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Talking Horse...........

Many of us who saw the film or read the book "The Horse Whisperer" will have been intrigued and inspired by the story of Monty Roberts Monty, who was played by heart-throb Robert Redford in the film, trains horses by simply "talking" to them rather than using traditional methods. He specialises in animals that have problems or are deemed "impossible" and using a special technique has had some spectacular results!

This ancient art will be the subject of one of the fantastic demonstrations taking place at this year's Equus Horse Event (3-6 April, ExCel, Docklands, London). Britain's top "horse whisperer" Kelly Marks, will be giving daily presentations with some of her equine charges including the majestic 3 year old stallion "Antics".

Kelly, who has also been seen on the popular TV programme "Barking Mad" solving equine problems, is the originator of the Monty Roberts Educational Courses and the founder of the Intelligent Horsemanship organisation. She was inspired by Monty when, working with racehorses in 1992, she went to see a demonstration by "a Californian Horse Psychologist" who was going to begin breaking-in to young horses. She watched as Monty worked with two different horses letting them run about freely, then willing follow him of their own accord. He was able to saddle them and, after a while, ride them - a process that normally takes many weeks or months.

Kelly met up with Monty again in France a year later, purely by accident and this is where their friendship started. She worked with him throughout the summer helping him write his book "The Man Who Listens to Horses" learning from him and, in turn, developing her own ideas - some of which Monty now incorporates into his own demonstrations.

In 2001 Kelly went to work with the wild horses in the Namibian desert with extraordinary results, and shortly she is off top Latvia to look at and help working horses. She is currently touring the UK with Monty Roberts doing masterclasses and demonstrations.

According to Kelly it is often the "humanised" horses that need the most help. If a foal has been bottle fed, it can become confused and find it difficult to respond normally to its owner - in fact, it thinks it is human! But Kelly can help most horses with problems and is convinced that much of the time it is simply a case of helping the owner and horse to communicate.

"If you have had a really bad day, this emotional stress communicates itself to your horse," says Kelly. "In turn the horse becomes unsettled and unhappy and this can cause long-term problems. Just a few minutes relaxation and some easy breathing exercises done before you visit your horse can make a world of difference," she says. "It really is all about mindfulness - if you take the time to talk to your horse, stroke his neck and relax together this will help to get you both off on the right foot before you go into the riding school or out on a hack."

Kelly has written five books, the latest of which is "Perfect Manners - How You Should Behave So Your Horse Does Too." Her presentations at Equus 2003 are sure to be popular, so to book a place visit or call 01959 542776. More information about Kelly Marks can also be found on the website


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