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Reading Lesson

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  • 1. Text 3 Monty’s method Monty is the real-life Californian Horse Whisperer who can train a mustang to accept a saddle and rider in 10 minutes. O n a cold Tuesday night in September, 1000 people are gathering in a barn the size of an aircraft hangar. In the queue, there’s a man covered in blue denim from Stetson to cowboy boots whose spurs rattle as he walks. He looks the part. They are all here to see Monty Roberts. Outside, one of the volunteers who is putting up signs says ‘In the horse world, he’s a bit of a god.’ Monty Roberts is also gaining something of a reputation in the world of education as schools start to apply his techniques in the classroom. His theories on non- confrontational human the centre of the arena. magician about to perform relationships have been ‘Practically everybody a trick, Monty asks Socks’s credited with turning here has read or heard owner if they have ever round failing schools. something about me,’ he met. He needs to rule out begins. ‘That’s just the any collusion because Back in the barn, the way it is today. But there what follows is so magical warm-up music of classic won’t be one horse who as to beggar belief. But it western themes fades and comes through that gate is not a trick. Socks is a the night’s star attraction tonight that has read or ‘starter’, meaning he has appears. A big bear heard anything about me.’ never been ridden. In fact, of a man with a gentle he has never had anything smile, he acknowledges The rst horse to enter on his back. He is wild – the applause and walks the arena is a handsome in the top 5 per cent of into the fenced pen at animal called Socks. Like a untrained horses. Socks10 Unit 3 The gentle touch © Cambridge University Press 2010
  • 2. Part 1starts to run round the my teachers as much as I His philosophy is simple:pen, rst one way then the have been theirs.’ positive actions reapother, as Monty throws a positive consequences; Monty Roberts has doneline softly on to his back negative actions incur this routine thousands ofand kicks up sawdust and negative consequences. times. It’s second naturedirt, imitating a predator. He encourages parents to him. It’s the reason he’sAfter a couple of minutes, and children to draw famous. But it’s not hisSocks realises he is not up a series of contracts, raison d’être. During thein danger and starts to verbal or written, and evening he will ‘join up’chew and lick his lips, just this gives even children with ve horses, gentlyas Monty said he would. as young as two a sense curing them of habits ofThen he stops, and drops of responsibility. Children biting and bucking andhis head to the ground. should never be rewarded refusing to go into boxes for good behaviourAnd then the magic or through gates, without with food or money, butbegins. Monty stands laying a nger on them allowed to go on an outingsideways on and walks except to pat their noses. or do a favourite pastimeslowly towards Socks, But incredible though this instead. Breaking theavoiding eye contact. is, it is only a sideshow. contract means a task, butThen Socks turns towards Monty’s main concern this should be somethinghim, and Monty scurries these days is to apply useful. It is important thataway. This is not the his non-violent methods the child decides on bothaction of a predator, to human relationships, the reward and the taskthe horse thinks. The to revolutionise the and that both parties stickthird time he does this, way we communicate. to the deal. ‘There’s not asomething incredible ‘These are the most bad kid born,’ says Monty.happens. Socks begins precious relationships,’ ‘There’s not a bad horseto follow Monty across he says. ‘Every human born. Circumstances andthe ring, his head almost being is more precious life’s environment areresting on his shoulder. In than all the horses I what make us either badeight minutes, wild horse have worked with.’ Like or good. And teachersand civilised man have horses, children are ight have been the mostmade friends, achieving animals, meaning that important part of ourwhat Monty calls ‘join-up’. when threatened they ee, sociological order sinceHe signals for his rider except that our predatory the beginning of time,to bring a saddle, and ancestry means we put because they representwithin 10 minutes Socks up with a lot more abuse what our future will be.’is carrying a man on his before we run. ‘Each ofback around the ring. Monty is a charismatic, the animals that comes‘Horses are stupid – that’s articulate but modest man. in that pen is just like awhat they said for 2000 He describes his work as a child,’ says Monty. ‘Theyyears. Look at this young mission to leave the world have the same needs.horse. Look at him learn. a better place than he They want trust, theyHorses are 50 million found it. In some places, want to be able to trust,years old, and humans in prisons and schools, they want safety and somehave been around for a thanks to him, it already is. love. They don’t want tomuch shorter period of be hurt.’time. Horses have been Adapted from Harvey McGavin, Times Educational Supplement, 21st September 2001.© Cambridge University Press 2010 Unit 3 The gentle touch 11

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