August 2011. Another wonderful Buck Brannaman clinic has passed. There were the usual contingent of clinic regulars (diehard junkies), a strong percentage of welcome new riders, and a terrific turnout of sincere spectators.
Spectators came from the surrounding area (several states) and both American Coasts (California, Oregon, Washingtonand Florida) with a few delightful Canadians thrown in for fun. It was intense learning and a social gathering, which I often refer to as a “huge party with horses and dogs.”
In addition to the clinic, we enjoyed a prime rib dinner with friends involved in the filming and a screening of the movie, “Buck.” Special guests included: Betsy Shirley, Johnny France, Janice Cleverly, Film Editor Toby Shimin, Director Cindy Meehl, Brian Meehl and friend-in-tow Bobby (hereinafter recognized as “the New York charmer”).
It was a joy to have Documentary Filmmaker Cindy and entourage re-join us for a clinic. Filming and Cindy’s dedication to integrity created a bond that will last our lifetime. For Editor Toby, it was the “real deal,” her first chance to see us in person after watching us all on film for hours on end. When I asked Toby about the live experience, she joked, “I miss the music.” Me, too. That evocative music will be in my brain, forever.
There were also many emotional moments. At dinner, Johnny France gave a toast acknowledging his own debt to foster mother Betsy Shirley. After the movie screening, Buck expressed his love for the people in his life and thanked Johnny, Betsy and Coach Cleverly’s widow Janice for saving his life. Not a dry eye in the house.
The spectators got a special thrill when the Big Blue, Longhorn Bull decided to check out the surroundings. Jumping two fences, the bull ended up in the seating area. People started scrambling, until Buck quietly announced, “Leave him alone, he’s fine.” Big Blue wandered around the people and chairs, around the indoor arena, over to the other side of the outdoor arena, where he jumped the fence to get back inside the arena. Rather amazing to watch all that blue tonnage heft itself over a five foot fence. Chaulk it up to one of those “Western” life experiences.
Working with Longhorns has a physical and audible harmony. Horned animals demand respect from riders and each other. They don’t hurt one another, they respect each other’s space. Riders have to respect those horns, too. The sound of horns touching (clacking) is soothing, somehow. Buck and I agreed, it has a pleasant, musical sound.
The weather was perfect, the people a joy, the horses comforted by their riders, who all improved. Being Buck’s sponsor is an honor and a blessing.
For more information on “Buck” the movie, go to http://cedarcreekmedia.com/