Before meeting Buck Brannaman, I always thought that I was interacting with horses in a way that was kind. But he opened up a world of horsemanship that I never knew existed. He made me realize that I had been putting way too much pressure on the horse, using a lot of strong bits, and unnecessary power in my arms. I was being a kind of dictator and the horse and I weren’t really communicating.
Buck taught me that riding a horse is like dancing and that in order to lead you have to really connect with your partner. He was talking about leading horses but it was clear to me that his message and energy could bring a healing power to all kinds of relationships and communities. Being around him made me want people who didn’t have horses or live on a ranch to have access to the lessons that he was teaching me.
Ever since I first met Buck, there was something that kept gnawing at my heart that said, “You need to get this message out.” So even though I was not a filmmaker before “Buck,” the only way to get the message out that made sense to me was to do a film. I wanted it to be a hopeful film since we’re living in increasingly hopeless times.
Cindy Meehl is the director of “Buck.”
Editor’s Note: Because the power of connection is such an important piece of Buck’s message, we showed the film last year at the Garrison Institute’s The Chemistry of Connection retreat led by Daniel Goleman, Tara Bennett-Goleman, RJ “Bob” Sadowski, Jr, and Aaron Wolf.
RJ, who has worked with Buck and has a similar approach to horses, will be back at the Institute this year with horses Star and Red Cloud. These two horses will demonstrate deep mental connection through trust, respect and communication. And, as shown in “Buck,” these are lessons from horses that can help humans everywhere.