We had to go to town early, to be at a store before the 5pm closing time. After stopping at the bank, the main decision was where to eat. If we went to a sit down place, then we wouldn’t get out of there until 6 and driving and parking could put us at the theater past 6:30. If it was a busy night, with a lot of horse people in attendance, then where would we sit? So knowing that I didn’t want to be late in line, we ate in at Amigos, then headed downtown and parked less than a block away from the theater. We arrived and were inside a little after 6. Just a tad early, as we were the 2nd or 3rd set of movie goers. See, someone even went earlier. We sat and waited until about 6:30, when a lot of people started coming and forming a line. I thought I better get my popcorn and drink and Tom and I should get in line.
The moment the movie started, emotions came to the surface. Within minutes, Buck was seen riding a dark horse across a field, leg yielding beautifully. Gracefully. I could see Finny in that horse, and my eyes teared. Finny could move across the arena in a beautiful 2 tract at the walk and we were working on that gracefulness and finesse at the trot. Finny was beginning to learn how to do that at a lope. Thinking about this yesterday, while mowing the grass, I had a lump in my throat, barely being able to swallow. The what ifs and whys came back. We could have taught each other so much more.
Then as the story progresses, Buck talked about his childhood and the abuse he had to endure. Whip lashings on his back and backside, I’m sure a lot of verbal abuse, and inhumane treatment and indifference from a father who didn‘t show love.
Buck was asked how he became the man he is today, when he had to withstand that agony. I’ll never forget his quiet answer. Why hold on to the past and the anger? It’s time to move on.
Buck, the man, is pushed to do something, for some reason, with horses, and with people with their horses, leaving family behind. I see the desire to keep going. It saddens him to leave family behind, but he looks down the road and he is ready to keep moving. Keep moving. Get to the next place. For me, it meant that if I kept sitting where I’m at, literally almost doing nothing more, than I’ll never get to the next place in my horsemanship journey. It’s time to move on.
Buck was very fortunate to live with wonderful foster parents, that showed him how to love horses and gave him something to do.
One statement in the movie was from a friend, I believe, who said that maybe Buck has such a bond with horses because of his tortured soul, or something like that. That only someone like him can truly understand and get out of the horse what he does.
Maybe once there is hurt in the heart, maybe there is more empathy. That said, does it mean we can only get to a deeper level with horses only if our heart and soul have been beaten down and have felt the anguish of loss?
After healing. And time. And patience. And lots and lots of horses teaching you everything there is to know about horses.
I like Buck’s quiet ways. There is no harshness in him. Even when a horse is tough, there is no toughness from him. All there is, is a strong patience. He tells the horse he doesn’t want to hurt him. He draws the horse into his own shelter of safety. The horse can’t help himself. The horse will go to Buck.
There was a strong scene in the movie, about a wild, young stallion. Raised as an orphan, then left to run with other stallions when young. He was crazy! He attacked the handler, and the owner made the only safe decision. The horse needed to be put down.
Buck said that the human was the fault, and the human gave up on him before he got to this stage. But they said the mare died while foaling, and they pulled the foal, and actually had to breathe life back into the still body. They are thinking he was oxygen deprived. Wouldn’t that cause his crazy, unsafe manners more than being left with stallions and not handled for 2 years?
I don’t agree that it was totally because the human failed him. I had an unsafe gelding once. Raised him just like I raised the many foals before him. He snaked his head at me but never bit. I wasn’t sure if he would kick at me. But he did strike me, not once but 2 or 3 times. He went down the road. I should have put him down. Did I give up on him? Maybe. But how could a nice yearling who was handled throughout his 2nd and 3rd years, turn into a monster by the age of 4. Sometimes, I think a screw goes loose and they are not fit to be around people and to be safe. I did not give up on this horse. I gave him many chances. I continued to ride him and handle him. Only after he struck at me that last time was when I thought, this is it, you will never strike at another person again. Sad, but necessary.
That made me realize, as I listened to Buck and how he tried to help this horse, was that you have got to try. You have got to get their trust and their commitment to you, before they become this unteachable. That is it. That horse couldn’t be taught any longer, and neither could my gelding.
What I got most out of this movie was how thoughtful and understanding Buck is to all the people and horses and surroundings. He was calm, quiet, and so sure. He read each horse to perfection. He made them better. He made the rider a better person just by being there.
That is what I want to do. I want to make myself better so that I can make each horse better. And like Buck said, it comes from “feel”. The feel you know when someone enters the room and you know they are there because you have such a deep bond with them that you can “feel” them there.
Buck wants each of us to have that type of “feel” with our horse. To know them so well that you are one on one with him or her. That your arms and legs are part of their body too, and that you ride as one.