the tales get taller and more and more products being sold.
At one demo, a few years on, I provided a filly for join up There was a big warm blood for remedial work to stop him napping. ( barn sour)
The girl who owned him was a gutsy rider because that horse knew how to rear and whip around. He even did it in the round pen. MRs answer to this was to use blinkers that only allowed the horse to see the ground immediately in front of it.
I had a chance to see this horse earlier and first thing I noticed was that, for his size he had very small feet and a very choppy short stride. To me it screamed 'navicular' and was an unsound animal.
At the end of the session I asked the man who talks to horses if he ever listened to what the horse was trying to say? That went down like a ton of bricks and he tried to make me look the ignorant. My vet was also attending and when he backed me by saying the horse was lame in both fronts, he looked it even les!
X-rays done a day later showed advanced navicular both fronts.
I have read his first book and also one written by his Aunt and cousin, Horse whisperer and Lies - very interesting reading.