How & Why “Buck, the Film” Relates to Barrel Racing

How & Why “Buck, the Film” Relates to Barrel Racing
The early years in Wyoming – fortunate to be influenced by Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman.

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I’ve often said – “There’s a lot more to barrel racing, than barrel racing.” 

This understanding is a big part of why I chose to offer a copy of the award winning documentary movie, “Buck, the Film” to those who purchased the Secrets to Barrel Racing Success Pay it Forward Package during the book’s initial launch.

If you don’t get the “a lot more” part, your barrel racing will always be lacking.  That’s where Buck Brannaman comes in.  An early protégé of the legendary late horsemen, Ray Hunt and the Dorrance Brothers, Brannaman has dedicated his life to “helping horses with people problems.”

After having called Wyoming home for nearly 15 years, I’ve jumped at opportunities to be in the presence of these legendary horsemen and learn from them in person. I chose to offer the DVD as a free gift, because it brilliantly displays a message, actually many messages, that have been instrumental in my barrel racing success. In this article, I wanted to share more about how and why, these horsemen and this movie, have shaped my horsemanship and barrel racing path.

If you follow “Buck, the Film” on Facebook, you’ll see they regularly post images with quotes.  One of my recent favorites was this…

“My daughter’s all grown up now compared to what she was, but I used to say, I’ve got to have my horse to where if she’s leading my horse somewhere, and she’s got a big armload of Barbies and drops something out of her hand, that son of a buck ought to stop and respect her while she’s gathering up all her dolls and not to walk on her or take advantage of her. And if I’ve done my work right, by gosh, that’s what they’ll do.” – Buck Brannaman

Provide supervision to children, and education to horses.
Provide supervision to children, and education to horses.

The lesson in this, is that horsemanship and riding is, like Buck says, all about a DANCE.  It’s about two individuals honoring and respecting each other’s space.  In Secrets to Barrel Racing Success, I go into depth about how to honor this space – at high levels the result is true collection and quality movement that is necessary for an explosive barrel run.

If your horse invades your space on the ground, gets strong and wants to take off in the alley, doesn’t want to go in the gate, comes wide out of turns, shoulders going into turns, or if your horse wouldn’t think twice about running over a small child, whatever it is – then there is a disconnect in this “dance.”  One partner is NOT holding up their end of the deal.

The thing to realize though, is that it’s the responsibility of the human partner, to show the equine partner, how this is done and what is expected.  When the equine acts like a partner, then there is peace for him, and that’s all horses really want.

Another quote from Buck…

“You get that horse to really operate as if he’s your legs and you can take that anywhere you want. You can dress up in any kind of clothes you like. You can be a jumper, dressage rider, trail rider, cowboy, anything.” – Buck Brannaman

This quote reminds me of the day I listened to Ray Hunt say that when you’re in unity and harmony with your horse, he should be willing to go “up a highline pole, or down a badger hole.”  What this means, is that when you and your horse are ONE, there is nothing you can’t do together. The goal is for your horse to “go and whoa” when you do, and always be willing to do so, no matter the circumstances.  When you have this, you have control, trust, respect and responsiveness that you can rely on, even in stressful situations, even in the alley – under ALL circumstances!

Horses don't lie.
Horses don’t lie.

Last summer I had an a few opportunities to help “make the big circle” and check on cattle with a friend and her dad on their South Dakota ranch.  We got to visiting about people who have trouble with their horses.  I commented that “a problem horse is a reflection of their rider’s ignorance.”  My friends dad looked at me, a little surprised and confused, and asked, “So you’re saying that an ignorant horse, is due to an ignorant rider!?”  I looked him in the eye, smiled, and said, “YES, exactly.”

“That absolute pure honesty of the horse, man that’s just the greatest thing there is…” – Buck Brannaman

This might come across as surprising, confusing, maybe a little hard to swallow for some, but I’ve seen (and personally experienced) examples of it over and over, so much now, that it can’t be denied.  It’s important to remember that “ignorant” is not a dirty word, it just means we don’t know.

Of course there are some horses that are more talented than others, and some that are more naturally more confident. And in many cases, one rider has to deal with the ignorance in a horse left by a rider before them.

The key to really understanding this though, comes in realizing that the qualities that we perceive as “good or bad” in a horse, are often either brought out and further developed OR dimmed down, because of their experiences with us.  Horses are a product of their environment.  Not every one will make an NFR caliber horse, but the negative or positive characteristics they display, have a lot to do with the education we provide them. 

As humans, it’s our responsibility to shape them. Sometimes we do a good job of that, sometimes we don’t.  Horses really are the most honest communicators we’ll come across. Sometimes, the truth hurts.

If we’re committed to never ending self-development, we’ll begin to notice our mistakes and take responsibility to learn how to help horses succeed.  If we haven’t been doing that all along, we can certainly start doing so without beating ourselves up.  We’re all ignorant to varying degress in different areas – doing the best with what we’ve got in the moment. The path you want to avoid, is to continue pointing the finger at the horse, to continue thinking that “it’s just the way he is,” or that you haven’t contributed to the issue, or can’t do anything about it.

“Everything you do with a horse, it’s a dance.” – Buck Brannaman

There is plenty we can do to set a horse up for success, and to solve already existing issues.  Don’t throw your hands up in the air – LEARN instead.  So many times, when you do, you find out that “the alley issue, the stopping issue, the feet issues – or any other issue,” was actually interpreted incorrectly, and that it’s really NOT about the alley, or the bit, or the feet, it was about something deeper…  something the horse needed, that you weren’t providing.

A big part of what is about, is debunking myths, getting to the heart of issues that frustrate barrel racers, pulling back the curtain on the REAL reasons why you’re not clocking, to provide real, lasting solutions that open up doors to barrel racing success you have always dreamed of. 

That’s why I titled my book Secrets to Barrel Racing Success.  It’s “the secrets” your horse has been trying to tell you, that have finally been brought to barrel racers, by a barrel racer, who’s personally witnessed and experienced the miraculous transformations that occur in horses and humans when they discover these missing pieces, and apply them in competition.

That’s what “Buck, the Film” is about too, and that’s why I want you to see it.  It will change things for you, it will open up a new world. 

Horses are our mirror, in many ways.  Just like the movie trailer above says, “Sometimes you might not like what you see, sometimes you will.” 

Although you may have missed your chance to receive a FREE copy of “Buck, the Film,” you can still click HERE to get a life changing book as well as other free gifts (my Speed Guide) with content I think you’ll enjoy, apply and see positive results from.

If you’re a fan of the teachings of Ray Hunt, the Dorrance Brothers and Buck Brannaman, OR enjoyed this article – let’s here it in the comments!

6 replies
  1. Breanna
    Breanna says:

    I have watched buck the film and it is the best horse documentary and it taught me a lot.

    Gotta Gallop,
    Breanna & Toolarah

  2. Joanna Wallace
    Joanna Wallace says:

    I can’t tell you HOW glad I was to see you promote Buck’s teaching and his lineage of horsemanship. I’ve been to his clinics and studied his methods for years and it’s truly a game changer. I wish all barrel racers would get his 7 Clinics dvds so they could see just how great the relationship can be and help their horses truly ENJOY the sport, not just tolerate it.


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