Weekend Movie Recommendation: Buck

Even if you’re not owned by a horse, there’s a lot to learn from an extraordinary movie called Buck. The subject of this documentary, “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman, crisscrosses the country teaching a method of horse training (or is it people training?) that can be applied to any animal. The results are amazing–a dance between man and horse.

Brannaman’s techniques embody a stoic calm and sensitivity born out of a miserable childhood. As a survivor of abuse, he’s very in tune with the nature and effects of fear. He teaches that the relationship we have with our animals is much more about our own baggage than what’s going on with the animal. As he puts it, “Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will.”

This is a beautifully shot and edited documentary, thought provoking and very much worth watching. Good news: if you have Netflix, it’s a available for instant viewing.

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  1. This may be a totally off-the-wall and out of context remark. Everyone was always amazed that I could get any baby to quit crying and kicking, even teeny ones or over a year old. I hold the baby’s ear tight to my chest (my heartbeat)and whisper “now, now, now”in the other. (all soft syllables and repetitous) I hate to see baby’s being bounced about to quiet them,held in the air, little arms dangling or clutching. I cannot stand people reprimanding a screaming baby or talking loud to shut them up. Holding hands/arms and feet/legs so they cannot thrash about works along with the whispering. The baby will struggle at first, but relaxes. Of course, holding a horse like that would be awkward.

    I have gone to distressed mothers who were strangers and offered to quiet a screaming baby. The mother and father chain me to something heavy and hand me the baby. Oh, stroking the eyebrow from inside to outside relaxes a baby or just about anyone…lol. his touching the horse reminded me of what I do for a baby.

    However, I am terrified of being close to an upset horse. I wonder if my running away would calm the horse. I was at the stable with my sister, sort of in the long, middle hall. Around the corner, I heard hooves hitting walls, neighing, Some man yelling, a general ruckus and my sister talking to one of her horses. I ran to a corner and faced the corner, holding my hands around the back of my head. She was screaming my name and ran trying to find me, visibly shaken, thankful I had not been trampled. Yes, horses seem too big. Maybe I will try cuddling and whispering next time.

    Buck: It is a shame that such tenderness and seemingly instinctive understanding of animals should have to be borne of abuse.It proves that abused people do not have to be abusers. The excuse “I was abused” never held water for me as far as exonerating guilt. It does explain abusive people sometimes.

  2. Parsimony: My middle son has an uncanny ability with animals and small children (at the moment he cannot have pets in his apartment and he has no children). They seem to calm down when he is with them and even animals that are afraid of people take to him and let him touch and hold them. It does not appear to be something he learned but something (an aura? vibes?) that he was born with. It’s been like this since he was very small.
    Perhaps this is a special gift that some people are fortunate to have.

  3. Donna,
    I wonder. Mothers said they tried what I showed them and it didn’t work. Maybe they did not have their heart in it. I only knew the baby could not help crying, so I was not upset, just trying to impart calm. Ex figured if the baby still cried when he held it, he would just put it down.

    Most animal scare me, so if I have the gift, I will never know it. Besides, I am allergic to feathers and fur. I don’t think turtles like to cuddle.

  4. We just watched this movie recently. It’s so good! We don’t have horses, but we do have dogs, including an occasionally challenging foster dog. Buck’s philosophy helps me see our dogs’ behavior a little differently.

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