So it has been less than 24 hours since I was at the Buck Brannaman clinic, and I am still so incredibly happy I was able to attend. I just feel so blessed to have had this experience, and took so much from the entire day. I was only a spectator, but because Buck has lived in my living room for the last two years through his DVDs , meeting him and seeing him interact with his horse, and listening to his advice and “How To’s” and stories was more than anything I could ever ask for. I think I may have been just as excited about the Buck clinic, as I am about my wedding day a year from now.
So we got to the Dover fairgrounds at 9am, and had the privilege of watching his am and afternoon clinics. And when both were over, we were allowed to enter the ring and meet Buck, take a picture, and I even got to ask a question. It was really an amazing moment for me, pretty much because I felt like already knew him. I have practiced being like him, and emulating his person for the better part of two years, I almost felt like he was a friend that made me a little nervous in his presence.
Don’t get me wrong, He spoke to me for about 30 seconds, but I felt such a calm energy from him that my nerves pretty much went away, and I just felt humble. I went over my question in my head about 40 times while I waited in the small line and definitely had to hold my hands together so I didn’t get shaky. I guess I felt a little silly being so nervous, but I guess it is so easy to do things the wrong way with horses… I didn’t want my question to come off in a nonsensical way. But Astrid and Dawn both told me I didn’t sound silly, and that I came off clear and concise. Which I swear that was just God or an Angel being with me at that moment, but normally I get tongue tied in situations like those.
My question was almost identical to this I think, “I inherited a horse with a bucking issue, that seems to be related to when I cinch him up. Over the past year I have been doing your techniques with Chief with the help of Astrid (pointed to Astrid) and he is so much better. But sometimes, out of the blue he still has reactive days, stemming from when I cinch him up tight. I am always very gentle, but after he reacts it takes me a little while to bring him back to a calm and ride-able state. Do you have any suggestions of what I could do to help prevent this?” Then Buck nodded his head and said, “What I would do is practice the groundwork without the saddle, really get him hooked on to you, before you saddle him up and ride him. Get him nice and calm and then saddle him up.”
I was so happy and thanked him. His suggestion is something I did last year but I have not done it this year. I usually saddle him in the barn, and then bring him out and start groundwork under saddle. So while maybe it is an extra step for me, if it can make things more secure for me, and create a happier atmosphere for Chief.
I will do a second post with all of my notes from the clinic.