As Erik mentioned, this week we have a piece on Buck, the documentary on Buck Brannaman, the "horse whisperer" who informed The Horse Whisperer movie. Based on the trailer I was a little trepidatious about seeing it. Cowboys, whips, blood, and horses sounds like one of my nightmares. Fortunately, Buck is not really a film about the mistreatment of horses as much as it is a portrait of someone who managed to rise out of a childhood so violent that Brannaman and his brother were forcibly removed from his father's care. Instead of turning around and perpetuating that violence, he channeled it into his affinity with animals, horses in particular, and now spends most of his time traveling the US giving seminars on his approach to training and treating horses. Unlike a lot of the conventional wisdom about horses needing to be broken and mastered, he emphasizes an awareness of horses' nature as prey animals, and shows people how to get a horse to not only work willingly, but happily. His philosophy is starting to catch on, and if you are or were ever around horses you should probably see this, but anyone who loves animals, or even just good old fashioned tales of the human spirit triumphing will want to check it out. Tonight it opens at Cinema 21, and while there's a teeny tiny snippet of an interview I did with Brannaman in the print edition, there's a longer version here. It's a good primer if you plan to see the film. Here's the trailer—don't be dissuaded by the corny music and the "God had him in mind" comment at the end. Oh, and don't worry: It's not horse blood.
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