Buck Brannaman

For over 40 years, Buck Brannaman has been working with horses and their owners and today is one of the world’s leading practitioners of handling horses based on classical concepts from the California vaquero tradition; working with the horse’s nature, using an understanding of how horses think and communicate to train the horse to accept humans and work confidently and responsively with them.

One of Buck’s stated goals is to make the animal feel safe and secure around humans so that the horse and rider can achieve a true union.

Buck was for many years a disciple of Ray Hunt, one of the founders of the natural horsemanship movement, and inspired by Tom and Bill Dorrance.

Brannaman now teaches clinics worldwide. About the clinics, he has noted, “the goal for clinics really is to just try to get the human being to understand as much about their horse as I can help them to understand.

Brannaman has written:
“I’ve started horses since I was 12 years old and have been bit, kicked, bucked off and run over. I’ve tried every physical means to contain my horse in an effort to keep from getting myself killed. I started to realise that things would come much easier for me once I learned why a horse does what he does.”

He later used these experiences in his career as a horse trainer, recognising in difficult animals the same fear and hostile reactions he remembered from his own childhood:

“Abused horses are like abused children. They trust no one and expect the worst. But patience, leadership, compassion, and firmness can help them overcome their pasts.”

Brannaman was one of the primary individuals who inspired the character of “Tom Booker” in the Nicholas Evans novel The Horse Whisperer and was the lead equine consultant for the film of the same name. Though the book itself was a work of fiction, Evans himself said:

“Others have falsely claimed to be the inspiration for Tom Booker in The Horse Whisperer. The one who truly inspired me was Buck Brannaman. His skill, understanding and his gentle, loving heart have parted the clouds for countless troubled creatures. Buck is the Zen master of the horse world.” – Nicholas Evans

Buck travels most of the year doing horsemanship clinics in the United States, Europe, Australia & New Zealand. When not on the road, he lives with his wife Mary and their horses in Sheridan, Wyoming.