BOOKS: Believe: A Horseman’s Journey

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2004:

Believe: A Horseman’s Journey
by Buck Brannaman & William Reynolds
The Lyons Press (246 Goose Lane, P.O. Box 480, Guilford, CT
06437), 2004. 178 pages, hardcover. $27.95.

Moviegoers will remember the film The Horse Whisperer, and
in particular, the dramatic scene where Tom Brooker, played by
Robert Redford, brought a troubled horse gently down into a prone
position. Buck Brannaman, the cowboy/trainer who inspired the film,
has followed up his best-selling book The Faraway Horses with this
account of his efforts to help thirteen horses and their people.
Each subject tells his or her own story, prefaced by
Brannaman’s comments.
All thirteen stories emphasize that a complete and satisfying
relationship between horse and rider cannot be based upon domination,
but rather must be based upon mutual trust and empathy. The rider
must learn to recognize subtle signs which compassionate people are
able to read once they accept their horses as equals, with complete

Brannaman identifies eight qualities that he believes horses
have naturally, which humans should strive to emulate: intuition,
sensitivity, the ability to change, presence, humility,
determination, lack of aggression, and love.
Much of this book is about how human emotional problems can
cripple lives and relationships if not addressed and resolved. The
message is that if you want a better horse, you have to become a
better person.
–Chris Mercer

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