I shared with you that I attended
the Legacy of Legends a few weeks
ago in Las Vegas. For those of you that are
not familiar with it, it is an event put on by
Carolyn Hunt, the late Ray Hunt’s wife,
and one of his well known students, Buck Brannaman.
They gather a few invited students of Ray’s
and Tom Dorrance’s to come demonstrate working with horses in the way they learned in their philosophy.
It was very interesting for me to see where each demonstrator was in their horsemanship journey.
You could truly evaluate their personal understandings of the teachings of Ray & Tom while they were working with their horses. It became obvious what issues each demonstrator still needed to work on but also you saw where each one excelled compared to another.
It really was a fascinating view of human nature, humans with horses, and the preservation of knowledge.
While I was there, I took some pictures with my phone (I should have brought my good camera, what was I thinking?!) but also collected quotes as they happened.
Here is the collection of quotes I took down while there with a brief description on what it was in relation too. There are many valuable insights in these little quotes….
It all started with Buck Brannaman.
He was very jovial and fun to listen to. He is a true advocate of great horsemanship every moment of every day with your horse.
What I appreciated most about Buck was that he really excels in getting students to think about their bodies and tune into how even the slightest movement can affect your horse. He had great exercises for people to try and think about that really got them in the mind frame they needed to be in to get where they wanted to be with their horses.
Here are a few things he was absolutely adamant about:
“Doing ground work doesn’t mean you’re afraid of your horse. It means you want to get your horse to operate on feel before you ever get on” – Buck Brannaman
“My biggest disappointment is I haven’t found the right words yet to get you to understand that developing a feel first with your horse is the most important thing. If I can somehow get across that developing a feel is the most important thing, I will be satisfied” – Buck Brannaman on a floating rein vs a pulling rein
Next, was our friend here at ClinicHorsemanship, Buster McLaury.
Each day he worked with a very, very sensitive mare. Buster immediately tapped into her trust spot, her hind end.
He was very slow, patient and kind working with this mare and nothing would deter him from doing what he knew that horse needed from him. He ended up being a crowd favorite as he made such huge changes in that mare and his wisdom became very appreciated. He warmed everyone’s hearts.
He said so many wise things I couldn’t keep up with his quotes!
“Experience is something that comes along right after you needed it” – Buster McLaury
“They (the horse) did exactly what they thought they needed to do, there is nothing wrong with that. If they knew what to do, they would just do it” – Buster McLaury
“When the horse gets really relaxed and they get to working their mouth, if their tongue gets really long, that’s a good sign” – Buster McLaury
“Balance. Your idea and his idea become one immediately. That’s balance” – Buster McLaury
“I don’t take anything for granted. Just because something was there yesterday doesn’t mean it will be there today” -Buster McLaury on getting on a horse the first few times
“If you think the little things aren’t important, just try missing some of them” – Buster McLaury on paying attention to body language when directing horses around in a round pen
“Preparation to position for the transition” -Ray Hunt via Buster McLaury
“I want her to think about relaxing and squaring her feet up. Sometimes it’s best to give her a moment and let her think about things. Sometimes these real sensitive ones need a little more room. When she finally looks to me for comfort and security…. You can’t buy that. Now she and I both feel like things might work out” – Buster McLaury
“If you don’t think bending them is a big deal, get up here, and you might think differently” – Buster McLaury
“Communication is an exchange of 2 parties. If only one party is talking, the other is getting lectured. That’s not communication” – Buster McLaury On drilling horses
“Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement” – Buster McLaury
Melanie came up with her usual brilliant exercises to help the rider help the horse in balance and understanding in ways where there is no other choice but to work together.
“I want an effective rider instead of a beautiful rider. Ideally you want both, but effectiveness must always come first” – Melanie Smith-Taylor
“It’s better to keep the jumps low and teach the horse to feel back to you, than make them big and charge on” – Melanie Smith-Taylor
“If you make the easy exercises more challenging, then it will make the challenging exercises easier” – Melanie Smith-Taylor on jump patterns.
She had the riders do figure 8s through four jumps into a shoot made with poles and over the next jump. She initially made the shoot wide but then narrowed it after each time they went. Over two jumps you had to get the horse to come back to you to step over the poles to the next jump and the the other two you had be balanced enough together to go through the shoot to the next jump.
Here are some more quotes from some of the other demonstrators there, horseman Peter Campbell, Reining Cow Horse Champion, Nick Dowers and horseman, Paul Dietz. Many people were moved by Peter Campbell’s soft hands quote below.
“Soft hands have nothing to do with your hands. It has to do with your heart” – Tom Dorrance via Peter Campbell
“Right before I show, I just want to up the intensity of my horse’s try. I just want to get him to do more and I’m doing less to get it” -Nick Dowers on showing in reined cow horse competitions
“When I was younger and working with Ray, I was in such a rush to get to the trot, I didn’t appreciate the try the horse was giving me with a fast walk. Now, I really try to slow things down and appreciate every little try my horse gives me” – Paul Dietz
There were many great moments during the Legacy of Legends clinic. Most of the images are on the ClinicHorsemanship Facebook page as well as Legacy of Legends Facebook page, so feel free to view them and share them there.
I hope you join us there next year!