Join-Up International Celebrates a Quarter Century of Service

Join-Up International (EIN 77-0459889) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1997 by Monty and Pat Roberts and dedicated to promoting gentle, effective alternatives to violence and force in both equine and human relationships.

The mission is to help Veterans, first responders, at-risk youth and other vulnerable populations find healing through the experience of Monty Roberts’ globally acclaimed Join-Up® and other equine-assisted activities.

2022 has been an exciting year for the cause. In addition to celebrating 25 years of service this month, Join-Up International programs have exponentially increased the number of equine-assisted programs from six to fourteen annually, helping over 120 Veterans, first responders and at-risk youth find healing through their ground-breaking programs with horses.

But it’s not all good news … America’s first responders are in crisis!

Did you know, American first responders are significantly more likely to die from suicide than in the line of duty? [Source: Ruderman Foundation]

Untreated post-traumatic stress (PTSD) is also the leading cause of death among U.S. Veterans, with an average of 22 suicides per day. [Source: US Dept of Veterans Affairs]

Researchers (Boffa et. al, 2017) have found that “elevated levels of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) were associated with a higher likelihood of thinking about suicide and/or having a history of suicide attempts.”

At Join-Up International, the equine-assisted programs for Veterans and first responders with post-traumatic stress have been changing, and saving, lives since 2010.

In May 2020, results from a four-year scientific study into the effectiveness of our Horse Sense & Healing program (for Veterans and first responders) found that it, “showed more effectiveness in reducing PTSD symptoms 85 days post-workshop than pharmacological interventions (when measured with the same quality of life scores)”.

This is reflected in the many stories received from participants of the programs:

“This was a life-changing moment for me. I honestly was so impressed with the benefits, how this could and was life-changing for me. I have had different therapies for numerous problems in my life but [this] was by far the best for life changes.” – Participant, October 2021

Every little bit counts!

While great strides have been made in serving the Veteran and first responder community, there is still a lot to accomplish. Support is needed to continue to increase the number of Veterans and first responders served each year.

Plans have been laid to increase program numbers from 55-60 to over 160 Veterans and first responders served each year. This goal will be achieved by increasing the number of annual programs from six to 16+ in 2023.

Scientifically-backed cause:

» A tax-deductible donation of $4,750 will fund 50% of the costs of one of our life-changing equine-assisted programs for 10 to 12 Veterans and/or first responders, and their supporters.

» A tax-deductible donation of $950 will fund the costs for one Veteran or first responder, and their supporter.

» A tax-deductible donation of $475 will fund 50% of the costs for one Veteran or first responder, and their supporter.

» A tax-deductible donation of $200 will fund 50% of the costs of our volunteer stipends, or 100% of our program administration costs.

All donations, no matter how big or small, go directly to supporting our vital equine-assisted Veteran and first responder programs.

Support can be made with a one-time or monthly online donation through a Donorbox portal by sending a check to Join-Up International, PO Box 246, Solvang, CA 93463; or with a corporate-matched donation through Benevity (applicable to employees of North American corporations).

Sponsor a Therapy Horse

As Monty likes to say, “the horses are the therapists” in these programs. It takes a special horse to have the patience, temperament and willingness to connect with a wide range of different people of all levels of ability, backgrounds and personal struggles, on an ongoing basis.

“We call these horses GEMs: Generous, Empathetic, Motivational, says Simon d’Unienville, Executive Director of the programs, “The GEMs in our Join-Up International programs are mostly off-the-track Thoroughbreds that help our program participants work through a series of trust-building exercises to help them overcome trauma, improve relationships, have better self-regulation and emotional intelligence, regain confidence and be more willing to open up and ask for help.”

For a small monthly (or once-off) tax-deductible donation, people can help support the ongoing costs for one or more of our program horses. Supporters receive quarterly updates about the horse(s) they support.

Join-Up International, Inc is dedicated to promoting gentle, more effective alternatives to violence and force through educational courses and programs that impart Monty Roberts’ concepts of non-violent, trust-building communication. Horses are used as examples and vehicles for this learning process. It is Join-Up International’s intention to leave this world a better place for both horses and humans.

The Monty Roberts’ Horse Sense & Healing program is a resilience-building workshop for veterans, police, fire, first responders and their families. The three-day program involves working closely with horses. The individuals and horses develop a special bond built upon mutual trust and respect. Join-Up offers everyone an effective tool to rediscover themselves through the eyes of the horse. This self-awareness exercise deals effectively with emotional trauma, anti-social behavior and withdrawal, anger, stress, combat stress and even Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI).

In addition to the Chairman of the Board, Pastor James Stretchberry, other members are Ed Seaman, Debbie Loucks, Mike Hollis, Audry Nafziger, Jerry Sparby, Dr. Jorge Moreno, Dr. Cherylynn Lee, Supervisor Bob Nelson, and Nick Odenath.

For more information about Join-Up International, see Guidestar (

Contact Simon d’Unienville, Executive Director, on 805-325-8414 or to learn more.

MISSION: Join-Up International is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1997, helping Veterans, first responders, at-risk youth and other vulnerable populations find healing through the experience of Monty Roberts’ globally acclaimed Join-Up® and other equine-assisted activities.


The 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 . Horse Sense and Soldiers aired on Discovery Military highlighting the therapeutic effect that horses and Monty Roberts’ Join-Up® have on PTSD.

Media Contact: Debbie Loucks
Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc./Join-Up® International
(949) 632-1856

Photos available upon request.