Buck (2011) is a documentary that follows Dan “Buck” Brannaman, a chap that’s been running horse training clinics around the USA since the early 80’s. After his physical abuse at the hands of his father was discovered by a sports teacher, he was moved to a foster family. After coming into contact with Ray Hunt in his late teens, his childhood interest in horsemanship blossomed into his lifelong work with horses.
After offering clinics for around a decade, he came to the attention of writer Nick Evans, he became involved with the film The Horse Whisperer. Robert Redford‘s commentary on his dealings with Brannaman on the film and vice versa made me smile somewhat, proving Buck problem-solving skills. It wasn’t all smiles and rainbows, the film later showing a clinic of a rather difficult case of an abnormally violent horse that kept attacking people. Buck Brannaman is quite humble talking about his life and the people that have mentored him over the years.
This documentary may not immediately appeal to non-horse people, but its strength is in its discussion of psychology and human nature. It is about the human condition and how we address our experiences. Time and time again, we are shown the similarities between human and animal psychology. Like horses, human behavior often has to be decoded, which is where understanding ourselves and those around us comes in handy. In conclusion, I loved this documentary and recommend it to anyone with an interest in people and psychology.