A 2012 UK research paper (“A Comparison of the Monty Roberts Technique with a Conventional UK Technique for Initial Training of Riding Horses”, Fowler, Kennedy and Marlin, Anthrozoos, Vol. 25, Issue 3, pp. 301-21) answers this question with compelling results favouring the Monty Roberts training over conventional UK training by a registered British Horse Society trainer. The study evaluated two groups of 7 horses between 3 and 5 years of age. The two groups of untrained horses were trained over 20 days according to either the Monty Roberts or Conventional UK training methods. They were evaluated in terms of their acceptance of first saddling and first rider; their performance on ridden obstacle and flatwork tests and their heart rates throughout training and testing.
The study concluded that the advantages of the Monty Roberts technique were:
- Reduced stress and anxiety for the horse as evidenced by lower heart rates;
- Enhanced learning and progress in training as evidenced by the early acceptance of first saddle and rider; and
- Superior performance on tests as evidenced by their scores on ridden obstacle and ridden flatwork or simple dressage tests.
In short, the horses were less stressed, trained more quickly and performed at higher levels. What more could we ask for?