Thursday, May 30, 2013

Some Thoughts on Buck

Buck, the documentary premiered at the Las Vegas Film Festival in 2011 before I got sick.
While Story commented she must be the only horse blogger to have seen the film, I had read several posts about it. If I recall correctly I also had information about it showing up on my Facebook page when the buzz about it first hit. Between those sources I was definitely intrigued.

 The movie did not play anywhere near here that I know of so for me to get the opportunity to view it required waiting for it to become available on DVD. As sick as I was, every time Dave would ask me if he could get me anything from the store, Buck  was the only thing that came to me. My normal response is "not that I can think of" but the desire for this flick was ingrained enough that Dave now had it on his radar as well.

I can't really tell you when Dave actually located it. All I recall about that time was being riddled with pain and being so sick I didn't know what day it was and I was still sleeping most of the time. Watching the film was only a temporary diversion. As much as I had impressions swirling in my head, I just was not in a place where I could actually get those thoughts together in any discernible way.

While I am still riddled with pain, I am much stronger than I was then. I am now able to focus and organize my thoughts without feeling like my brain is turning to mush. I think this change affected how I viewed the movie this last weekend as well.

I had not expected the many layers of this work but then I don't know how anyone could without knowing something about the man and his story first. From everything I read, I had expected another piece on horse training and Buck was a whole lot more than that.

There are so many layers to this documentary I wouldn't presume to say I even get them all. It is definitely not a training video but I imagine there are people who don't get there are useful training tips woven between those layers. Gleaning whatever morsels there were was part of my motivation for watching it over and over but I had other motivations too.

Personally I was struck by the similarities in our stories. While timelines vary and experience levels with horses too, the motivation for his receptiveness when confronted with a better way and conclusions drawn along the journey were uncanny to me. I think part of my rewatching was to verify I was not projecting something that was not there.

Let me say I am used to encountering childhood victims of abuse who are horse people too. They tend to talk the talk of compassion for horses but normally their unresolved issues interfere with their ability to walk that walk. Because of that I have begun to realize that horses will mirror the issues of their owners and trainers too.

It has taken me a while to realize that my ability to read people complete with their issues gives me a method to identify trainers, and potential buyers too, who might utilize training methods not in tune with what is truly good for the horse. It is a tool I have yet to test but the movie reinforces maybe I should start.

While I have known for many years blaming horses for training issues and attributing human mechanisms to explain their behaviors is inappropriate, it has taken me much longer to realize that people who do such things are more likely to engage in abusive behaviors.  One more tool I have not used.

Once the dishonest behaviors of Tommy Garland were exposed and the rose colored glasses came off, it was much easier to see the man was more interested in self promotion than he was in what is right for the horse. Then contemplating a comment Buck made in the documentary about parroting Ray Hunt and not having an original idea of his own when he first began giving clinics made me realize that Garland brought nothing new to the table. With all his celebrity the  ideas he renamed as CPR for the horse are nothing more than regurgitated horse whisper 101.

I don't point this out to continue my rant about the man but instead to express I see that recognition as yet another tool. Those "horse whisperer" types I have seen who are genuine in their concern for the horse all have their unique twist to the basic Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt teachings.

Some of them have built that into big money and others have supported themselves more modestly so money alone isn't a measure of sincerity, nor is it a measure of competence. It seems to me the variations these people have learned along their journey might be a key to the true value of their worth to the horses. The honest man will not willing harm the horse. The dishonest one doesn't really care about the horse in the first place so he has not made the effort to evolve his methods into something genuine.

What do you think?

To be continued......

More on Buck


  1. I have had the most wonderous opportunity in my younger years to attend a week (a WEEK!) long clinic with Jack Brainard...and my life changed with horses ever since.

    His humble attitude with colts and old horses alike won me over. How could a horse "cheat" if he was given the honest opportunity to excel instead?...and from there it made it very obvious in the 1990's when all the natural horsemanship wanna make a buck people came out of the woodwork, i could obviously see who was in it for the horse and the long haul and who was in it for the $$$...

  2. If you really want to see the other end of the spectrum and see someone who's entirely uninterested in self-promotion, dvd's, or marketing, look up Rick Gore Horsemanship on Youtube. He has over 500 videos in which he talks about horses, analyzes horses, and explains how horses think and why they behave the way they do. He explains why some things are good for the horse, but many people do the wrong thing, regardless of intentions. Many find him abrasive and offensive, but I disagree with that. I've found his opinion to be worth consideration because he is entirely concerned with the horse. Plus, he's funny and his horses are adorable. A word of caution: I wouldn't recommend offering advice on his channel.

  3. Will be attending my first clinic in many years this summer, looking forward to it, one of the things I like about this fellow is he seems to think my way, time will tell

  4. Usually the guys like TG, PP, and some of the others I won't mention, have great marketing skills or people to do it for them. That's why their names, faces and slew of crap is always in front of us. Good or not at what they do- them and their merchandise is always in front of us...

  5. HI YOU!!!
    Thanks for leaving me a message at my place today. I have lost track of so many people, I am so sorry to hear of your terrible illness. hoping that you are getting to be yourself again.

    My stable mates all went to the film when it was downtown. I liked it..though, not a huge fan of N horsemanship stuff( I use what has worked, but am not going to bore my mare with all the repetition) He is an incredible man coming out of painful past experience. I love it when people can just "LEARN" from the past, identify it and move forward... and not carry it into each situation.
    My past abuse is not what defines me, but it can allow me to identify pain in others, and be able to speak to it from experience.

    My mare has trouble trusting, even me (in arena)...and that could be a reflection of my distrust for most people(after they burn me)...but more likely a poor work attitude, now that i have taken all pain out of the picture for her.
    I adore her outside on the trails so I am content to continue out there with her.

    The WIDE EB..yea finally!!

    Good to see that GORGEOUS Bay in this post. Someday, I wish to love another Arabian!