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What to expect from a Buck Brannaman clinic? UPDATE p. 9!

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  • What to expect from a Buck Brannaman clinic? UPDATE p. 9!

    I'm going to be attending (as a rider) a Buck Brannaman clinic coming up and I'm wondering what to expect. I am watching his "7 Clinics" DVDs, but haven't ever even audited a clinic so I'm not sure about how it will be structured, and basically what will happen.

    I'm working on exercises from the DVDs and they have helped my horse tremendously, which is why I signed up for the clinic.

    I am nervous about it as I usually ride alone and don't like riding with groups of people. That IS one of the reasons I'm going - so I can help my horse and myself work through the issue of riding with others (especially cute mares).

    Horse is a mustang and our disciplines are dressage and trail riding (and we played with cows once, which was MUCH fun! - oh, and a little bit of jumping here and there). I'm planning on riding in my dressage saddle because I feel most comfortable working in that vs. my western saddle.

    Any words of wisdom?
    Last edited by Pocket Pony; Apr. 30, 2013, 08:28 PM.
    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

  • #2
    Pay attention. Don't chat up other people while he's talking. If you will show him that you are listening and following, he will return the favor.

    and PS be open minded to what he asks you to do. Don't overthink. Just go with it. He won't care about which saddle you're in.

    And he's not chatty on breaks. It's a break for him, too.


    • #3
      It's a lot of waving your lead rope and making your horse walk in circles around you. I mean like two hours of that. Then after the break, you ride. It's a lot of waiting and listening. The clinic I saw had all types, including a show jumping Olympian. His horse had the same issue, by the way.

      I don't mean this as a criticism. It's just what the riders were actually doing. He does a lot of talking and story telling, using what you riders are doing as a touchstone.
      A helmet saved my life.

      2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!


      • #4
        Exactly what katarine said; be respectful and listen to everything he says, even when it isn't directed at you. I learn a ton from just listening to him as he goes through everyone's horses, not just the ones that I think might apply to me. You won't even realize you're in front of people or in a group as far as being nervous and in a short time you'll enjoy it.

        Is it a basic horsemanship clinic? Is the "issue of riding with others" a main topic you'd like to improve on? Is it keeping your horse's attention on you and not the other horses, keeping his energy down, maintaining control of him in exciting situations? If he asks you what your goal for the end of the clinic might be you might have that framed out in your mind. As well as a goal for six months from now and a year from now, even if it's as clear as improved communication and safety.

        Realize that in "fixing" that you will probably be doing things that you don't realize will "fix" that. Be an open slate, don't blame your horse for anything, be positive and open-minded.

        Buck isn't usually a big talker, it depends a lot on the rest of your group if he talks much or not. If it's a small fun COOPERATIVE group he might but generally he's pretty straight-forward and quiet. I've seen him throw people out for arguing with him and I've seen him throw a horse out for being a flipper.

        See if you can get a friend to audit and take notes, maybe film for you. You'll forget more than you want to! Enjoy it; it's a valuable time!
        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


        • #5
          Ack that "waving your lead rope and making your horse walk in circles around you" is a lot more than that... it's pretty much the foundation for soft riding.

          Actually you might practice that "waving your lead rope around" because it's not as easy as it sounds. Get good at stepping in and switching hands smoothly and easily and you'll probably be ahead of the pack.
          “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


          • #6
            Good Luck. i am also going to a clinic in september as an auditor. Love Buck.


            • #7
              I have a lot of respect for Buck Branaman. I emailed a question about clinics when I was deployed during the war and he emailed back inviting me to any clinic for free because I was in the military. My deployment schedule did not allow me to attend, but I never forgot his generousity.

              BTW, my horse and I worked things out when I returned anyway. I even rode him in a big parade carrying the flag.
              “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

              St. Padre Pio


              • #8
                Originally posted by cowboymom View Post
                maybe film for you
                Buck makes it very clear, no video in any way shape or form.

                Originally posted by cowboymom View Post
                If it's a small fun COOPERATIVE group
                Fun - yes, cooperative - usually, small - never these days.

                Plan on 30 riders and between 200 and 500 auditors. We are already getting calls and emails for late 2014...

                Buck misses very little and really appreciates small details. Get really slick at bridling, saddling, and mounting from the fence. You have done well if you get through with him not saying anything to you. You have done great if you get any type of positive feedback. Keep the target off your back, and be very respectful of Buck and his horse's bubble.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cowboymom View Post
                  Ack that "waving your lead rope and making your horse walk in circles around you" is a lot more than that... it's pretty much the foundation for soft riding.

                  Actually you might practice that "waving your lead rope around" because it's not as easy as it sounds. Get good at stepping in and switching hands smoothly and easily and you'll probably be ahead of the pack.
                  It's definitely not meaningless! It's just a good chunk of the morning session, so wear comfy shoes.
                  A helmet saved my life.

                  2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!


                  • #10
                    I've audited a few of Buck's clinics, and I'm riding in my first one this year too. Congratulations on getting a spot in a clinic! I have been trying to ride in one of his clinics for years, but either the classes were full, or work got in the way. I'm really excited to finally be able to ride in one of his clinics, but also a little nervous.

                    What class are you riding in? I've only seen the Colt Starting and H1 classes. From what I remember Buck started with groundwork in both of those classes. The H1 class had less groundwork than the Colt Starting (for obvious reasons), and then moved on riding work starting with simple exercises and progressing to more challenging exercises building on what you and your horse learned form the previous exercises. I think one of the purposes of the exercises is to find out where the holes in your training are and to work to fix those. There was a lot of work at the walk and trot. The class did serpentines, backing - both straight and in circles/half circles, transitions bringing the life up and down, and some canter/lope work across the diagonal of the arena. I know there was more, but I can't remember all of it right now.

                    The ability level of people in the classes I've watched varied widely. There were people who had ridden with Buck for years and years - and they were all very good. And there were people who have very little riding experience and struggled to just stay on their horses. Amazingly, this was true in the Colt Starting class as well. There were a few people who looked as if they hadn't been riding for very long, and they were starting some pretty wild young horses in that class. Even more amazing is that only one person fell off their horse - and that was in the round pen, off the fence(!). On the first day, some of the horses were so wild and out of control that I was sure someone was going to have a wreck. However, by the end of the clinic, it really did seem as if everyone came away with a much better relationship with their horse. The only exceptions were the few people who obviously weren't trying and weren't listening.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Teddyi View Post
                      The only exceptions were the few people who obviously weren't trying and weren't listening.
                      The surest way to get the target on your back, followed closely by talking back.


                      • #12
                        And practice the short serpentine a bunch too.


                        • #13
                          I went to audit the final day of his clinic here in Maine. My b/o took her gypsy mare and the western saddle. They rode in the morning, and then in the afternoon tried a little "cow" sorting. I can't remember what Buck said about the "cows" but it was funny. It's not like they were dairy cows, but I guess they aren't what he's used to seeing out west.

                          We have had the trainer/barn owner who sponsors the clinic (he comes every other year) to our barn a couple of times. The 14 y.o. who is part-leasing my horse participated. Among the things she had them work on was getting the horse to circle at the end of the lead rope. Interesting. Not as easy as it sounds. I also have been doing the "short serpentine" and some other exercises using a few ground poles, mounted.

                          There were quite a few people at Buck's clinic in english saddles, and I think he could care less what you are tacked up in. Good basic training is good basic training for any discipline.
                          Providence sometimes takes care of idiots. Agnes Morley Cleaveland in No Life for a Lady.


                          • #14
                            The first time I rode with Buck was in an H1 class, and there was no ground work. If it's a Foundation class, there will be groundwork. That said, Buck is a master at reading a group of students, and if the group needs to start with ground work, they will. That first time, I was riding a horse that was not the one I was planning to take (last minute soundness issue), and we were both a bit chucked in the deep end. But I kept trying, even through some really ugly spots. By the third day, I had the feeling Buck had constructed the whole session just for my horse. I've since realized that every clinic feels that way. Pretty amazing when you realize you're in a large and very diverse group of riders.

                            Keep an open mind, go with it, be a dry sponge and soak up everything you can. You won't be sorry you went.
                            "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                            Spay and neuter. Please.


                            • #15
                              I ditto what everyone else said, except for the waving a lead rope thing... there is definitely more to it that.

                              Listen to him, ask questions and go with an OPEN mind. He's known to make people cry with his brutal honesty. But if you are kind to him, he will be kind to you in return. Absolutley NO video taping of any kind allowed at his clinics. And don't steal his flag... someone from our clinic picked it up without asking if they could borrow it during the break and Buck said if it was not back where he left it by the end of the clinic he would pack up and leave as he refuses to work with thieves and dishonest people. Thankfully, whoever took it returned it because he was dead serious.

                              If you can pick up a flag (or make one with a handkerchief and a dressage whip) before you go as it really helps get the hindquarters moving on a horse that isn't used to those queues. My horse now self loads thanks to that flag.

                              His horses are so well trained. I'd give my right arm to own a horse trained by him.
                              Last edited by drmgncolor; Apr. 10, 2013, 04:04 PM.
                              Dreaming in Color


                              • #16
                                I was just going to post a thread like this! I'm riding in a clinic with him in a few weeks, and also nervous about it as I've no idea what to expect (mostly from my horse!) He's usually uptight in new places, which is one of the reasons we're going.
                                I'm concerned about 24 other riders in the arena with us and how to negotiate that. I guess if it's like a crowded warmup ring at an event, I could get the idea but my horse is really a goof in that situation.
                                Mostly what I'm concerned about, and this is probably silly, but my horse is a goof to mount when there's a lot going on. I mean I need someone to hold him and still have some trouble. He's just fine at home when I get on, its only in new places.
                                Am I going to have to mount from the ground? My horse is over 16h and I'm not as springy as I used to be. We could try practicing at home mounting from the fence as someone suggested, but I'm really concerned about what my options will be when I get there. If I was taking any other horse, mounting from the ground wouldn't be that big a deal, but will be with this horse.


                                • #17
                                  We mounted from the ground and the fence in our class. Thankfully, I taught my mare at 3 to let me mount from a fence because I was lazy and would ride her in from the pasture. But it was amazing how many people had never mounted their horse from a fence.
                                  Dreaming in Color


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by TBFAN View Post
                                    I'm concerned about 24 other riders in the arena with us and how to negotiate that.
                                    Oh boy, just wait for the weave...


                                    • #19
                                      I wondered about the video-that's why I said "maybe". So find someone to take notes for you.

                                      His Montana clinics are still on the small side. He has two clinics here this summer that are on the 15-20 people range and I'm not sure they even get that many. Definitely not 300 auditors at the smaller clinics and no auditors at the private ones. Not all of his clinics are the same.
                                      “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                      • #20
                                        I audited one 3 day clinic here in NJ in 2011. It was pretty soon after the movie release, and it was mobbed. Standing room only for the auditing. I posted a lot of notes from the clinic on this thread. http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...ight=Brannaman

                                        I got a lot out of it as an auditor, but I had to wonder if some of the participants did. Those folks who were totally knew to the work, showed up in tall boots, with a leather halter and chain shank, might have been overwhelmed. It was a lot of new information to take in, especially in such a large group. (When I was learning this kind of stuff it was in a group of 6 or so over a 10-14 hour day for 3-4 days every 3-4 months for 2-2.5 years. And I still found it plenty challenging to grasp the basics, and that was with such intensity and hands on help.)

                                        7 Springs hosts clinics by several of BB students over the year, and those may be more helpful to people, as it is smaller group with lots more one-on-one help.

                                        At the BB clinic I audited he talked a lot. Usually 1 hour of talking for the beginner group then 1 hour of them working their horses. I noticed that BB took a moment to rest on the side after the first hour. BUT if someone came up and asked him a question, he helped them. So I would recommend that you not be shy. Give the man 60 seconds to swallow some coffee and take a breath, & if no one else is talking to him, OR if it looks like he's just chatting with old buddies... then sneak on up and very politely ask if he could help you with something. You're not gonna get many opportunities in life like that so absolutely forge in and get some personal help if you can at some point.
                                        "Friend" me !