A couple months ago, I received a post on Horse Family’s Facebook wall about this new film called “Buck”. I wasn’t at all familiar with the movie name, but I was very aware of Buck Brannaman and his training methods, so I went ahead and watched the trailer out of curiosity. What I saw in the 2.5 minute trailer nearly moved me to tears. I made up my mind that this was one movie I would do everything in my power to see.
Since the film wasn’t playing in my immediate area, I found a location that was more than 2 hours away in Rochester, New York at a place called The Little Theatre, that happened to be almost directly on the path of a road trip that was already on my schedule for July. Perfect timing.
Foreign to the city of Rochester, I ended up rolling in a few minutes late since my iPhone GPS was down (here’s a tip: don’t drop your iPhone in water, it might stop working) and my printed directions were a bit hard to navigate. Fortunately, I only missed the previews and walked into the theater just in enough time to see the movie start.
The film began with Buck Brannaman demonstrating his “old man walk” with one of his horses.
“When I get older, I may not be able to walk to the barn as fast,” he said. “I want my horse to walk at whatever pace I choose, even if it’s slower than he’d like.” A few chuckles were heard throughout the theater.
As the story begins, we first hear a bit about Buck’s present, later to hear more about his past. As an active clinician, he is currently on the road 40 weeks out of the year, teaching 4 day clinics around the country. “After about 4 days of being somewhere, I’m ready to move on to the next town,” Buck shared. There are many times when he goes a couple of months without seeing his family, but he does take his youngest daughter, Reata, with him on occasion.
Learning about Buck’s background as a child is undoubtedly one of the more heart wrenching parts of the film. Raised in a home with an abusive father, he grew up with a lot of fear, and was placed in a foster home along with his brother at a young age once the abuse was discovered. His foster parents helped him turn his life around and learn to trust. When he first began teaching riding clinics as a young adult, inspired by Ray Hunt’s methods, he recalls being overly introverted.
“I decided to do everything I could to overcome,” he said. His foster mom added, “He taught the clinics for free in the beginning because he was determined to get beyond his shyness.”
Buck points out multiple times throughout the movie that horses can be a direct reflection of a person’s soul; issues that you didn’t know you had start to come out when you begin working with horses. I began to think about my own life and the problems that I have encountered with my horse, and found myself very struck by the truth of this statement.
Ultimately, viewers will discover this movie to be very intriguing, touching onto a lot of emotion that goes beyond just the horse world. I believe that a lot of the principles found in Buck the Film can be translated into multiple avenues, and it is a film that one will want to watch over and over.
Note: If you’re looking to take your young ones to see Buck the Film, be aware that there is some mild language and some violent scenes. I personally wouldn’t take really small children to see this film because they may find a couple of the scenes disturbing and may not understand the depth of the situations being portrayed on screen.