“Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will.” So says Buck Brannaman, a true American cowboy and sage on horseback who travels the country for nine grueling months a year helping horses with people problems.
BUCK, a richly textured and visually stunning film, follows Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real-life “horse-whisperer”, he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. Buck possesses near magical abilities as he dramatically transforms horses – and people – with his understanding, compassion and respect. In this film, the animal-human relationship becomes a metaphor for facing the daily challenges of life. A truly American story about an unsung hero, BUCK is about an ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds.
I met Buck at one of his clinics eight years ago. In four days, he taught me more about horses than anyone ever had in all the decades I’d been dealing with them. Even more compelling was watching how he could instill the feeling of power in someone when they were afraid and had given up hope, whether it was about their horse or their life. Buck’s personal story, as I came to know it, also deeply resonated with me. How he rose above the violence of his childhood, and applied the hard-learned lessons to training horses humanely and respectfully was profoundly inspirational. Buck has a unique ability to help people reconfigure the way they perceive both horses and humans, and the principles he teaches can become life altering. How he treats and works with these animals reverberates beyond the round pen and the arena. Overcoming a horse’s fear and earning its trust has a lot in common with raising a child or sustaining a relationship.
I was inspired to make a film because I felt it was the best way to introduce this charismatic cowboy to the general public and not just “horse people.” It was a huge leap of faith, as I had never made a film before. However, I have always loved John Burroughs’s saying, “Leap, and the net will appear.” It did.
It has been a joy and tremendous life lesson to have connected with Buck Brannaman’s unique world; it runs at a different pace and embodies the most fundamental of human values. With my film BUCK, I hope I can share a fraction of what this experience has given to me.
~ Cindy Meehl
Learn more and find a location to watch at: buckthefilm.com