By TPH Intern Vyla Carter
Forty weeks out of the year, Buck Brannaman travels around the United States teaching clinics to help both horses and riders. The documentary Buck, directed by Cindy Meehl, follows the horseman around the country to get an inside view on his clinics and the man behind the method.
This in-depth peek into Brannaman’s life allows equestrians to understand why and how he developed the training method that made him so famous. Brannaman uses a natural horsemanship method, claiming his methods of training do no harm to the horses. He started teaching at small, free clinics until he became better and more well-known. Vivid stories and film clips from his childhood give a better insight into the direction his career took and why he is committed to training in a non-abusive way. He says his childhood, combined with mentoring from Ray Hunt, made him the horse trainer he is today.
Riders from all disciplines attend his four day clinics to receive training, hoping to improving their riding and teaching of horses. The clinics are mainly geared toward the development of unbroke horses. During his clinics, Brannaman teaches riders to be soft and understanding with the horses. Brannaman explains to the audience and riders how using what he feels is excessive force with horses isn’t his approach.
Riders and trainers from any discipline are sure to enjoy this documentary, as did I. Buck Brannaman is extremely lovable and brings a great warmth to the film. The movie has something for everyone and would be interesting to equestrians from all disciplines. At one of the clinics shown in the movie, Brannaman said “A feel can have 1000 different definitions.” This reminded me to stay soft with my hands and throughout my body while riding. Buck is entertaining and teaches something to everyone, making it well worth the watch.
Buck can be streamed on Netflix, Sundance Now, Amazon, ITunes, Google Play, and YouTube.