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Buck Brannaman Clinic

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  • Buck Brannaman Clinic

    My SO was looking into doing this 4 day clinic with his dad, but it filled up within a few days!

    Apparently there is a clinic with someone who works with him..Ricky something?

    Just wondering what all the clinic entails. It says horsemanship...lots of ground work and then some cattle work.

    Has anyone done a clinic with either one? Is it worth the money and travel?
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

  • #2
    I have not, but did ask about a clinic in MI. However, it was full too and so we might just audit it.


    • Original Poster

      threedogpack, do you know details about what they work on? The website says some cattle work and a bunch of ground work (for this clinic).

      They were also a bit uncertain about prices. $60/horse for 4 days seems low to me! Also a $30 cattle charge? (the woman didnt seem certain about this either...)
      Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
      White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

      Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


      • #4
        Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
        threedogpack, do you know details about what they work on? The website says some cattle work and a bunch of ground work (for this clinic).

        They were also a bit uncertain about prices. $60/horse for 4 days seems low to me! Also a $30 cattle charge? (the woman didnt seem certain about this either...)
        The clinics are $600, just forgot a zero.
        We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


        • #5
          You will get almost as much out of auditing a Buck Brannaman clinic as you will riding in one; I would not pass up the opportunity either way. What you do depends on what level the class is; they are described on his web site (brannaman.com) on the bottom of the clinic schedule page. If you aren't familiar with the work he does, you'd do best to do a foundation class and learn the groundwork, even if your horse isn't a greenie. His Groundwork book explains it all, but it makes it sound a lot simpler than it actually is.

          Is the other clinician Ricky Quinn? Ricky Quinn is a student of Buck's and knows his stuff pretty well, but he's no where near the clinician that Buck is. He's young, a bit egotistical, does not have Buck's command of the arena which can be an issue with the large groups in these clinics. He also hasn't developed the eyes in the back of his head that Buck has, he never misses a thing!

          I'm of the age where I won't ride with someone till I've audited one of their clinics. Buck is the only clinician of whom I will say for sure that you can get as much watching as riding. But, you will do best to watch all of it; it's watching the horses go through the experience that is what convinces you that this horsemanship is where you want to be. I never tire of seeing it, over and over; it's always the same, but always different, and there's always something new that I get out of it.

          I think Buck's clinics are running around $600 for the four days (I think ... ); don't know about Quinn, but I'd guess $60/day is low. Auditing Buck was $25 per day last year, don't know if that has changed. A $30 cattle charge for the cow working is reasonable, this can vary a lot depending on the organizer and the clinic site. The clinic groups are generally large, about 20-25 riders (smaller for colt starting or cow working), and work as a group for the morning or afternoon. There are usually two classes at each clinic, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There might be a colt starting and maybe a horsemanship 1, or a foundation class and maybe a cow working or ranch roping. Some people ride in both, with different horses, but most people ride in one and audit the other (which is expected). There's a good bit of exercises at the walk and trot, suppling the horses, building focus and emphasizing forward, straight, even movement and control of all parts of the horse's body. He wants the horses focused and responsive and connected to the rider, with lightness and feel. If the class includes groundwork, that is to get the horses focused on the person on the ground, operating all parts of the horse's body with lightness and feel from the ground--the foundation for the mounted work. Also working through any issues the horses have before everyone gets mounted; some horses find the large groups a bit challenging and the ground work can really save your bacon.

          There's a basic overall pattern to the clinic classes, but there is also flexibility to accommodate the group that is there. Having a wide variety of skill levels in a class is not an issue; I've never come out of a class with Buck not feeling that the designed the whole class just for my horse, and everyone else feels the same way. He takes some getting used to in terms of feedback; if you're doing well, he may say very little to you; if you aren't trying or aren't paying attention, he'll give you a couple of chances to get with the program, and then you're toast (you're just along for the ride). He may end up spending a big chunk of time working one horse through some issue, while the rest of the class watches--some people feel short-changed by this, but I find these episodes to be among the most educational. Watching Buck work a horse is worth the price of admission right there, it's magical.

          You can also go to buckthefilm.com and see the trailer for the documentary film that has just been released about Buck. There's some footage in it that will give you some idea about his clinics, but bear in mind that the film isn't about his clinics and horsemanship, but about his life.
          "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

          Spay and neuter. Please.


          • #6
            The post above is excellent. I've had the opportunity to audit part of one a few years ago, and thought it was really cool that many different breeds and tack were in use. There were the usual Western types of course, but also drafts, an Andalusian, a Paso, a couple of Thoroughbreds and some of the riders used English tack. So, if you ride English do not let that stop you from going or participating. I believe you do need a rope halter though, correct me if I am wrong monstrpony.
            RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


            • #7
              About the rope halter--yes, you should have one, and a long enough rope (12-15'). Once you've begun to master handling a rope, and have a decent one to work with, you can't imagine using anything else. The problem with most anything else is simple material physics--when you give the horse an instruction, it gets changed, damped, amplified, dispersed, every time you go from rope, to ring, to chain, to snap, to halter ring, to leather. With a rope halter, it's rope all the way from your fingers to the horse's face. Further, the rope is light; if the horse is with you and the rope is slack, the horse feels nothing. If you need to get a message to your horse, it goes clearly, unadulterated, through a consistent medium, from your hand to the horse's face (without banging him with a chunk of metal). Allows for much more subtlety.

              Some people use a snap, but I don't know how they can stand it. It does take some practice and feel to use a rope, even a halter rope, effectively. And if you've handled a lot of different ropes, you become fussy about what kind you like (yacht or climbing type) and even the plain nylon ones (too light, no body) or cotton ones (no life) just aren't good enough.

              That said, I still prefer to ship my horses in a light leather halter, for safety--it will break in a pinch (or a major wreck ...)--and I sometimes turn out in a leather halter, so they have their uses. But for working them, always rope.

              And, yes, Buck is in it for the horses, and does not care what clothes they wear or what paces they favor. His own preference is the western style based in the Vaquero tradition, but the horsemanship he teaches applies to any horse, in any discipline.
              "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

              Spay and neuter. Please.


              • #8
                I would definitely audit first. You will get a lot from auditing. I rode in one a few years back and it was not worth the time and money compared to what I got out of auditing the other session -- I filled a notebook with notes. I have to say I am surprised no one has mentioned how bitter and mean he is. The clinic was on the east coast and his nonstop theme was that easterners are stupid, English riders can't ride and auditors just ask questions to hear themselves talk. He would mimic and belittle auditors from the day or session before and riders from other clinics. He spent close to half the time in his own little world working his horse while ignoring the riders. The place was abuzz with shock. I spoke with one auditor who had been following Buck and Ray Hunt for years who said he used to be very different and felt he had become too bitter and should retire. The barn manager asked me what I thought as I was heading out the last day and I gave a half-hearted "it was okay". He said, "Yeah, we won't be having him back". I saw him on Letterman last week and couldn't believe it was the same guy. He actually seemed genial. I don't know, maybe he just had a bad four days.


                • Original Poster

                  monstrpony--wow, thanks for the informative post! Buck's clinic filled up really quickly, so my SO is looking into the Ricky Quinn Clinic. I suggested he audit the clinic first, but it's the only clinic of his he'll have a chance to go to, so he didnt even consider it.

                  Snowdenfarm--Yuck, that doesnt sound good. Maybe he was having a bad 4 (four!?) days...but thats his JOB....I wouldnt want to clinic with someone like that. "English riders cant ride?" Thats a ridiculous statement and would immediately guarantee I wouldnt clinic with him. WOW. What an arse.
                  Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                  White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                  Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


                  • #10
                    Buck can be a bit cynical at times, but I've observed him to be an equal-opportunity critic, anyone's fair game. It's important to not be defensive about your discipline and instead, to really listen to what he is saying. He's probably making a generalization that has some basis in truth, even if he goes a bit overboard at times. Buck can pull this off because of who he is and where he's been and what he's done. One of my gripes with RQ was that he tried to do the same thing, but it had no substance behind it (but I have to confess my experience with him is very limited).
                    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                    Spay and neuter. Please.


                    • #11

                      Having read Tom Dorrance's book many years ago (after an Equus article about him) I was getting interested in the possibility of going to a Buck Brannaman clinic as an auditor or possibly with my big horse.

                      monstrpony's description sounded promising, but after reading Snowdenfarm's review I have to say NTYVM.

                      Sorry, but if I am paying to attend a clinic whether riding or auditing I do not expect anything less than a 100% professional attitude from the clinician.

                      I would be asking for a refund if I got anything less.
                      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                      • Original Poster

                        2DogsFarm, I agree completely. I cannot respect (or PAY) someone to talk bad about my choice of discipline or the coast I live on.

                        Monstrpony, im not trying to be rude, but what truth is there to "English riders cant ride" or "Easterners are stupid." ???? I happen to live on the east coast and ride english (though I have ridden western). I've seen plenty of western AND english riders who cant ride...and vice versa.
                        I dont think he can get away with saying these things because of "who he is." I dont give a DAMN who he is.

                        I would sure as heck not clinic with him if he says things like that. Like 2DogsFarm, I want someone who is going to be professional. Yell at me when I make a stupid mistake with my horse, but dont be cynical and make disgusting generalizations that have no basis in truth. Just because he's ignorant doesnt give him the right to talk crap about something he doesnt know about. UGH.
                        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


                        • #13
                          I've watched several clinics with Buck, and ridden in a few, been a follower of the horsemanship for many years. This other person attended one clinic. If you honestly believe her evidence of Buck's worth, and the relative importance of some off-hand remarks, is stronger than mine, that is your choice.
                          "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                          Spay and neuter. Please.


                          • #14
                            One person's opinion. One.

                            I rode in a Ray Hunt clinic and found him amazing and inspiring. I know of others who audited other clinics of his, in that same year, who were disgusted and saddened by the clinic they audited. Hell, a girl ended up with a concussion/shaken baby syndrome c/o Ray overdoing a lesson with her in the one I attended, and 99% of 'us' still consider Ray a saint. And I was sitting right there on my horse, and was part of that 'lesson' for that gal's horse. %hit happens and mistakes are made.

                            If Buck (actually) said not many folks on the East Coast know what to make of a spade bit, or the Vaquero tradition, Hell's bells: tis true, ain't it?

                            Your mileage may vary. But taking one person's opinion as Gospel truth, well, that's one way to proceed.


                            • #15
                              LOL if he'd said Western riders can't jump would you all be so quick to burn him at the stake?

                              LOL Just amused by the instant freak out over a flippant remark. Boo Hoo. George Morris can rail on fat girls all day long, but God Forbid the cowboy get frustrated with them folks in tall boots.


                              Size 14


                              • #16
                                I don't care who he is, if the man is being paid to teach then put the personal non-relevant opinions aside & T-E-A-C-H.

                                Any service I pay for - clinics or shoe-shopping - I expect to be treated with respect & not treated to a rant on subjects not directly related to the subject.

                                BB can think whatever he wants about any discipline/rider/part of the US, but in a clinic setting ZIP IT.

                                FWIW I don;t care for GM's style either and cannot see forking over $$$ for listening him belittle other participants.
                                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                                • #17
                                  I will say right from the start that my father went to one of his clinics, but I haven't had the opportunity yet.

                                  The impression that I get is that he is basically the George Morris of horsemanship. If you listen to him and honestly try, he is fine and you will gain a ton of valuable experience and knowledge. If you give him grief or he feels you are disrespecting him or not taking the session seriously, you may get a lashing. Some people can take it, some people can't, but that doesn't make him bad or wrong.

                                  Monstropony, please let me know if even this is way off-base.
                                  The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.


                                  • #18
                                    Well, I sure plan to go to one of his clinics when I can.

                                    In general, I take observations of rude or mean remarks with a large grain of sand. Heck, I've been yelled at by all sorts of instructors, the most annoying thing about that was they did it because they knew I rode better when I was pissed off. And of course it made me even madder that they knew I knew and that they were right.

                                    Also, have never met Buck B but having seen the movie and his Letterman appearance the other night, I can see how 'dry cowboy humor' might be misunderstood as insulting. Heck, I remember growing up, a friend's father was SO deadpan that he would say something outrageous and even his daughter couldn't figure out if he was kidding or not.

                                    I would suspect that he does size folks up and doesn't suffer BS gladly, but my impression is he's sincerely there to help people solve problems and progress. If I am in that kind of setting and doing something 'right,' no, I don't expect or need to get the ego boost of a compliment. I do expect immediate correction if I'm screwing up. If I were a participant and thought myself so above it all that I'd be insulted by correction by the clinician- well heck if I was that good, I'd be giving the clinic I suppose.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Dramapony_misty View Post
                                      If you listen to him and honestly try, he is fine and you will gain a ton of valuable experience and knowledge. If you give him grief or he feels you are disrespecting him or not taking the session seriously, you may get a lashing.
                                      Sounds a lot like Ray Hunt. He was unfailingingly helpful and patient with people who tried hard. Hotdogs, showboats and those who didn't say a proper "thanks" to their horses for a good try were treated not so kindly.
                                      "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                                      the best day in ten years,
                                      you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."


                                      • #20
                                        AC518, if your SO goes, come back and tell us your/his impression.

                                        One the things I learned at the 2 EA's I attended is that there are those who can ride, those who can train and those who can teach. All three traits are not often found in one person.

                                        I watched Al Dunning and as many know, he's a world class competitor. However, his method of teaching was totally haphazard for me. It seemed like he skipped from this to that. But obviously he's a talented trainer and rider.

                                        I watch Tommy Garland. His teaching method made sense to me, but I never got to see him ride and all of the training was done in a roundpen. That's great if you HAVE a roundpen. Some don't. Again, he has skill.

                                        I watched John Lyons. He can write well. His horses are calm and well mannered and I can follow and understand his written instructions. But what I saw left me unimpressed with his teaching method in real life.

                                        I watched Josh Lyons and although he got his horse under control, his method would not have helped me at all because I'm not the rider he is.

                                        I watched Julie Goodnight and could both follow her reasoning and watched her ride. Of 5 top clinicians, only ONE was someone I'd pay to see.

                                        So if you get mixed observations and opinions on BB, it might be about par for the course I think.