Cover image for Shy Boy : the horse that came in from the wild
Shy Boy : the horse that came in from the wild
Roberts, Monty, 1935-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollinsPublishers, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiv, 239 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
970 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 6.7 9 Quiz: 24219 Guided reading level: NR.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SF284.52.R635 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
SF284.52.R635 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
SF284.52.R635 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
SF284.52.R635 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
SF284.52.R635 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
SF284.52.R635 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



World-famous horse gentler Monty Roberts reveals the unique rapport he shares with one special horse: a wild mustang

In this beautifully illustrated book, Monty Roberts's be loved horse Shy Boy takes center stage. In a gripping, intimate narrative and in one hundred color photos, Monty Roberts relives their unique relationship, beginning with his first encounter with the wild horse in the high desert. During a dramatic three day ride across a hundred miles, Monty Roberts used all his skill to connect with the little mustang he finally befriended.

Throughout the year that followed, Shy Boy grew to love life on the farm, playfully demanding attention and becoming fascinated by children. During a year of challenges and one frightening illness, the wild horse earned the respect and admiration of his trainers--he had exceptional spirit. And, as his fame grew following the PBS-aired documentary that featured his initial three-day encounter with Monty Roberts, Shy Boy began to receive visitors from all over the world.

Yet throughout Shy Boy's year of fame, Monty Roberts was asked, "Would Shy Boy rather be free!" With trepidation, he took Shy Boy back to the wild to let him choose: Go with your herd, or stay with your gentler. What happened is so exciting and moving that it will surprise every reader.

And like Monty Roberts, readers will fall in love with Shy Boy.

Author Notes

Monty Roberts has worked with horses for more than fifty years & demonstrated his "join-up" technique & philosophy to worldwide audiences ranging from Queen Elizabeth of England to thousands of corporate executives. He lives with his wife Pat in California on their Flag Is Up Farms.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Two new horse books come from opposite ends of the spectrum--one on the oldest breed with pedigrees hundreds of generations old, the other on horses that know no planned breeding or human control. Arabians celebrates a breed that has been cultivated for centuries. These desert horses are usually associated with the Bedouin peoples of the Arabian peninsula and were famed for their endurance and agility. Used extensively for war and for raids against rival tribes, Arabians were carefully bred for their ability to gallop over the uneven desert terrain. The long history of Arabians in their homeland is commemorated in this collection of paintings, photographs, and quotations from numerous authors. Arabians have been exported all over the world, and the second part of the book highlights horses from European, Australian, American, and South American stud farms, as well as the best of the modern Arabians from Arab countries. This visual feast will be popular among all horse lovers. Shy Boy is the latest effort from famed horse whisperer Monty Roberts. Shy Boy is a wild mustang that Roberts joined up (his description for gentled/tamed) with out on the high desert for a PBS special. This demonstration of how Roberts' training techniques worked with a totally wild and free horse was seen by millions on TV and was covered in his book The Man Who Listens to Horses (1997). The current book covers the gentling process in much greater detail, and Shy Boy's subsequent life as a ranch horse. Roberts speaks eloquently of the differences between a mustang and a domestic horse, and of Shy Boy's adjustment to captive life. The crux of the book occurs when Shy Boy is offered a choice, and he is freed in the presence of the band of horses he originally came from. Would he come back to the man who joined up with him? This wonderful sequel to The Man Who Listens to Horses is full of anecdotes about the author's methods and will be in demand at all libraries. --Nancy Bent

Publisher's Weekly Review

Not just for animal lovers, this delightful and deeply moving page-turner, a sequel to Roberts's bestselling The Man Who Listens to Horses, picks up the story of this California horse trainer's relationship with Shy Boy, a wild mustang whom he "gentled." By mimicking an equine body language that he believes is genetically ingrained in the memory of all horses, Roberts, as detailed in his earlier book, quickly and painlessly transformed Shy Boy from a free-roaming steed of the Nevada foothills into a trusting, cooperative and worthy mount. Roberts's nonviolent approach to acclimating horses to saddle, bridle and rider was highlighted in 1997 and 1998 in a PBS-aired BBC documentary, which led countless viewers to inquire: If given the chance to be free again, would Shy Boy take it and run? Here is the answer to that question: Roberts describes taking Shy Boy back to his original free-range herd. The mustang's choiceÄafter an overnight rompÄmakes for an unforgettable climax that will leave no dry eyes. Shy Boy, a mix of vigor, strength, innocence, ego and impish high spirits, will win readers' hearts, while Roberts's humane alternative to the harsh treatment of horses holds inspirational lessons about the abuse we inflict on animalsÄand on our fellow humans. Dydyk's breathtaking color photographs capture the rugged majestic terrain while exploring, without sentimentality, the spirit of nobility and freedom that the horse represents in America's collective psyche. Plainspoken yet powerful, this remarkable story is one of those very rare books that can restore one's faith in humanity. Agent, Jane Turnbull. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Roberts (The Man Who Listens to Horses) continues his mission of "gentling" unbroken horses without whips, spurs, or harsh commands. Here he first summarizes his life work with horses, then tells how he tamed a shy but wild mustang, mainly for a BBC/PBS TV documentary. Afterward, to learn if the horse is happy in domestication, he releases him back to his wild herd in California; the outcome is heartwarming. Those who know the author or who just love animals should like these true adventures, narrated in Roberts's pleasant voice. Warmly recommended for general nonfiction collections.ÄGordon Blackwell, Eastchester, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA-Having witnessed the cruel treatment suffered by horses being "broken," Roberts has made it his life's work to teach a much gentler training method to all who will listen. Renowned as the real "Horse Whisperer," he describes an experiment he conducted with a wild mustang in Cayuma Valley in Northern California, in 1997. The goal was to train the horse first to accept Roberts, then a saddle, and finally a rider. The entire experiment was filmed by the BBC and photographed by Dydyk, whose stunning pictures add a wonderful dimension to the narrative. The book is fascinating, even for those who know little or nothing about these animals. The writing style is conversational, and there is a somewhat suspenseful conclusion. Young adults who love animals, as well as those who are in need of nonfiction that is comparatively easy to follow, will find this an engrossing story.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Shy Boy's Tribe Wild horses have become living symbols--of liberty and beauty and power. To appreciate Shy Boy, you must see him or his kind running, free and easy, in a wide-open space. To see what I mean, look at the photograph on pages 198-99: "Shy Boy enjoying a wild gallop on a spring morning." A free horse running is a beautiful sight. The long tail high and proud. The mane rising and falling with his rolling step. Domestic horses striding in paddocks, without saddles and riders, are a pleasure to behold. But a mustang herd running through sagebrush, running just to feel the wind: that sight resonates in us all. I have seen it countless times and it always stirs my heart. The magnificent herds of wild horses that once roamed the North American Plains in the millions no longer exist. Mustangs are somewhat rare now, and for that reason, cherished. Shy Boy and his tribe have become living symbols--of liberty and beauty and power. To some extent we attach to the mustang the same characteristics we would like to see in ourselves: strong, wild at heart, sensitive, graceful--and above all, free. All over the world, people view the wild horse as a noble and romantic animal; in America, especially, the mustang is an icon. The Lone Ranger's famous white horse, Silver, we were led to believe, was a mustang stallion wounded by a buffalo and then nursed back to health by the ranger. Old western films had cowboys coming to the rescue of wild horses, who paid them back by accepting the saddle and riding like the wind. One automobile manufacturer even named a car after the mustang. The chrome silhouette of the galloping horse--not unlike the image of Shy Boy on pages 198-99--was set in the car's front grill, and the car was pitched to a generation as small, fast, and youthful. The odd thing is this: the romantic attachment to mustangs existed even in the minds of pioneers in the nineteenth century, when wild horses on the Plains were as common as sparrows. Matt Field, a traveler on the Santa Fe Trail in 1839, wrote after admiring one striking sorrel stallion that "a domestic horse will ever lack that magic and indescribable charm that beams like a halo around the simple name of freedom. . . . He was free, and we loved him for the very possession of that liberty we longed to take from him." After the West had been settled, cattle arrived, fences went up, and the rich grasslands where the mustang roamed were no longer theirs. The herds sought refuge in higher, tougher ground. Ever since then there has been a pitched battle between those who want available land put to practical use (ranching and hunting) and those who want land set aside for the ever-diminishing herds of wild horses. Shy Boy's ancestors have long been on the losing side of that old turf war. More than one million wild horses were captured by the government for use in World War I; hundreds of thousands more were taken to abattoirs and used in animal feeds; some were shot for sport. In one especially brutal killing in December 1998, thirty-four free-ranging horses in the foothills of the Virginia Range in Nevada were shot; it was clear from the aftermath that whoever did it meant for the horses to suffer and to die slowly. The atrocity made headlines around the world. In the West there was shock and outrage--on both sides of the mustang issue. A sacred line had been crossed. "It's like somebody desecrating the flag," one Nevada investigator said. The mustang has become a kind of conscience of America. What we've done to horses has suddenly become a factor in our lives: the strong link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to people has been well documented. It should not surprise that people feel the way they do about horses. No other animal in history has had more impact on our lives than the horse. Millions of horses gave their lives in our wars. They transported settlers in covered wagons across continents, delivered our mail, plowed our fields, cleared our lands, and entertained us with their athleticism on racetracks and show grounds. And during all this time they have provided faithful companionship. Shy Boy's ancestors were brought to North America by Spanish conquistadors four centuries ago. In a way, this marked a homecoming for the horse. Horses and their ancestors had developed on this continent 55 million years before; from here they crossed land bridges into Asia and spread to Europe. By the time Columbus landed in North America, the indigenous horse had been extinct for almost fifteen thousand years. No one is really sure why they disappeared. Meanwhile, slowly but surely, Shy Boy's ancestors had circumnavigated the globe. Horses abandoned or lost by Spanish cavalry, the troops of the conquistadors, and later by Spanish settlers were the forebears of the mustangs that colonized the wild heartland of the western United States. They were tough horses; they had to be to survive the grueling eight-week journey by ship to the Americas from Spain. Travel in those days was not for the fainthearted, animal or human. Some believe that the "horse latitudes" (30 degrees north latitude--the Tropic of Cancer; 30 degrees south latitude--the Tropic of Capricorn), zones where ships were often becalmed, owe their names to this fact: when water ran out and horses on board died of thirst, they were tossed into the sea. The difficulties in transporting livestock across the ocean led the Spanish to establish horse-breeding farms in Cuba. Once on land, the horses went to work--as warhorses. Hernando Cortez was recorded as saying that next to God, he owed victory to the horse. Horse and soldier climbed mountains, forded rivers and swamps, battled through impenetrable undergrowth, and fought indigenous peoples every step of the way. If the men were made of iron, the horses were forged of something even stronger. Excerpted from Shy Boy: The Horse That Came in from the Wild by Monty Roberts All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.