Can the Flight Animal Teach Us About Education?  

Temple Grandin is a flight animal.

If you haven’t heard of Temple, I am privileged to introduce you to her story. She was born autistic in 1947 and didn’t speak until the age of three and a half. Her mother, a Harvard University graduate, refused to institutionalize her and instead was determined to help educate and socialize her. With early speech therapy and teachers who taught Temple the value of patience with others, Temple was able to enter a normal kindergarten at age five.

It wasn’t until she left home and attended Franklin Pierce College in 1970 where she earned her bachelor's degree in human psychology, then a master's degree in animal science from Arizona State University in 1975, and a doctoral degree in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana, did she discover her talents in her sensitivity and her interest in the flight animal. Today half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she designed.

Flight animals, like horses and cattle, are prey animals by nature. Untrained and untouched, they are hyper-vigilant and suspicious of people and their behaviors. Approaching aggressively, eyes on eyes, will tend to cause them to move away from you. Instead, there are ways to advance and retreat that invite and build trust. Understanding this helps people recognize how to approach the flight animal, if they want to train and have a relationship with the flight animal.

Dr. Grandin has become a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior.  I have read and recommended her books such as Thinking In PicturesAnimals In Translation and Animals Make Us Human. They are adventures into how our wonderful animals think and why they behave in certain ways. Today she is a beloved professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. I have met many of her students who are in awe of her abilities to communicate and simplify complicated concepts in psychology. Just this month CSU broke ground on the $5 million Temple Grandin Equine Center to improve the lives of children, veterans with post-traumatic stress, seniors with dementia and others with emotional or physical challenges.

Horses are flight animals and around predators, including humans, they simply do not trust anything that looks to cause them harm. The flight distance of the horse is about 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 of a mile and they will travel that before they look back at danger. Any violent training will cause the  horse to regard humans as the predators we are and not give any of us the benefit of the doubt. They can forgive but not forget. We should avert our eyes and release pressure from a horse to calm them. Horses know that predators never walk away from their prey, so equestrians should learn that the horse has come to regard ‘retreat’ as a nonthreatening gesture.

HBO made a movie in 2010 called Temple Grandin starring actress Claire Danes which garnered 15 Emmy Award nominations and won five, including the Emmy for outstanding made-for-television movie and best actress in a drama (Danes). Grandin appeared and spoke from stage during the ceremony, which speaks volumes to how far an autistic person can overcome fear of public speaking and tolerate extreme sensory overload. Temple is quick to encourage parents to teach their autistic child social skills, “It hurts the autistic much more than it does the normal kids to not have these skills formally taught.”

In June of this year, Temple Grandin will travel to this third annual event called The Movement 2020. The insights she will be sharing will be key to a clearer understanding of the parallels in the attendee’s lives. Horses will be the center of the demonstrations to positively impact as many lives as possible through the unique power of horses.

For details about The Movement 2020, go to www.TheMovement2020.com For questions, call Flag Is Up Farms at 805-688-6288.

“The horse is a quintessential flight animal. When pressure is applied, he will almost always choose to flee rather than fight.” ~ Monty Roberts

MONTY ROBERTS AVAILABLE FOR SELECT INTERVIEWSThe New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned horse trainer Monty Roberts is available for interviews.

 MONTY ROBERTS first gained widespread fame with the release of his New York Times Best Selling book, The Man Who Listens To Horses; a chronicle of his life and development of his non-violent horse training methods called Join-Up®. Monty grew up on a working horse farm as a firsthand witness to traditional, often violent methods of horse training and breaking the spirit with an abusive hand. Rejecting that, he went on to win nine world's championships in the show ring. Today, Monty's goal is to share his message that "Violence is never the answer." Roberts has been encouraged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the award of the Membership in The Royal Victorian Order, as well as becoming Patron of Join-Up International. Other honors received were the ASPCA "Founders" award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award and FEI’s Man of the Year. Monty was recently included as Horse and Hound Magazine’s Top 50 Horsemen of All Time. Monty is credited with launching the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is the definitive learning tool for violence-free training.

JOIN-UP philosophies can be seen at work with both humans and horses across the world, from farms to major corporations. To learn more about Monty Roberts or the many applications of his Join-Up training methods, visit www.montyroberts.com. Horse Sense and Soldiers aired on Discovery Military in 2010 highlighting the therapeutic effect horses and Monty Roberts' Join-Up® have on PTSD. Soon after Monty and his team developed the Horse Sense & Healing program for veterans and first responders. Lead-Up International was officially launched worldwide at the Monty Roberts International Learning Center in Solvang, California, in February 2017. The purpose of Lead-Up International is to reduce violence in the community by creating peaceful leaders from vulnerable youth utilizing equine-assisted therapy and non-verbal communication, building trust-based relationships.

DEBBIE ROBERTS LOUCKS joined her parents, Monty and Pat Roberts, in 2002 to build Monty Roberts’ international training schedule and oversee their publishing, product development and licensing. Monty Roberts is the world renowned Horse Whisperer and New York Times Bestselling author of The Man Who Listens to Horses. Pat Roberts is an internationally acclaimed sculptress of horses. A graduate of UCLA, Debbie has extensive experience in marketing as well as new business development. Debbie’s life-long work with horses, as well as her commitment with Monty to advance his concepts, uniquely qualifies her to extend the MPRI brand into a global leadership organization which has impacted millions of individuals, companies, organizations, governments and industries. Debbie is host of HorsemanshipRadio.com, one of the most popular podcasts on the global Horse Radio Network. Learn more about Debbie at http://www.linkedin.com/in/debbieloucks

 Photos available upon request

Media Contact: Debbie Loucks
Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc.
(949) 632-1856
debbie@montyroberts.com

 

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