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ANIMALS

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Roy: “Animals open a door for us to a world where all are equal. We have logical, reasonable minds that can dominate our feelings and intuitions. With animals, I seek to turn the mind off and be in the moment and trust my instincts and make any necessary judgments from that place of feeling.”

 

“Roy has what I call a sixth sense as it pertains to the animal/human relationship. And it’s not just with the cats—elephants, dogs, horses, you name it. …When he walks into their compound, every cat comes to the front of its enclosure to see him. And when Roy travels, he always calls home, and they put him on the speaker phone. He talks to the cats and their ears perk up. His relationship with them is magical. It’s like he knows what their thinking—reads their minds and they read his. One of the more difficult tasks Roy has been able to achieve, is the blending of tigers into groups. Tigers are solitary animals, which means that it’s very difficult to integrate them—and it can be risky. Normally, if you take four tigers of the same age and try to put them together, two will not fit into the group. But, as you know, if you’ve seen them at the Secret Garden, Roy has been able to do that. They are all kept in groups there.” 

– Dr. Martin Dinnes

Roy had a personal relationship with each animal he worked with. I’ve worked with dozens of animal trainers, and Roy is in a league of his own. Each of the animals—the tigers, the lions, the snow leopard—each had a single mission or purpose on stage. This meant that each animal was unique; each was the star of a specific illusion. A couple of them did more than one thing, but, for the most part, each animal did one thing and did it to perfection. Roy knows their personalities and what he can ask and expect of each animal. He’s a brilliant animal psychologist. The number of cats that he was able to have a one-on-one relationship with is extraordinary. He was a master at showing off their majestic beauty, while not sublimating himself or the cats. That’s amazing.”

- Kenneth Feld

 

Roy: “When working with animals you provoke their natural instincts for play. Love is Trust: I show the tiger trust and not be afraid so we will become brothers.”

 

“They were two guys who worked together, but were very different people, and led separate lives. Siegfried never touched the animals; he mid-wifed them. He built the maternity room where the tigers were born. I saw a film of one pregnancy where the tiger—I think it was Sitarra—began giving birth at 2 a.m.

At 10 a.m., Roy was still in the maternity room with the tiger and three cubs.

Roy was sitting on the floor with his arms around his knees, his head down. The mother got up, picked up one of her cubs by the neck, walked over to Roy, and put the cub in his lap. Roy made this noise to her—a kind of purr that the cats use to communicate. He played with the cub for four or five minutes. Now, these cubs weigh twenty-five pounds. While he’s doing that, Sitarra is nursing the other cubs. Roy got up, and brought the cub over to Sitarra. She looked at him as Roy put the cub back on her nipple, and made the cat sound. This never, ever happens with cats that have cubs. But this was Roy Horn.” 

–     Steve Wynn