Friday, June 17, 2011

Gentle chinuch - with horses


When the soulful cowboy philosopher Buck Brannaman talks, people — and horses — listen. The aw-shucks star and one of the two-legged attractions in the documentary “Buck,” Mr. Brannaman is a former trick rope performer who, after a childhood of pain, became something of a shaman and an inspiration for the novel and movie “The Horse Whisperer.” He doesn’t just talk to the animals; he also transforms snorting, bucking horses into companions who follow his lead without a tether and even join him in a graceful meadow duet. [....]

If there’s nothing essentially remarkable about Buck Brannaman’s bad childhood, there is something exceptional about how he transcended it. After knocking around in his early 20s, he had his mind blown while watching a clinic with Ray Hunt and his teacher, Tom Dorrance, modern pioneers in a gentle training method — a philosophy, really — that’s called, perhaps paradoxically (as PETA might insist), natural horsemanship. Smitten by what he saw, Mr. Brannaman embraced these methods, became a disciple of the men and of Mr. Dorrance’s brother, Bill, and went on to spread the word. It’s a measure of the passion this approach inspires that in the book “The Greatest Horse Stories Ever Told,” one observer rhapsodizes: “Tom Dorrance is Yoda, Ray Hunt is Obi-Wan Kenobi and Buck Brannaman is Luke Skywalker!”

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