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Movie About Buck Brannaman
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Annie F
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 Posted: Tue May 31st, 2011 02:37 am
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Dr. Deb and friends,

Anyone familiar with this film about Buck? Opinions (e.g. worth seeing)?

http://www.buckthefilm.com/index.htm

By the way, in September Buck is coming to 7 Springs Farm in Pittstown, NJ. http://www.ldhorses.com/index.html

It’s a beautiful facility; someone here (perhaps Indy?) attended a clinic there a year or so ago and reported a very good experience. They are also hosting Joe Wolter in June, and Bryan Neubert in August. Truly fantastic opportunities here in the mid-Atlantic this year (not to mention that Mike Schaffer lives in this area and does clinics and lessons).

Annie F

I'm editing this to clarify that I'm not asking whether Buck is worth seeing; I wonder whether the movie does justice to his horsemanship.

Last edited on Tue May 31st, 2011 03:07 am by Annie F

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue May 31st, 2011 04:36 am
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Annie, I don't believe the movie was made in order to justify or 'do justice to' Buck's horsemanship. Buck's horsemanship is what it is -- you just go ride with him, and keep your eyes open and your ears open and that will be a great advantage to you. The film has a different story to tell, which you would know more about already if you had read Buck's autobiography that came out several years ago.

For reviews of the film, you can go to the current issue of The Eclectic Horseman, where extensive information is given, including some comments by Buck and the producer.

The film won First Prize for documentary films at the Sundance Film Festival this year. I'm planning to see it as soon as that becomes possible. -- Dr. Deb

Indy
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 Posted: Tue May 31st, 2011 12:30 pm
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Annie,
I have gone to a couple of clinics at 7 Springs Farm and love it there. The facility is beautiful, the people are super and they have great clinicians. I agree that we are so lucky to have them in this area. I plan to audit the clinic with Buck this year.
Clara

Jeannie
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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2011 06:27 pm
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Hi all,
   I got to see" Buck" this past weekend. It is Buck's story, a powerful one, and well worth going to watch. Just seeing him being with the horses, his own and others, you will learn a lot on different levels.

  You leave deeply impressed by Buck, the person.

                                Jeannie

Annie F
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 Posted: Tue Jun 28th, 2011 06:37 pm
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Jeannie,

I saw it too, and completely agree. It's a wonderful experience. They've done a beautiful job and he is one of a kind. Don't let your friends who aren't horsepeople think it's not for them, but there is especially food for thought for those of us who are.

Annie

 

Dorinda
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 Posted: Wed Jun 29th, 2011 02:07 am
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Hi all

 

Buck is coming to Australia next year and I can't wait to see him in person and go to his clinic. It will be very exciting.

 

Cheers

Dorinda

Jeannie
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 Posted: Fri Jul 29th, 2011 09:06 pm
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Since there are a number of down under folk on this forum, I thought I would pass on that Buck the film will be playing in both the Melbourne and New Zealand International Film Festivals.
                                               Jeannie

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Aug 10th, 2011 06:00 am
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Folks -- I've finally had an opportunity to go see the film "Buck", which is playing in my area at the State Theatre in downtown Modesto, California, through Thursday August 11th. Showtimes are 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday and only 4 p.m. Thursday.

Now that I've viewed the film, I want to offer you all a synopsis of SOME of the meaning that it had for me. Because, of course, I was there too when Buck was learning from Ray, and could see some of it myself. I know firsthand how completely riveted Buck was when he first met Ray, and why Buck mourned when Ray died. I mourned too, and still do, because what Ray taught was so important and the way he taught it was so undeniable -- once you began to see it and feel it, and you started to "go to bed thinking about it and get up thinking about it," there would be no turning back. It would be a way of being with horses and a commitment for the rest of your life. I am very pleased, but not surprised, to hear Buck say in the interview about the film recently printed in "The Eclectic Horseman", that after all the hoopla from the film dies down -- as it surely will -- Buck will go right back to doing his calling, which is the real work.

Structurally and cinematographically, "Buck" owes a lot to Ray's old film "Turning Loose". Both films exist for the purpose of raising peoples' consciousness -- not merely polemicizing, and certainly not for giving instructions as to particular techniques either for riding or handling. At the end of "Buck", Buck says: "I thought this was going to be about a better way to start colts....but I found out that wasn't what it was about at all!" And what it is about is: turning loose.

Ironically, Buck is better at this than Ray was. But Ray was a man of another generation; a man old enough to be my father or Buck's grandfather. Children of the Great Depression were often abused -- one way or another -- and even if they weren't actually horsewhipped, boys were often forced to work like men -- so hard that they had to get tough or else starve, because for many families at that time, including my own, there was no food and no money. But men born in the 1920's did not speak of these things. In my experience, what they typically did was become "silent" as well as strong, bottling up their feelings, and sharing their abuse histories, if at all, only in the most oblique terms. So Ray did not say much, and he never allowed any producer to weave the plot of a film around how he had been treated as a boy. He merely said that Tom Dorrance had helped him to change, and we who knew both of them certainly could see that still happening even when both were old men.

But Buck is a child of a later generation, and he's much more able to talk about the severe physical abuse he suffered as a child. Buck is also more of a campaigner. In the interview with EH, he mentions that even if a person got nothing out of the "horse" part of "Buck", they might pick up on how important it is to provide good foster homes for kids who have been abused. Buck was lucky in this way, as one can see, as his foster-mother Mrs. Shirley, for all Buck's camera-presence, nearly steals the whole show. She certainly makes a great excuse for all of you to drag your non-horsey friends to see the film! Bring your school counselor, your church Sunday School teacher, the minister or priest, or anyone else you know who works with kids! Even they will be able to "get" this sub-plot -- i.e. the parallel that the film draws between the palomino stud-colt, the rogue, the killer, and the man that Buck might have become had he not fallen into the Shirley family.

Now, I did mention above that both "Turning Loose" and "Buck" polemicize; and as someone who also teaches horsemanship clinics, I can only stand up and cheer. I hope Buck can hear me cheering wherever his trailer happens to be parked at the present moment. Because, of course, I have horse-owning acquaintances -- I won't call them students because they refuse to act like students -- who most certainly do need to see the film -- EITHER film. And maybe when I suggest to them that they go see the film they still won't -- but maybe Buck -- and all the publicity around this film, which "Turning Loose" never got -- can charm 'em into it, after all.

One of our longtime good students likes to refer to "Turning Loose" as "my get-religion tape," and "Buck" takes the same themes, expands on them, and updates them to some current concerns. Here's a list:

-- Graphic depiction of the harm done by "tying them up or tying them down"; against the Rollkur, which is explicitly pictured; against all tiedown devices, developers, bitting harnesses; with interviews with show "devotees" who no longer are willing to inflict this on their horses.

-- Some shots of superior loading technique. "Turning Loose" goes into this more than "Buck" does.

-- How to properly use a horse to work cattle, with many images of superior cattle work, including penning, sorting, cutting, and roping. Footage from the Californios contest, but also from clinics.

-- The value of cattle work to developing the dressage horse; the lady comes on there and says 'I get my dressage horse to thinking that when he's doing a dressage test, he's actually practicing for work on cattle; and that if he does good, I'll reward him by putting him on some cattle soon.' Of course, this is reality as it really existed throughout history: dressage, like reining, used to be referred to as 'dry work', meaning 'pattern work without cattle.'

-- The value of higher schooling (I will not say 'dressage', but you all know I mean the maneuvers of the Classical High School) to ranch work of all forms. There is beautiful footage of Buck's horse doing all three forms of lateral work, halt-to-canter transitions, and collected trot and canter. All of it is lovely, soft, fluid, scopey, interested, focused, and, did I say soft already?

-- The difference between rough and firm, a topic that's been discussed here many times, and is also brought out in "Turning Loose".

-- Response with respect -- what that looks like when it's there, as well as when it is not there; a basic principle of Tom Dorrance's teaching

-- What "hooking on" and "feel" mean in practice -- again basic principles of this school

Probably the strongest message delivered by "Buck" the film is the sub-plot involving the palomino stud-colt and its owner. She exemplifies a type of student we see quite often -- perhaps not quite to the same extent, but at nearly every clinic. The lady is living a fantasy at her animal's expense. The fantasy is that she is "psychically connected" to the animal -- that she, and no one else, could possibly know what is "really" going on in him (i.e. because she is his mother, and mothers always know). It is, of course, at the animal's expense because to the animal, she is not his mother; she's just in the way. Buck sums it up by saying: "the basic problem is that he didn't get enough blocking at the time it was needed."

The polemic here, of course, is against imprinting -- which should bar-none never be practiced by anyone who is not qualified. And the person who is not qualified is the person who (a) narcissistically cannot separate herself from the animal, so that what she is feeling and thinking "must be" what the colt is feeling or thinking; (b) does not understand what 'to get small enough' means and practice it when the horse is a neonate and foal; (c) does not understand what blocking means and does not have the timing to execute it perfectly, and with perfect timing, every time it is needed. Like nothing else, the palomino stud-colt brings home what Ray used to mean when people would ask him at a clinic, "what about that imprinting, Ray?" and he would say, "You need to let a foal be a foal," in other words, keep your hands off until the animal is big enough to stand your clumsiness a little bit.

For it is the woman's failed attempt to imprint the foal -- whether she would actually call it that or not is a moot point -- that turned him into a rogue, or as Buck puts it, "....as close to a predator as you could get." Buck says: "You need to understand that it's not all warm and fuzzy and cosmic. First, you need to be a parent."

In other words: you need to have some standards, and they need to be the right standards, appropriate to the horse and the situation, and you need to be present for the horse at all times so that you can make sure that both you and he are living up to those standards. We discussed this recently in another thread, which seemed to have quite a bit of meaning for some of you.

That's my short list of the lessons taught in "Buck" -- all of it is stuff that every horse owner should see, and for those of you who hope to become great horsemen and horsewomen, "Buck" is a must-see as well. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

 

JTB
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 Posted: Thu Aug 11th, 2011 09:02 am
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Really looking forward to going to see 'Buck'. I am trying to track down a copy of 'Turning Loose', the places I have looked say it is out of stock. Does anyone know where I can find this, was it only ever on VHS or did it come out on DVD?
Cheers Judy

AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Aug 11th, 2011 02:05 pm
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I believe they've stopped making copies of that one, actually, since I remember seeing a notice of that through the Eclectic Horseman newletter.

There were DVD copies made, however, so I'm sure a little bit of work on Ebay or a used video site might turn up a copy.

Last edited on Thu Aug 11th, 2011 02:06 pm by AdamTill

Indy
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 Posted: Fri Aug 12th, 2011 02:59 am
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I saw "Buck" last night. Other then just watching Buck on his horse, listening to Ms. Shirley was my favorite part. The world needs more people like her and her husband. I wonder if the woman with the colt made some changes in her life after meeting Buck.
Clara

ilam
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 Posted: Fri Aug 12th, 2011 06:54 pm
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I still was able to get a copy of "Turning Loose" from Out West saddlery, but I guess I was lucky, since I don't see it on their site any more just now. When I bought it they told me they had a few copies left.

I also thought there was a resemblance of those two films when the documentary first started. I can't wait until BUCK is out on DVD. Since Buck is about my age and I also came from an abusive family background I can relate to so much of this. I read Buck's books years ago, before I ever went to his clinics, and one reason it took me so long to finally muster it up to go and audit was The Faraway Horses. I honestly thought I would not be able to see him and be able to hold it together - so it took a couple of years before I made it to the Texas clinic. I wished I had had Betsy as my mother, she's a hoot!

I just now started to understand what "turning loose" really means, and it will take me quite a while to learn to be better at it, at least in some moments, I can get wound pretty tight.... I wished more people would get this and not just see the movie and the information being presented by the likes of Tom, Ray and Buck at the surface, but it is hard to teach people how to think and to be able to look at themselves in the mirror.

Isabel

RobVSG
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 Posted: Sat Aug 13th, 2011 02:34 am
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I just watched "Buck" this evening. My head is still swirling so that I probably shoundn't even be posting right now.
For the moment, a point that really stood out to me when Buck accepts no excuses and talks about what the palomino colt could have been in the right hands, drawing a similarity to children with special needs.
Made me feel like hugging my mother-in-law. She raised a son with cerebral palsy and accepted no excuses. My brother-in-law is now 36 years old and a fine person to be around.
From a horseman perspective, I appreciate the "90 percent mental/ 10 percent physical". That's where I want to get to all the time. I think I've felt moments like that here and there, but I want to get a good hold on it, to be able to call that feel up consistently.
Anyways, besides all that, if any of yous goes to see "Buck", don't be quick to leave as soon as the credits start rolling. I love Mrs Shirley!!!!

Viking
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 Posted: Sat Aug 13th, 2011 04:25 pm
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My husband looked on Amazon last night and found "Buck" to be released 10/04/2011.

JTB
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 Posted: Sun Aug 14th, 2011 12:51 am
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Thanks for the help and suggestions on finding 'Turning Loose' I think I have sourced a DVD, it is on back order, I will know by the end of the week, if it is a goer, then I can let everyone know where I got it! Cheers Judy


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