Friday, May 31, 2013

More on Buck

I guess I should say for those who don't know, the documentary was really about the man, his life. Unlike other horsemen, Buck has chosen to expose those things that have made him who he is despite their dark origins. His life ended up intertwined with horses and the people who bring them to him so the film encompasses all of that.

It is a compilation of video from his childhood, interviews with people he has touched and footage from several clinics and includes pieces with Buck and his family talking about his life. It goes together in a surprising, interesting way that effectively draws in even a non horse person. I can see why it earned the coveted  Audience Choice Award.

Coming from a similarly dark childhood, I get Buck's motivation to want better for the horse. That thinking has always drawn me to seek out kinder training methods.

A woman in the film suggested "tortured souls" might be those most driven to be creative in the endeavor of making the world better for horses. While her remarks made me laugh because I doubt the man is tortured anymore but I also felt there was validity to her words. People who have seen extreme pain can become individuals with great empathy. I think it is empathy for the plight of the horse that fuels the movement for gentler training methods. The man openly talks about how his past has affected his journey with horses.

Buck Brannaman sees the path of improving the a person's relationship with his/her horse using the methods based on Ray Hunt's teachings as one where people who choose to follow that course not only help their horses but change their own lives as well. This belief is supported by other respected authorities in both human and equine healing.

The man also believes that horses mirror the souls of their owners.  Over the years I have seen that to be true. Understanding my horse was reflecting back at me my insecurities has been a useful tool in both problem solving and building my confidence as well.

Those  beliefs and how they are validated in the film definitely add an unexpected dimension to Buck. Part of my interest in studying this piece was to more closely observe both owners and their horses.

For me one of the most interesting aspects of this was in the unspoken language of horses and humans alike. I found I had matched  up the appropriate pairs without actually seeing them together utilizing those principles.

Buck, the man, is brutally honest. So is Buck, the film. Horses suffer from neglect in many forms and the I could write volumes on the things horses must endure because they were not taught how to be good citizens. There would be even more volumes covering the human toll, not to mention the economic one.

There are varying degrees to this type of neglect and many horse people do not see it or understand it unless it presents itself in its very extremes. I think it is one of those dirty little secrets of the industry but presented it at its ugliest. Kudos to them!

To be continued.......

Buck and Harvey


  1. I don't know if you have had the opportunity to read "The Faraway Horses" by Buck Brannaman and William Reynolds, but it gives much more detail on his early life.

    I enjoyed the book and the movie both, enormously.


  2. I have a copy of the faraway Horses, and yes it is a really good read. Gives more insight to his past etc. Just watching him approach any task with a horse, is something!

  3. I read the book Faraway Horses so I know a little about this guy. I've never see the movie though. And really never watched any of his training videos so don't know how he goes about things. Sounds like he teaches a lot of fairness in training horses and I'm all for that.

  4. I saw Buck last year - heard him talk and saw him work horses. He is my idol! I am truly amazed by what he has made of himself.