About five years ago Terry invited me to audit a Buck Brannaman clinic in Enumclaw. I had not heard of Buck, but I was eager to see his style of horsemanship and continue my education. I am so grateful that I took that opportunity because it resulted in a fundamental shift in my approach to horsemanship, and has informed SAFE’s approach to rehabilitating horses. At the end of October, after auditing clinics over the years in Ellensburg, Spanaway, Dayton, and Fort Worth, Stella and I participated in his Horsemanship I class.

We decided to head down the night before the clinic started so that we could get settled and organized. Stella hopped right onto the trailer, and when we arrived at the Tacoma Unit she quickly relaxed into her stall, even when the horses around her were troubled and calling. We got out the night before the clinic for a short ride, and it didn’t take long for her to relax into a great ride. During the clinic it was much the same, as she was relatively untroubled by the other horses in close proximity (25 in total) and always looked to me to keep her out of trouble. She was so unconcerned that she would doze when we took a break from working! By the end of the clinic we were walking united circles just off my leg with no rein, had gotten all four methods of moving the hind quarters, improved our turn around, and met a lot of like-minded horse people. Stella is a very sensitive horse, and it was so cool to see and feel how relaxed she was in a new and busy environment. It was an invaluable experience, and I was incredibly proud of how well Stella did. No one would have guessed she was a “rescue”-a testament to the strength and support of the SAFE community we are both lucky enough to experience.