You’ve just come out of a movie feeling intense emotions of love, kindness towards others, the good in life, and you long to share and inspire others to pay it forward.
This is how I felt after seeing the movie “Buck.”
“Buck” is the story of Buck Brannaman, a true cowboy who endured a violent, abusive upbringing, and succeeded in overcoming tremendous personal odds.
After years of being physically beaten by his alcoholic father, Buck was placed in a loving foster home where he developed a phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real-life “horse-whisperer”, he is described as the “real deal” by Robert Redford. Everyone who meets Buck for the first time is taken by his authenticity.
Buck admits that the violence of his upbringing transformed him into the person he has become today, and his approach is to teach people to communicate with their horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. He’s able to transform horses and people with the approach,
“I’m helping horses with people problems,”
and the movie succeeds in showing us the animal-human relationship and how it becomes a metaphor for facing the daily challenges of life.
I’ve never been exposed to horses, ranches or cowboys. Growing up in the suburbs of Paris with museums, cultural events and gourmet restaurants, could not be further from a cowboy’s lifestyle, yet Buck showed me the human side of horses and an understanding of how they can teach us so much about our own insecurities, problems and character flaws.
Buck Brannaman explains that a horse views a human tossing a saddle on his back much the way he would view a lion attack. He has a way of explaining to some doubting horse owners, who attend his clinics, his techniques which are all based on love and not punishment.
“Your horse is a mirror of you. Some may not like what they see. Some might.”
His no nonsense advice reminds me of the approach that Dr. Phil takes with those who seek help on his show. Buck shows us that raising horses is like raising children, they need guidelines and sometimes “tough love” is also required to build trust and mutual respect. Trying to bribe a horse with carrots and sugar leads to a spoiled, unresponsive horse, the same argument can be made for that type of parenting approach.
Strangely enough, you never see Buck whisper; he just snaps and waves a couple of red flags to convince the animal he cares about them. He has the ability to control any horse, even the feistiest and most deadly horses, and manages to appease them by remaining calm and non-threatening.
Buck is equally successful in his interaction with people and he holds clinics all over the West to show owners and trainers how to tame the liveliest colts. The movie shows his loving relationship with his wife and daughter, who performs at rodeos with him two months out of the year.
Buck’s turnaround was in great part due to the love he received from his foster mother. She is a delightful old lady who raised Buck with all the love that he didn’t receive from his own dad. Her love for Buck is obvious and what struck me as a major learning lesson in this film is just how much a parent can influence a child’s life into adulthood. I sensed that everyone watching the film was thinking about two things:
- their childhood and the choices they have made as adults.
- their parenting skills.
Have you seen the movie? Please share your thoughts even if you haven’t seen Buck.