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                                                  The Man Who Listens To HORSES 

                                                   by Monty Roberts @1996, 1997

                                                   Random House, Inc., New York


"I had grown up on rodeo grounds, and it was inevitable that one day rodeo competition would beckon and that one day I would heed the call.   My father's credo was simple:  if there was prize money, I was to try for it.   And so I entered skeet-shooting contests, chuck-wagon races, I rode bulls and even bucking horses--though I loathed riding broncs and had no talent for it.   At fourteen, I began to practice the rodeo event called "bulldogging," which would prove to be the one at which I was most capable.   Bulldogging started on ranches in Texas.   Cowboys would have to hold herds of cattle together for hours at a time while various animals were singled out and roped--for veterinary treatment, perhaps, or for branding.   Occasionally, a grown animal would run out of the herd, and the cowboys would chase after him and turn him back.   For their own amusement during the long hours on the range, they started to compete among themselves in this chase-and-turn work.   Some tried jumping from their horses onto the animal's neck, turning him back using their bare hands.

One day a black cowboy named Bill Pickett rode after a steer, jumped on its head, leaned over and grabbed its upper lip in his mouth, and bit down hard.   The animal was so surprised by the pain that it fell.   This was the very method that the English bulldog used to drop deer.   Pickett would then turn the animal around and drive it back into the herd.   The ranch put him on a tour to demonstrate his remarkable methods, which evolved into the event that we know today as bulldogging."