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AngelWithoutWings54 07-04-2010 11:20 PM

Question About Monty Roberts Join-Up
My horse and I have a bond... He follows me around with no lead rope, he sometimes will walk over to me in the field (if he's not having too much fun), and he does what I ask when I ask him to. If he spooks at something, I just give him a pat and talk to him a bit and he almost instantly relaxes (that is, if he isn't taking of with his ears pinned in a flat out gallop... like today...).

My question is, do you think I need to do the Join-Up procedure? Would it help, or would flinging a whip/rope at him just scare him away from me and break our bond?

Pinto 07-04-2010 11:46 PM

If you feel like you already have a strong bond with your horse, I don't see why you would need to. It seems like you have already established a good level of trust with him :)
If you've lunged him before you shouldn't have a problem. I've never done join-up but I've seen someone else do it. As far as I know all you need to do is keep him moving around the round pen and watch for the signs of submission. You don't need to fling any ropes at him, just encourage him to keep going with a lung whip. But I'm not an expert on join-up, so don't quote me on that ;)

ridergirl23 07-04-2010 11:48 PM

I dont see a point in it, your horse likes you, why would you need to do it?

and btw, the 'jion-up' wasnt originally monty roberts (he just gave it a name and made it famous) a lot of people knew about it before he ever came around. ;)

Gidji 07-05-2010 12:08 AM

Join-up is all about gaining respect and trust of the horse. If you already have that bond its pointless.

MacabreMikolaj 07-05-2010 01:03 AM


Agreed. You will find in a horse that already has that respect for you, join-up is a waste of time and they will "fake" it. Most of our herd will immediately put their head down, do licking and chewing and veer in for you at a trot the minute you start to turn away because they know if they do it means good scratches.

It definitely won't hurt your bond, but quite often on horses that already trust you, you can't even get join-up out of them - I can't with my Arab mare. She won't lick/chew or drop her head for love or money because she thinks I'm playing with her. The minute I stop "chasing", she veers in to nuzzle me. The more I pop the whip at her, the more she prances and snorts and shows off. She has zero fear of me or the whip, and has been with me for so many years, has no need to feel "kept out of the herd" (she's been lunged since she was 3, same thing).

It really is a fantastic technique for green or unhandled horses, but you'll usually find it a waste of time if you already have that bond.

QHDragon 07-06-2010 12:46 PM

Now here is my question, how do you know if you have that bond or if your horse is really just friendly? Or is that the "ultimate question" with no answer?

I have had my mare for a week, she will come up to me in the pasture, and will follow me around. I have round penned her twice, the first time was a disaster, the second time she turned to face me, but didn't come and didn't lick, chew, or lower her head. By the time I got that it was getting dark so I just went and fetched her, she followed me around with no lead rope though.

MacabreMikolaj 07-06-2010 03:17 PM


Your horse is just saying "I know you have food and scratches, so you're a fun place to be for me!" She's not following you out of respect for your leadership. And realistically, this can be fine for a lot of people! If your horse doesn't have the challanging type personality and is content to behave and listen to you, then I certainly don't believe it means any less then a horse that has done join-up - a LOT of people don't necessarily believe in it so a lot of horses never end up doing it!

But in the end, no, she isn't performing these behaviors out of respect or trust for your position as her leader. I wouldn't be letting her stop until she was licking/chewing and lowering her head (at the trot). I understand that some horses may only turn to face you and won't actually come into you (my Arab mare was like that, she'd face me and if I walked away, shed follow me but because of her lunge training she wouldn't come into me), however I wouldn't be permitting them to stop until I'd seen some display of submission. This CAN take a long time - yeah, Monty Roberts can do it in 3 minutes in a CLOSED IN pen - I've had to work on some horses for over 30 minutes before due to distractions!

DiamondJumper 07-07-2010 05:16 AM

In my experience, well-trained horses that have already bonded with you don't benefit at all from "join up"...In fact, with Diamond(I cannot say this is true for other horses, only Diamond) attempting it almost harmed our bond. We had done a lot of round-pen work before I attempted it, and he thought I was just working with/training him. He ended up hot, tired, and confused, and I ended up being irritated, frustrated, and annoyed at myself. I never tried it again, and Diamond and I have a great relationship without it.

Just my two cents.

5cuetrain 07-07-2010 06:00 PM

Join up is a method of confirming a language that is used to communicate. Once the horse understands that communication is possible they accept the relationship that is being offered.

Learning the language of Equus is a big plus and will yield huge benefits in your learning and working with horses.

Focus on learning the language first. Practice it until you speak it fluently.

Being able to communicate with your horse will change your relationship considerably.

equiniphile 07-07-2010 06:03 PM

Join-up has many names coined by many trainers. It's meant to gain trust and respect, and if you already have that, I see no point

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