11 Quotes From Buck Brannaman

Buck Brannaman and Horse

If any of you are like me, you spend way more time at a desk and way less time with your horse than you’d like. To help cope, I try to watch and read as much horse stuff as I can when I have a few free minutes. One of my favorite things to watch is the movie ‘Buck’ – the documentary on Buck Brannaman. I’ve seen it about 150 times, and each time I find myself seeing or picking up something new; nuances in how to handle a horse, tips on riding, etc. The documentary style of the movie gets you so up close and personal that by just watching Buck, the way he moves around horses, where his hands are, his posture, where he looks, you can learn quite a good deal about horsemanship. In this article, I’d like to share some of my favorite snippets of what I’ve taken from watching the movie.

Buck Brannaman and Horse

For those who don’t know, Buck Brannaman  is a horse trainer from Montana/Idaho who practices ‘Natural Horsemanship.’ from the tutelage of the legendary Ray Hunt. He is the epitome of a western horseman and was the inspiration for the Nicholas Evans book / Robert Redford movie ‘The Horse Whisperer.’  He travels around the world giving clinics and even comes out here every so often. The movie ‘Buck’ was directed by Cindy Meehl and won the U.S. Documentary Competition Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

“For a lot of people, they want it all to be fuzzy and warm… but it’s no different with a horse than with a kid, you can’t always be the kid’s best friend, first, you need to be the parent.” – B.B.

“In this particular discipline, to be great [with horses], you have to be a sensitive person. That vulnerability, that sensitivity. To feel the subtle change is what makes you great. Gwynn Turnbill Weaver, founder, Californios Ranch Roping Contest.

Buck Brannaman and Horse

“ Most people think of feel as when you touch something or someone – what it feels like to your fingers. But a feel can have a thousand different definitions. Sometimes feel is a mental thing, sometimes a feel can happen clear cross the arena. Sort of an invitation from the horse to come to you.” – B.B.

Every movement you make on a horse, there is a perfect position of balance that takes no energy from the horse. He doesn’t feel like he’s pushing you along with him or dragging you along with him. – B.B.

“Bribery doesn’t work with horses. All it does is make a contentious spoiled horse.” – B.B.

“ You can be strict, but that doesn’t mean you have to be unfair.” – B.B.

“You allow a horse to make mistakes, the horse will learn from mistakes no different than the human, but you can’t get him to fear making mistakes to where he dreds what’s going to happen if he does.” – B.B.

Buck Brannaman and Horse

“ Give him a job, learn how to build on the horse’s pride. Make him feel good about himself… and I wasn’t just talking about the horse.” – B.B.

“All your horses are a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you won’t like what you see, sometimes you will.” – B.B.

“One of the biggest challenges of a horsemen is to be able to control your emotions.” – B.B.

“[Be] gentle in what you do, but firm in how you do it.” – B.B.

* All images are screenshots from the film.

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2 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply September 24, 2014

    Morgan Skilling

    I try and emulate this man in every interaction I have with my horses, starting with his Zen. Patience has been the #1 lesson for me with horses and although far from perfect, when I get mad and frustrated I think of how Buck approaches any horse he interacts with and I just chill out.

    His life is an inspirational story and what he does inspires me to be a better horsewoman.

  • Avatar
    Reply October 6, 2014

    Susan E.

    Spectator Question: Buck, do you ever get afraid that you’re going to get kicked by a colt when you’re in the round pen?
    B.B. Answer: Lady…are the Kennedy’s afraid they’re gonna get shot?

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