Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Buck, the Movie

The movie, Buck, came to the Ross Theater on Friday night, so I asked hubby, Tom, to go with me. Afterwards there was to be a question and answer session with Kip Fladland, who worked with Buck for 5 years. At the very least, I would see some extra insight into Buck. But at the very most, I would come away feeling something more inside me.

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.


Sarah said...

Glad you got to go to the movie. I"ve seen the adds on other people's blogs and webpages. Sounds like it was a thought provoking experience.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

It was exactly that for me, Sarah. For others, it could be to see what Buck was all about. For even others, it could have been just another video of a horse trainer. You get out of it what you want to.

I'm just so ready to move on to the next stage of my life!

thanks for sharing.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I never heard of that movie until I started reading you guys blogging about it. It sounds great. I agree that maybe you develop more empathy when you've had a hard time. You can relate.

That's some story about your colt. It changed my mind. I used to think all horse problems were always because of humans.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

thanks GP. I think we can all relate on some level, as we all have some hardship at some time.

Maybe some, and most issues, are human error. All I know, is that now I can honestly take the time that each horse needs, so that I don't encourage or start any of these problems. I have these next 2 foals to begin with. and 2 3-year olds that are needing to be started under saddle. I used to take the time they needed, then started rushing them, and now I'm back to going even slower.

What I have learned is to take the time that the horse needs, as they will be better by the time they are 6 or 7, and then for a life time!

Lori Skoog said...

I look forward to seeing this movie. Thanks for telling us about it.

JennC said...

I saw the movie Friday night. Excellent. I keep thinking about that darn stallion though. He may have been brain damaged, who knows but I agree with Buck - she failed him. He could have turned out OK but not only did he have to be bottle raised (that can cause issues in a normal horse) but she treated him like a freaking dog, kept him in the house. That is ridiculous. It's not necessarily the living in the house but you just know that woman did not treat him like a horse and you all saw the end result. A horse that has zero respect for humans.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

Lori, I think all horse people will like this movie.

Jenn, I agree, somewhat. That stallion had us jumping out of our seat. He was dangerous! I've only seen that behaviour on tv in wild stallions. I raised an orphan from 1 month, and orphans do not need to be bottle raised. We had him on milk starter, alfalfa, and he was left in with the other mares and babies. He came to the barn by himself, came right through the fence, and when we took him back out to the broodmare lot, he drank from the water tank. He got the nutrition he needed, plus he got the socialization from the other horses and babies. I still think that horse had something wrong - he did live with horses from a yearling on, I think??? Yes, he needed to learn to live with horses, not in a human house!

Susan1310 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan1310 said...

I'm dyin' to know if the owner of that crazy stallion ever followed through with having the horse put down. What the heck was she thinking, bringing that horse to Buck's clinic??? I TOTALLY agree with Buck, that she let the horse down. The horse could TOTALLY have been a cute gelding, packing kids down the trail, and just being a family pet. The owner thought it was "cute" that she had 18 more like that horse, at home. Dear God... How much liability can one person set herself up with. Personally, I'll bet she'd done nothing with the horse. If she was going to ever have done anything with the horse, it would have been before now. The horse should have been gelded, handled, and gentled BY the time he was a yearling. Typical hoarder mentality. She shouldn't have any horses.


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