Animals Heroes

Dan Brannaman

by Zach from San Diego

Dan Brannaman at his first clinics. ( ())
Dan Brannaman at his first clinics. ( ())

A young boy sat in a fifty-gallon barrel with his bloodhound. The freezing cold temperatures began to take its hold on his small body. This is just one of Dan Brannamans' many childhood memories. His father was an alcoholic and used to frequently beat Dan and his brother, Smoky. Dan was taken away from his family and sent to the Shirley farm. There he learned that his true calling was working with horses. Once he grew older, he began conducting horse training clinics using a much gentler method of breaking them. He now travels the United States conducting clinics nine months out of the year and uses his experiences to better not only horses, but their owners as well. Brannaman should be considered a hero because of his troubled past and determination to create a better life for him and horses.

Buck showing off his roping skills. ( ())
Buck showing off his roping skills. ( ())

Dan Brannaman came from a very troubled past, but never let his experiences get in his way. Brannaman learned that he couldn't trust his father and began to avoid him whenever possible. Buck shared about his father, "He created his own reality and he seemed to live there more than the other. There was never a day in my life that I wasn't afraid of him," (Brannaman, Dan). Soon after this experience, Buck's mother passed away and left him and Smoky in the care of their father. Buck was only seven when this happened and it devastated his whole family. His father became more angry and beat Buck and his brother much more frequently. Brannaman commented to a reporter, "We probably got whipped four or five times a week, but when I saw it go there... that was a sign of what lay ahead for all of us," (Brannaman, Dan). Once the townspeople noticed something was wrong with Buck's life at home, so they called the police. Buck was ripped away from his family and sent off to foster care with his brother. Even though Buck had plenty of excuses for acting out and hating everyone, he forgave his father and dismissed his past. His foster parents, the Shirley's, taught Buck and Smoky the importance of forgiving others and finding the good in the world. Buck hasn't let his past become an excuse for bad behavior and has taught people of all ages to forgive and live for the future.

Buck and a foal. ( ())
Buck and a foal. ( ())

Dan Brannaman decided to not let his unbearable past get in the way of his future and knew that horses could help him in life. Brannaman has said, "I had a real good idea by the time I was pretty young how I didn't wanna be. I didn't always know how I wanted to be, but I knew what kind of human being I hoped to be and it was going to be so different..," (Brannaman, Dan). Brannaman has decided, ever since he was a child, to treat people with dignity and respect and not hurt or blame others for the pain he endured. When he arrived at his foster family's farm he found a love for horses and saw peace with them. After his life story came to the big screen, a reporter asked him about a certain horse at one of his clinics that had to be euthanized. Brannaman commented on the question saying, "Nobody had been there for the horse to teach him that. It's about taking responsibility and being a responsible parent or a caretaker of an animal, and helping them to learn because you can really have a great effect on them right off the bat,"(Brannaman, Dan). Dan later says that he saw a piece of himself in that horse because no one was there for him at an early age. None of the lies, whippings, or heart-wrenching memories have disturbed Brannaman's future. He has used this strong will and determination from his childhood to create better opportunities for himself and his family.

Wild horses (
Wild horses (

Dan "Buck" Brannaman is not just a famous horse trainer, but a true hero who overcame his troubled past and developed extreme determination.. During one of his clinics he stated "A horse reflects its owner, and sometimes you might not like what you see," (Brannaman, Dan). He was trying to tell people that the way you treat others is the way your horse will treat you and that if people can learn to treat others with respect, this world would be much better. He conducts his horse training clinics because he loves to help people realize who they are and uses his past experiences to teach people how their horses are feeling. Brannaman has said "I don't help people with horse problems, but horses with people problems," (Brannaman, Dan).  There is a lot people can learn from this amazing horseman. If people in society would use their determination, past experiences, and compassion, we would live in a wonderful world. Next time you think about a hero, remember the young boy who was freezing in a fifty gallon barrel with his dog and then think of how far he has come.

Works Cited
"Mountains & Minds:A Life in Full Circle." Mountains & Minds:A Life in Full Circle. Montana State University, 2007. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.

"Buck Brannaman." Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Biography in Context. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.

 Buck: the movie

Page created on 1/9/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 8/21/2018 6:27:46 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Buck Brannaman - This is his horse training website
7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman - You can buy his educational horse training series
Buck the Film - This is where you can buy and learn more about the film that tells his story