We at TSB are very honored to have been part of the team that brought the 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVD SET to life. Together with Director Cindy Meehl and Cedar Creek Productions, we immersed ourselves in this remarkable horseman’s world of working with horses and the people who want to be with them. Along the way, you can’t help but notice what a fine orator Brannaman is, and when you randomly pull snippets from his lessons, you find that every thought, even shared in a different venue, in a different state, at a different time, with different students, flows seamlessly into his overarching message. Here, then, find 20 of Buck Brannaman’s best quotes. When you’ve read them all, don’t be surprised if you feel like you learned a little something. Even after hearing them and reading them again and again, we still do.
1 “The essence of preparation is to position your horse to where the one thing that he’s most likely to do is exactly what you had in mind…which makes it a perfect time to ask him.”
2 “The horse needs to respect you, but sometimes people confuse respect and fear. And they’re not the same at all.”
3 “Make sure that every time you take a hold of the horse, you have a point; you have a legitimate reason for doing it rather than it just being accidental or you not being aware.”
4 “When riding, ask yourself, ‘What will my horse get out of this if I get what I want?’ Many times, human nature is to take and to not give anything back.“
5 “It’s just like learning how to dance with another human being. You might think you’re really getting something done when you’ve both mastered the hokey-pokey, but depending on how much you want to dance and your passion for dancing, you’re probably going to work your way through the hokey-pokey and move on to something else.”
6 “I don’t believe in waiting for a horse to do the wrong thing and then punishing him after the fact. You can’t just say ‘No’ to a horse. You have to redirect a negative behavior with a positive one—something that works for both of you. It’s as though you’re saying, ‘Instead of doing that, we can do this…together.’”
7 “Fear has to do with helplessness. The only thing that conquers it is knowledge. When you learn about how a horse thinks and makes decisions, that helplessness goes away.”
8 “I’m just trying to get people to understand horses. You have to be consistent and logical, use your brain, and not be emotional and not lose your temper.”
9 “Feel for the horse. I can’t stress how important this is.”
10 “Respect the fact that he’s thinking, that he’s searching… if he ever found that out about you, he wouldn’t dream of bucking you off.”
11 “You can be a leader without being intimidating. The horse can be your partner without being your slave. I’m trying to keep the best part of the horse in there. I’m not trying to take anything away from him.”
12 “The horse isn’t so different from us. In order to learn, you have to make mistakes. Then you recalibrate, make a decision, try something different, and try again.”
13 “To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing a horse think…and someone allowing a horse to think.”
14 “The idea with a horse is when you see things going in the wrong direction, then you redirect his mind. You don’t wait for him to get into trouble…you try to keep him out of trouble.”
15 “A lot of people, they want it all to be fuzzy and warm and cosmic, but it’s no different with a horse than with a kid…You can’t always be the kid’s best friend. First you have to be the parent.”
16 “You can be strict, but that doesn’t mean you have to be unfair.”
17 “The horse responds to comfort, they respond to peace better than about anything else you could do. So if the horse responds to you and you give him a little peace and comfort that means more to him than anything.”
18 “Where you end up your ride on a horse is so important. It’s a little bit like when you were young and you were dating—that last two minutes of the date can be a real deal breaker. With these horses it’s the same thing…You got to quit on a good note.”
19 “I’ve always wanted to do the right thing by a horse, that’s never changed, its just that as my knowledge grew I’ve been able to offer the horse a better human being.”
20 “I’m still on the move, I’m getting better because I’m still studying. I still want to be a better horseman.”
7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.
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Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.