The Queen’s passion for all things equestrian is well-documented, however what many royal fans may not know is how Her Majesty was instrumental in introducing the famous Horse Whisperer to the world. In fact, the Queen and the late Queen Mother were deeply moved by American trainer Monty Roberts’ gentle methods with their own horses, and the Queen Mother was reduced to tears. Royal author Penny Junor, in her 2005 book 'The Firm', delves into the extraordinary story.
Ms Junor writes: “Monty had produced champions but early in the Nineties he was persona non grata in the horse world because he had had the temerity to suggest that it was unnecessary to hurt and frighten horses in order to get them to do what you wanted.
“Now, his methods for starting horses have been adopted by forward-thinking, enlightened people all over the world, his books on the subject have sold in their millions, and he no longer has to worry that he might be forced to sell the farm.”
Mr Roberts told the author: “The person who did all of this was Her Majesty.
“She was the one who found me and believed in me and she said, ‘There must be a book.’ And she didn’t let it go.”
Queen Elizabeth II and the late Queen Mother (Image: Getty)
Monty Roberts at his Californian ranch (Image: Getty)
He went on: “Sheikh Mohammed could have endorsed it, but he wanted it for his horses, not for anyone else’s; Walter Jacobs wanted it to be exclusive to Germany; Ronald Reagan said, ‘You just keep it under your hat, we’ll have some real nice racehorses.
“Her Majesty’s fist words were, ‘We’ve got to get this out to the rest of the world.’
“She’s the only one who came at it with a generous attitude.
“Her primary motivation I think is, it’s a better way, a kinder way, and we’ve been making a lot of mistakes.
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The Queen and Camilla chat with Monty Roberts in 2015 (Image: Getty)
“I also believe in the time she has watched and worked with me that she believes there will be better racehorses, and horses and carriage, and Household Cavalry horses as a result.”
Ms Junor explains how the Queen had become intrigued with Mr Roberts’ methods when she read about him in a horse racing magazine, and despite her trainers and aides dismissing his methods as “rubbish”, decided to invite him to Windsor.
Ms Junor continues: “The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen Mother all came to watch that first morning, as did the Queen’s stud groom and a number of female grooms.
“The Queen had selected 23 young horses with which to test him,