From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1998:
SAN FRANCISCO––Horse gentling
expert and racehorse trainer Monty
Roberts’ account of being abused by his
policeman father, forming the opening chapter
of his runaway best-selling autobiography
The Man Who Listens to Horses, is fiction,
family and longtime friends asserted in an
expose by Eric Brazil of the San Francisco
Examiner, published on January 11.
They also refuted Roberts’ claim
that he learned his gentling method during a
wild horse round-up done for the California
Rodeo Association in 1948, with his younger
brother Larry and friends Dick Gillott and
Tony Vargas, as well as a claim that he did
the jumping for Elizabeth Taylor as her double
in her first hit film, National Velvet.
Brazil’s sources included Larry
Roberts, Dick Gillott, Tony Vargas, uncle
Jim Martins, former Roberts family horse
boarding client Jackie Felman Daly, and
California Rodeo Association archives.
Brazil did not interview Taylor, but she has
always maintained she did all her own riding
except in the climactic steeplechase scene.
Monty Roberts told Brazil he stood by his
book, except that a British edition names a
deceased couple from Salinas rather than
Gillott and Vargas as Roberts’ companions
on the alleged 1948 horse collecting trip.