Friday, May 18, 2012

A Good Deal

"You know, a horse can feel a mosquito land on their butt in a windstorm," Buck Brannaman tells viewers in the movie, "Buck".  And, if you've ever watched a horse with flies, even the smallest ones, you know this is true!

Because of this, it should take very little from us to tell our horses what we would like them to do. Buck told us that we should offer our horses a 'good deal'. If they don't respond, then we can increase the pressure. The next time we ask, the horse may opt to take the good deal.

Buck placed the flag near the Mustang's face as a 'good deal'.
When she didn't turn he vigorously flapped the flag at the Mustang. 

During the demonstration Buck told Isaac to ask the gray Mustang to go forward, very gently. When the mustang didn't respond to a light touch of the legs, Buck commanded Isaac to bump the horse with his legs a little harder. He was very clear that the bump had to be timed correctly. He suggested that we ask our horses to do something, and wait only 1 to 1 1/2 seconds before we up the ante. Timing is everything.

As Isaac rode the Mustang, she stopped near the gate to the round pen. Buck was quick to tell Isaac to get her to move on and to not let her stop there.

At Buck's urging, Isaac asks the Mustang to move on.
He bumps his legs on her side with increasing pressure.

Buck explained that the mare's stopping at that point was purposeful on her part. She knows good and well where the exit is... and wants to take charge, telling you she wants to leave.  Buck went on to tell the audience that if you, as the rider, "aren't aware of a gate soured mess, you will go on to work on a barn soured mess. And if you aren't aware of that, you can work up to your horse being herd bound."

Buck also explained that horses are so smart that it only takes 2 or 3 rides before the sloppy rider has made the horse dull.  Buck suggests that you, "do so little that you think it won't work as the 'good deal'. When it works, and you are consistent, then offer even less."


  1. Good deal you got to go to the clinic.

  2. Totally makes sense to me, to Camryn as well ;). Would love going to one of his clinics, his or Mark Rashid.

  3. So why did/do cowboys use spurs?


    1. Great question, Anne! And, Buck addressed this. He rarely wears spurs. He equates spurs with jewelry. Sometimes cowboys like to have something pretty to wear. He isn't particular fond of riders wearing them with horses. Or... if the horse is so dull that it needs spurs, then the rider should use them (not abuse them) until such time that the horse can be trained to respond to a less-intense cue. He really hates to see spurs worn "just because" and he thinks they are usually very unfair to the horse!


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