What a fabulous month it has been! I had the opportunity to travel from NY back to the ranch to help out with the Buck Brannaman clinics during July. While Buck’s clinics were the focal point for staff and guests, it was equally fun for me to see friends and guests that I have come to know over the years, to meet new ones, and to spend time at the ranch in this beautiful part of Northwest Montana.
Three of the four clinics were held at the ranch, and one in Kalispell at Majestic Valley Arena.
It was a full house for the ranch clinics, with Horsemanship 1 in the mornings and Cow Working in the afternoons. Even after 40+ years of teaching clinics, Buck continues to evolve his horsemanship and his teaching methods. Each year I think how light and soft and balanced his horses look, but he still continues to refine every movement in his horses while keeping a nice soft expression. He also finds ways new and innovative ways to explain movements to help riders understand and apply the info.
The Kalispell clinic at Majestic had full classes for both AM and PM, and a string of 10 MMR horses attending, it kept Jenna, Michelli and myself busy. Plus, we got to ride in the afternoon class with Buck! This is always the highest educational experience, and I am grateful to take part in it whenever the opportunity arises. It was a fabulous group this year, with a mix of returning riders and people looking to gain first time exposure to Buck’s teachings.
Now, back to the ranch for the first ever Invitational clinic held at the ranch! This is the only clinic in the country that Buck teaches in this format, and the first time that we had auditors attending . For two days Buck focused on advanced horsemanship with Des, Shayne, Ty Heth, and Joel Connor. Roping played a big part in this clinic and it was really fun to watch these riders and their horses operate in such a fast paced and dynamic environment.
Following on the heels of the H2 clinic was the final ranch clinic. The riders worked on everything from perfecting balance in their horses with circles and short serpentines, to jumping them out with promptness, and getting them soft and timely. By the end of the clinic both horses and riders were doing a great job on the cutting flag and with the cattle- the improvements were impressive!
We sadly said bye for now to Buck at the end of the clinics, but the guests were not done yet!
The final day was a cattle drive to find and move steers from the state piece to McKillop. The guests were super excited to experience this aspect of the ranch. Small groups headed out to different parts of the state piece and started the hunt for cattle. These allotments are not typical cattle country—there are many steep draws that horse and rider need to negotiate. For some it was the first time they had ever ridden through country like this. When all was said and done they moved 50 head and came back to the ranch exhilarated at what they had accomplished.
It was a blast being back at MMR and I look forward to my next visit. In the meantime, I will be working hard at putting to use all of the good feedback I received to help my journey with my horses.
All for now,
Our hay crew has been busting their butts working on putting up a bumper hay crop this year! We are soooo thankful!