#74 What Linda thinks about Buck

Mar 30, 2023

A few years back I was having dinner with a group of colleagues. We were there supporting Linda Parelli during a clinic she taught in Washington State. We had the opportunity to ask lots of questions and (surprise, surprise) I had a couple...

I had recently watched Buck Brannaman teaching a clinic in the same location Linda was teaching. I have a huge amount of admiration for Buck and wondered what Linda's experience was with him. I asked her if she'd ever met him and seen him teach. 

One of the things I admire about Linda is her professionalism. I haven't ever heard her bad mouth another professional. I have heard her share differing opinions but not bad mouth them. She immediately shared her admiration for his level of mastery. 

I then asked her about one of the big differences I see in their teaching- Buck puts a lot of focus on where the weight is and the feet. To the point that my brain hurt trying to follow the precision of what he was asking for- I still have a lot to learn in this area. I loved what she shared next. 

She basically said that Buck asked for responsiveness and precision from his horses because he has the goal of creating a safe partner when it comes to working cattle. If you have a horse that is mediocre with yielding and has their mind in other places than where you are asking it- it can be really dangerous when it comes to doing a job like working cattle. 

She then shared that her goal is to have a happy horse. A horse who is happy to meet her at the gate. It's not that she isn't working toward excellence- because if you've seen her ride- you'll know that she is. But her dream is to dance together and to have fun- so the need for immediate response is different. Taking a step back to look at what Buck was trying to create in his horses allowed her to have respect for what he was doing even though what he focused on was different than what she did. It would've been easy for her to see this difference as right vs. wrong but she didn't because she looked at it from his perspective. 

An incident that happened recently got me thinking back to that conversation with Linda. An incident that led a group of people to disagree about why a horse behaved the way it did. It got me thinking about how where we've been on our horsemanship journey and where we are now can sometimes get us stuck into the trap of thinking that our view is the right one and differing ones are wrong. Instead of that we're just in different places with different understandings. 

I do believe that there are cases where something is wrong- like in the case of neglect or abuse- but often times differing opinions are just a case of where someone is on their journey, their level of experience and what they're hoping to achieve. 

We miss a lot when we get stuck in the trap of "I'm right, so you must be wrong." I know this from experience- from times I've gotten caught in that trap. Curiosity takes a backseat to a level of righteousness and we stop learning. 

I loved how Linda took Buck's background and goals into account, leaving room for the differences between the two of them which left an opening for them to learn from each other. 

The horse world can be a brutally judgmental place where people cheat themselves out of learning new things in the quest to be right... We have so much more in common though- we're all on a journey of learning- complete with the twists and turns, the moments of joy and the moments of washing the dirt from our faces. 

I wonder what all of these words have gotten you thinking about...  

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