About a week ago, I had a long day and wanted to just chill out and watch a movie. Of course, I went straight to Netflix to watch “Buck” for the millionth time (seriously guys, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that documentary).

I watched it for the first time when I was 12, just after it came out. I was in absolute awe of Buck. To say I was inspired would be an understatement. I’ve always deeply admired his ability to connect and communicate with horses seemingly effortlessly. He is absolutely amazing!

They mentioned Walkertown, NC in the documentary, and I thought I’d look up his clinic dates to see when/if he was coming back to NC. I was thrilled to see he was coming that weekend! Like how coincidental was that?

I texted my good friend Liz and asked if she wanted to drive up with me. She’s rides too, so of course she was down to go. She came over Sunday night, and we left early Monday morning. It was so nice watching the sun rise over the vast fields we passed…gah, I love mornings!

After getting lost, driving up to someone else’s farm, and pulling into the wrong part of the right farm, we finally made it. I low-key fangirled when I saw his trailer…does that make me crazy? Oh well.

We walked up to the arena to see Buck and about a dozen horses with their riders. Again with the fangirling, lol. We saw a few people sitting on the half-wall surrounding the arena, so we joined. It was a super laid-back, welcoming environment. Everyone was so friendly!

I was instantly enchanted by the way he worked with his horse and the others. Part of me assumed he wouldn’t be quite as impressive in person, as professional movies and photos are most often “polished” versions of the person, place, etc. That definitely wasn’t the case for Buck though. The amazingly brilliant and gifted genius in the documentary is the exact same-if not better-in real life.

In the other clinics I’ve audited/participated in, the clinicians focused seemingly solely on your position and the tools you can use to improve yourself or horse, while he focused on your mindset and presence, and how to truly communicate with the animal. “Most of us ride 90% physical and 10% mental, but if you can learn to ride 90% mental and 10% physical…you’d be far better off.” -Buck Brannaman

Every single horse there looked so happy and content. Sure, there were moments of frustration, but not once did they look afraid. The few negative moments were brief, and overpowered by the immense amount of trust, love and partnership each horse and rider shared. It was truly so inspiring and refreshing to be around so many positive people and horses who all have a genuine desire to learn, connect and grow.

Buck’s presence was so calming and peaceful, yet powerful and complex. His mere existence makes a statement, and an impact on both the human and equine mind. I’m so glad I was able to audit one of his clinics, and hope to participate in one when he comes back next year!

Thanks for reading! It was such a great experience, I just had to write about it. I highly recommend watching his documentary if you haven’t already seen it. It’’s so beautiful!

XO,

Madi