Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I just finished reading the book The Faraway Horses by Buck Brannaman.

Buck is the real life Horse Whisperer who inspired the movie with Robert Redford.

His story is also told in a documentary called Buck as well as in his book.

This movie was recommended to our family by a gifted social worker named Ted.

Since hearing about this movie, I have learned firsthand about the power of horses for therapeutic healing. Two powerful programs near my home in Highland, Utah have impacted my family for good. One is Courage Reins.

It is a therapeutic riding center for children with all kinds of disabilities. One of my daughters is currently volunteering there as a side walker. She gets to walk beside the horse and the disabled rider during their lessons. She is loving this experience.

The other program is Bridle up Hope. This amazing program was began by the Covey Family to honor their daughter Rachel.

The goal of Bridle up Hope is to assist adolescent girls who are struggling with low self-worth or depression. They sponsor qualified girls who receive 11 free riding lessons. One of my daughters has been participating in this program and hopes to continue as a volunteer.

Just reading the book was so inspiring. Buck himself overcame severe abuse in his childhood to become a man of gentle strength and wisdom who is gifted in working with horses that have been abused. Here is one of the parenting gems that I gained from this book:

Sometimes you'll work with colts that may be a little bit the way I was, kind of looking for an adventure when time permits. These colts are not bad, they don't want to be bad, and they're not trying to make things bad for you. They just might need a little something to do. They don't need to be whipped, or knocked down, any more than I did as a kid. They just need to be directed, or better yet, redirected. Punishing a horse for doing something wrong is no solution. A kick in the gut solves nothing. You will be further ahead of the game if you redirect him where you would like him to go. This was the first example in my life of a person making the wrong thing difficult, and the right thing easy, as opposed to making the wrong thing impossible through intimation. {My foster parents} gave me an understanding of what real love was about, what devotion mean, and how a lesson can be shared, not dictated.  (The Faraway Horses pages 53-54)

I am looking forward to watching the documentary as well. Ted, the social worker I mentioned, uses this movie as he works with teens who are struggling to make positive choices in their lives. He says that the messages they gain from this movie are life-changing.

Are you a horse lover? Do you need to be?

P.S. My daughters and I recently finished The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Another very unusual story about horses that made for a fascinating and compelling read. Loved it!

Buck Brannaman

Courage Reins

Bridle Up Hope

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