Table of Contents
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Epub ISBN: 9781407072517
First published in the UK in 2003
This edition published in 2004
Text and photography © Nicole Golding and Adam Goodfellow 2003
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Nicole Golding and Adam Goodfellow have asserted their right to be identified as authors of this work under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
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PRAISE FOR WHISPERING BACK
‘Adam and Nicole remind us of the fundamental reason for being involved with horses – because we are in awe of their magnificent nature and are drawn to form a partnership with such a creature. Their willingness to learn and experiment whilst they are on this journey is an inspiration, and their humanity and courage shines through. You may learn a lot about horses reading this book, but you will also learn about persistence and a clear intention, valuable lessons, whatever your life’s journey may be.’
Tina Sederholm, author of
Words of a Horseman:
The Life and Teaching of Lars Sederholm
‘This book is the chronicle of a journey into knowledge. Their teachers are Monty Roberts, Kelly Marks, and Mary Wanless. They are pledged to improve the lives of traumatised equines. In the course of their journey they find self-awareness, recognizing weaknesses and strengths in them, which belong to us all. We have all pretended to understand something and that pretence has covered up potentially dangerous ignorance. With humility they note: “some horses never have a fair chance to do anything right enough to avoid being punished.” This is no wishy-washy, idealistic sugar-food, but the strong story of two intelligent and committed young people. It kept me awake all night.’
British Dressage magazine
‘I think I may be suffering from an overload of Christmas sentimentality, because the first two chapters of your book made me cry twice – firstly for old Rupert overcoming his life-long fear, and then for Nicole fulfilling her life-long desire. Both of you write so beautifully, and with such honesty and feeling, that I’m sure it’ll be a book to tie knots in many horse owners’ heartstrings, as well as educating us with much-needed insight.’
, author of
‘This book tells their amazing success story, which is full of larger than life characters and eccentric tales. Great reading!’
Horse and Rider magazine
‘I started reading your book on the train home last night. Can’t remember reading so avidly and with utter concentration for a long time. Looks like the book will be a huge success. Can’t wait to read it now.’
‘I hugely enjoyed reading your book. It made me laugh out loud or cry several times. It goes without saying that I couldn’t put it down!’
‘There comes across a potent mixture of very hard, tough, gritty, unrelenting work, and battling with the elements and an almost unworldly sense of faith, love and sense of justice to horses, which seems to make it possible to pursue such a physically and emotionally demanding vocation.’
Dr Ciara O’Sullivan
‘I have just finished reading your book and just wanted to say thank you for writing it. I enjoyed it so much. I have been feeling in need of some inspiration of late and reading Whispering Back has certainly given me some!’
This book is dedicated to the memory of our fathers:
Robert John Golding (1936–1999)
Mark Aubrey Goodfellow (1931–1999)
This book might never have been written without the help, advice, and encouragement of our friend Matthew Parker. In addition, we would like to thank Thomas Wilson at Ebury Press and Rachel Leyshon for their editing expertise.
Many friends helped us to edit and compose the book, especially Annabelle Harling, Maggie McDonnell, and Jeannine Golding. Our thanks also to Julia Scholes, Andrew Golding, Laura and Veronica Deacon, Elizabeth Reynolds and Mark Rashid for their suggestions, and to Guy and Adele Nevill for giving us the use of their bolt-hole. Diana Maclean deserves much credit for her patient photography, and also Paul Thompson for so much help and so many pictures.
There are many people who have helped us along the way, including Linda Ruffle, Lorraine Fidler, Richard Searight, Meg Jackson, Dido Fisher and Henry Robinson. We are indebted especially to Jo Lindsey and many of our helpers and working pupils, particularly Helen Whittaker, Kate Reece, Brian Mortenses, Lisa Mygind, Carrie Milton and Ella Wall, who enabled us to concentrate on writing while they looked after the yard. Thanks also to SCSI – Andy Hughes, Simon Messenger, Huw Parry and Tim Hills, who work tirelessly to desensitise the horses.
For their never-ending support and encouragement, we owe our mothers, Lynn and Jeannine, undying gratitude. Without the generosity of Derek Partridge, we might never have been anything more than a one-horse family.
Finally, we would like to thank all of our teachers, especially Mary Wanless, Kelly Marks and Monty Roberts, without whom we wouldn’t have a story to tell. In particular, Kelly’s support, inspiration, encouragement and belief have helped us achieve things we would have never thought possible.
Nicole Golding & Adam Goodfellow
Monty Roberts®, Join-Up® and Dually
are service marks, trademarks, and/or trade dress of Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc.
All events described in this book are true, to the best of our recollection. Some names have been changed.
BY MONTY ROBERTS
I first met Nicole Golding and Adam Goodfellow in 1996, at a time when my life was changing rapidly. Having worked with horses since I was a child, I was now embarking on a new career, with the launch of my first book,
The Man Who Listens to Horses
. For me, years of frustration and rejection were about to be turned around to an extent that I could not have even dreamed of. When I had first discovered join-up, as a young boy up in the big country in Nevada, I knew I had found a way to train and communicate with horses that could revolutionise the way horses are treated. But the reaction of my father and others made me hide this discovery for decades, and I did not even show my methods outside my own operation for many years. I would never have guessed that it was to be in England that my methods would be accepted and adopted first, not so much by established trainers, but by ordinary people such as Nicole, a talented amateur with an unbridled passion for horses and an instinctive mistrust of the violence which she had been told to use by her instructors.
It was in 1989 that I first came to England at the invitation of the Queen to demonstrate my work to her. At that time I was completely unknown in this country, and although I had spent years in competitive horsemanship in the States, my methods were no better known there. At the Queen’s behest I toured several venues in the UK, appearing before audiences often numbering no more than a few dozen. But the seeds had been sown, and it was not long before I met Kelly Marks. Through her ceaseless hard work and dedication, my dream of passing on what I had discovered and proved in training many thousands of horses began to become a reality. Kelly taught the first new generation of eager students, among whom was Nicole. Like myself, they saw no place for violence in horsemanship, nor in their lives.
When my first book was launched, it became clear that we were not alone. At the time, autobiographies of horse trainers/books about horses were considered a great success in publishing terms if they sold more than 10,000 copies. The first print run of
The Man Who Listens to Horses
was therefore only a few thousand copies. Such was the outpouring of enthusiasm by a world sick of violence, that to date my first book has sold more than 4.5 million copies worldwide. No one could be more astonished by this turn of events than myself. But what particularly surprised me was how many of those readers were people like Adam, animal lovers who rode horses as a hobby, if only to spend some time with their girlfriends! It’s remarkable to me to hear that it was discovering my work that caused Adam to want to change a hobby into a whole way of life.