News from the Round Pen…

Hello friends,
It has been quite some time since I posted here… Partly because no one really seems to visit these blogs much any more, and and like most folks, face book is where its at if you want to communicate. So I’m there more when I have the time to put some thing out there for you to chew on!! But I thought I’d put up a little something just to let ya know that I’m still around! I received an e mail the other day that I thought would be of some help to folks, so I am posting it and my response back to her with the wish that we are still doing some good out here and keeping folks out of trouble.. Here’s the letter..

Hi !! My name is ******, and I’ve been around horses all my life, and owned one for a few years. Unfortunately moving around and being military (coast guard family) and living where we did at the time (Belle Chasse,LA, but stationed in Venice), there was no place for my horse, and I sold her. The fact that you were in the USCG was what first drew me to you to see if you might have a few words of wisdom, maybe some good advice for me. I finally found a place where we live now (Hubert,NC, stationed at the training center on Lejeune) where I can work with horses. It’s called Heart’s Desire Equine Rescue. I found it looking for horses online, and a mustang was what really caught my eye. His name is Chip, but I want to call him Stone if I can work through these problems and adopt him (my husband is not aware of my plans for that yet haha, I wanted to work them out first *:) happy). He was severely abused, and now hardly trusts anyone and will avoid you unless you have food for him, and even if you do have food, sometimes he just doesn’t even care. You can’t even get a halter, or anything on him. He is now 21 years old, and was captured at 7 from Fish Creek,NV. I wanted to know everything about him, so I contacted BLM and found out all of it. It strikes me kind of funny, because I always said after my last horse I wanted something younger to have for a long time, that didn’t have problems, that I could just hop right on and do rodeo with. Meeting this horse changed my mind, and I want to help him, but need to know how to do it. If you can point me in the right direction, maybe just give me a few pointers, I don’t know how I’d thank you. Attached is a picture of him. Thank you for your time

What would you do with this? Here’s what I sent back.. I hope it helps.

Hello ******, and thanks for your note.. My hat is off to you and yours for your military service to our country! I know first hand how hard it is to do some of the things you want to do when Uncle Sam comes first.. Now let get into your question.. First off, I will tell you that my first thoughts and advice to most folks is find a good horse that is well trained and will SAFELY meet your needs based on your experience level. Most folks think that just any horse will do and they can watch a few training shows on TV or go to a colt starting clinic and have all the knowledge they need to train or retrain any horse. Which sadly ends up in more ruined horses and people getting hurt in a lot of cases. That being said, I will give my take from a training perspective. Training or retraining an older horse is extreemly difficult even in the best of circumstances. You are dealing with a lot of bad habits, fear, poor training and bad behavior ether learned or forced onto the horse over a long period of time. Those ingrained problems are a lot to overcome and will take a lot of time to fix and perhaps not be able to get it done at all. This horse, as I understand it from your note was 7 years old when he was captured so he already was an older horse in terms of training even then. Now he’s 21 and been through who knows what over the course of 14 some years. That is a lot of troubled water under the bridge. You mentioned he was abused but didn’t say exactly what kind of abuse it was? That would be helpful to know as many things change in terms of how you go about identifying the problems he has and how you go about trying to change the behavior. You didn’t say whether or not he has been broke to ride or when the last time was he was ridden… So I will go with the facts, that he is now at a rescue farm, very distrustful, not halter broke (if you can’t get one on) and hasn’t been ridden in quite some time or broke to ride at all.. This will require a major training effort and will probably take months to accomplish if it can be done at all.. And I am not talking about training for a hour or so a couple of times a week. You are talking maybe all day to start, for many days just to get to a point where you can safely say he’s gentle enough to think about getting a halter on him, let alone starting him under saddle. Also included in that is figuring out if he knows how to be tied, trimmed, brushed, lead etc… All of which will need to be done before thinking about riding him. A very experienced trainer may be able to figure that out and get it done relatively quickly but most lay people won’t. I don’t mean to ramble on but as you can see, I have many trepidations about what you are thinking about trying to do here with this horse and your ability to do it correctly and SAFELY. Not only your safety but the horses as well. Stuff like laying a horse down and making it magically transform into a gentle as a puppy horse for the poor little girl and gaining more brownie points with mom on side only works in the movies and I am not looking to to be rich and famous.. There’s enough of those guys out there all ready. Please don’t take offense, I am not berating you and it is nothing personal against you or your abilities.. But if you check around the net, or read my books, I am not in the business of be a warm and fuzzy icon. I call it like I see it and don’t spread a bunch of BS on top and call it sugar. So…. The only real training advice I can give you based on what you have told me is… The place to start is going to be gaining his trust and respect as the herd leader. He will have to believe and trust you are there to keep him safe and also provide the leadership he needs to get along in your herd of 2.. (You and him). That is not always going to be with treats and petting and thinking that way will get you in more trouble. Horses respect the leader of the herd and sometimes you need to establish who that’s going to be or he will.. Now, before you try to start doing what I would suggest as a starting point with this horse, you need to ask yourself, Am I good enough and tough enough to do this safely? If the answer is NO or even I’m not sure… Than DON”T DO IT!! I don’t want someone to get hurt on my watch!!!
The place I would start with this horse is in the round pen and getting him to hook on. Teaching him how to move his feet at your direction not his, look to you for guidance and focus and figuring out that the best place to be is with you as the leader of the herd. It would take a lot of writing to try and teach you how to do this by email and watching it being done and practicing it is really the only way to get good at it. So short of that, I can offer for you to take a look at my round pen video. That will give you a starting point of how I do it. But again,, and I can not say this enough… Whatever you do.. DO IT SAFELY.. and consider all your options before you do something you regret later.. Rescuing a horse can be very rewarding if you find a good one, but taking one in for the sake of just having one won’t be a good thing for you or him.. Please stay in touch and let me know how it goes.
Best Wishes to you and yours,

That’s about it for now friends.. Please drop by our face book page and let me know how you’re doing! Have a good one!

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2013 Clinic list..

Hello Friends,
Here’s the start of our 2013 Clinic list. If your interested in having us help you please contact us at

March 9 – 10
Fat, Fear and 50… Shut up and Ride Clinic
Building horse and rider confidence
Columbus, WI
Contact: Melanie Lichtfield

April 6th
Shut up and Ride Part 2
Columbus, WI
Contact: Melanie

April 18 – 21
Midwest Horse Fair
Madison, WI

April 27
4H Clinic
Ludington, MI
Contact: Jeri Bye

May 4 – 5
Horse A Rama
Manitowoc, WI

June 8 – 9
Red River Riders, Therapeutic Riding for the Disabled
Shawano, WI
Horse handling, Groundwork and Problem Solving
Saturday is private for the staff
Sunday is open to the public
Contact: Chris Baldwin

3 – 7 July
Gettysburg, PA
150th Battle of Gettysburg
This is not a clinic but drop by our 1st Alabama Cavalry Camp and say hello!
Lots of great horsemanship will be on display by our troopers..

More dates to come as we finalize the summer… Stay tuned!

We will also be posting upcoming Inner City Slickers events that we will be at around the country so you can come lend a hand, or just drop in and say howdy!

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News from winter quarters round pen

Holiday greetings my friends! I hope your winter and holiday season has been good to you and you have a great new year! We are hunkered down in our winter quarters putting together our clinic and training list for spring. So far we have a couple of clinics in the works for our friends at Red River Riders Therapeutic riding stables in June, and a spring tune up clinic in March  in Columbus WI. More details to follow as we finalize things. We are also planning our summer reenactment trip to Gettysburg PA for the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. It will held on the 4th of July weekend so drop in and say hello at the 1st Alabama Cavalry camp!  We are looking forward to another busy season this year so if you are looking for dates to get your colt started or work on your horse to be done contact us soon, as the dates will fill up fast in the spring. We are continuing our support of Inner City Slickers this year and are putting together a couple of events here in Wisconsin with them this spring as well. And if I’m lucky… I might be going with my friend Micheal “the original slicker” to Costa Rica to help him set up an ICS program there! Yippee! Out of the cold weather for a while!  If you are interested in helping out with this great organization when they are up here please contact me. It’s a very worthy cause and I’m sure you will get as much enjoyment out of helping these kids as Vickie and I have! Please drop by my face book page for the latest updates and videos from my you tube channel and drop by the ICS page as well for the latest goins on there too!

That about wraps up the latest info from our neck of the woods friends. Please drop in now and then and comment on our blog and let us know someone out there is reading this stuff! Have a Very Happy and Safe New Year and we’ll be talkin to ya soon!

Smokie and Vickie

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News from the round pen…

Hello Friends,

It seems we’ve about seen the last of warm weather up here in the North country… The green is about gone and the horses are shedding. Yet another year has come and gone. This year has been marked with some ups and downs but over all we’ve had it pretty good! Our work with Inner City Slickers this summer has been most rewarding and we are looking forward to getting an event or two going here in Wisconsin next year. I want to thank all the folks that have sponsored our clinics this summer and all the folks that have allowed me to help them and their horses. Thanks goes out to all the folks that have read my books or watched the DVDs and the short vids Vickie and I have put together on You Tube. I hope you enjoyed them and hopefully learned a bit from them too!

Every once in a while someone takes the time to write to me and let me know that the work I’m doing is appreciated and helpful and it sure is good to know that there are still folks out there that do take the time to say a good word or write a review to let you know how your doing and help us improve as well. Here is a letter I received from a very nice lady that I thought you would like to read. I’m always open and appreciative of the reviews (good or bad) that I get back on FB or read on amazon about my DVDs, books, training, and what not and I take every one as a learning experience that I can use to make things better in the future! So please take the time to write those reviews! We like to hear what you have to say. Have a great fall my friends and we’ll see at the winter quarters real soon!

Here is the letter:
Hi Smokey,
(Late last winter I purchased a copy of  ‘Whisper This’ when I was starting to shop for the mare I purchased in the late spring. In my mind there is a ton of solid info in there regarding staying on track with what is most important to consider when taking on a horse. Most especially for beginners who need the most help, lets just say it like it is, getting ahold of a horse that is not too much for you is a huge deal. So that is a book I would absolutely recommend to anyone, hands down.)

If I can offer something here; the best way to get feedback is definitely to ask for it. Beyond that there is a certain percentage of stuff we do or say that we aren’t going to know how it will settle or who it will serve (then and there). I was talking to an older foster daughter of ours’ once, I was in a tight spot and trying to figure out if I was at all effective on something that I was doing. I asked her ‘did I ever say anything’ to her that was of use 🙂 She said ‘yes, when I was incarcerated you told me to make profitable use of my time.’ (She has since gone on to be a young woman we are very proud of.) It makes me laugh to have her tell me that because it sure doesn’t sound brilliant by any stretch. But what she shared was she took the content of that idea to heart. She chewed on it and at that time it made sense and it became the point she steered for. I share this with you because the clips you post are valuable. What you and Vicky are doing by filming and posting is no small deal. I am an example; there is a massive amount that I don’t know about having a good seat… that is what I am steering for. Your clips start before that, which has to do with the business of creating a rapport w/ my mare & really important to me. So I watch and look for LOTS of stuff; I am watching how you time, how you respond to all the different reactions and issues you anticipate coming up. I am listening for the plan you are laying out in proceeding forward… how you are developing/useing cues all the way around. I look for what is going on in the saddle and trying to watch the horse at the same time. There is just a huge amount of info to be gotten from watching and rewatching how someone is working. I am one of those fools who does that 🙂 The more I watch the more subtle stuff I pick up. So while I am not starting this gal by any means I am either reacquainting myself and/or learning additional ways of conducting business that I need to move forward and have a solid beginning with her.
With me, I won’t sell horses, show them or likely ever be the student my poor instructor can point to with pride 🙂  as having brought along, probably just the opposite. I am just one of those people that won’t likely distinguish themselves at all thru horses, so it wouldn’t be too obvious how important they have been for me. I had a start with horses in my life… after a wreck I walked away. For a couple of decades I didn’t acknowledge what affect that had on me. After another big life event I decided to get back into horses… now I feel like I am just heading home (that is how my horses/education are for me.) So yeah… if what you are doing is helping people get home (beyond starting colts) … I would offer you are using your time pretty dang well. I, for one, have significant gratitude for that help.
Thank you Smokey and Vicky 🙂

Dawn B.

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News from the Round Pen…

Well it’s been quite a summer here at the ranch! We’ve made a lot of new friends through our affiliation with Inner City Slickers and of course all the folks that were kind enough to allow us to do our clinics and the folks we helped with their horses around the country. Thank You!

If you haven’t dropped by our face book page, please do! It is loaded with new training videos from horses we’ve worked with this year as well as good info and some not so good info about saddle makers and the dangers of buying site on seen or what the  picture looks like, and relying on the past quality of our previous saddle purchases. But that is what sometimes can happen when your not prepared for it just like when you’re working with your horse!

You guys have a great rest of the summer and please drop by our face book pages and say hello!

Best regards and “Just Ride”!


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2012 Clinic Schedule

Hello Friends,

Here is the start of where we will be and what we are doing this summer. I hope you will drop by!

April 20 – 22
Midwest Horse Fair
Madison, WI

May 5 – 6
Horse a Rama
Manitowoc, WI
D3 WHC booth

June 2
Trail horse clinic
North Star Gaited Horse Club
Cecil, WI

June 30
BEAMING Open House (Horses for Hero’s) Vets day
Round pen and horse handling demo
KK Qtr Horses
2692 Cty Rd. GG
Neenaha, WI 54956

July 21 tentative planning
Inner City Slickers, Kids Clinic
Longmont, CO

Sep 22
Groundwork, and Problem Solving Clinic
N 1480p Lynn Rd.
Adell, WI 53001
Patty Potvin

If you are interested in sponsoring a clinic or volunteering your facility to help set up an Inner City Slickers program in Wisconsin or else where please contact me at

Enjoy the spring, stay safe and “Just Ride”!


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News from the round pen.. Another year… and a different horse.

Hello Friends,

I hope your new year is starting off great  I wanted to talk a little this morning about making comparisons…When you make comparisons, whether it is between  one horse or another, or one person and another it has the potential to come round a bite you when you least expect it.. Making a general assumption about a horse without checking him out to figure out his individual abilities or personality will probably lead to something happening that might have been avoided had you applied your knowledge with a little more regard for being an individual and respecting that when you step into the round pen. Some horses will learn and progress differently and some will surprise you with something you have never ran up against in any other horse. Like Bill D said… It’s remarkable just how much you think you might know, can all change with the very next horse..

Same goes for the people you think you know… It seems that lately a lot of folks have made the assumption that just because I happen to be related to a famous horseman, I am suppose to mimic his methods, be just as good, or my videos or books should be like his.. Well let me tell ya… What I do, how I do it, and whether you think it’s good or not is completely different from how Buck or John or Pat does things.. I don’t claim to be the all knowing horse guru.. I’m different, just like every horse is different.. You might not like it but that’s the way it is, sorry. I suppose you are thinking why this rant? Well I’ll tell you. In the last couple of months I’ve had a couple of negative comments put up  on amazon on Whisper This, and this month on my round pen video.. The very first one on the round pen vid after being out there for about 5 years now.. And even longer for the book. It’s not that I am going to loose a lot of sleep at night because a couple of  people think my stuff is not that good, or perhaps not like some of Bucks stuff or Montys or Pats. But for those of you that drop by here or on FB from time to time I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your comments on what I do or don’t do and if you all want to chime in feel free.. Taking what I try  to teach and using it for what it is worth to you or not, is what it is all about. Using the individual tips, methods or philosophies that works for you… Just like using something a little different that might work better on the next horse you step into the round pen with. But if you are coming here thinking your going to get a carbon copy of someone else or your next horse will be able to learn and be trained in exactly the same way as the last one.. Then you’re on the wrong site. Thanks for letting me vent a little this morning.


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I got a letter from the President!!

Hello Friends,

Sometime back I sent a letter and a copy of my book to our new President… (Well it was right after the election but who’s counting the days).  I  just wanted to encourage him and the new congress to perhaps use a little common sense and stop all the Bulls#it that seems to have taken over our government. Like I have tried to encourage horse folks to do in my books. Well today I got a note back! I do don’t know for sure that he read it or even wrote the note, but hey, it’s got his name on it so I thought I’d pass it along! It is attached below for your reading enjoyment along with a note I received from the wife of a fellow “Coastie” today. Since Veterans Day is on Friday, I thought you might like to see something from our military horse folks. Have a good one! Smokie

The White House, Washington

November 7, 2011


Dear Smokie:


Thank you for your kind note and your book Whisper This.  Your thoughtful words join a chorus of millions of Americans who are eager to lead our Nation towards a brighter tomorrow.

Each day, I am inspired by the encouraging messages of hope and determination I have received from people across the country.  With the magnitude of challenges we face, we will only overcome them if our imagination is joined to common purpose.  

The future we leave to our children and grandchildren will be determined by our willingness to shoulder each other’s burdens, take great risks, and move forward as one people and one Nation.  With your help, we will build on what we have already achieved and lay a new foundation for real and lasting progress.



Barack Obama



It’s great to know that there is life after the Coast Guard. My husband is set to retire in two more years.He is a DCC on the USCGC Waesche WMSL-751 in Alameda, Ca (now in port), We have both had horses our whole lives being raised out in the “sticks” but obviously, being at sea prevents an old sailor from riding anything other than waves. He will have the chance again once he retires.

He is very tired of sea duty and I pointed you out to him, to let him know that there are things salty sailors could do after they get out. We share the love of horses as well and have scars to prove it!

Thank you for being proof that there is life after the Coast Guard and for serving our country. In addition, I’m loving your training methods on starting colts ( I wish I’d seen it before) . It would be safe to say that it beats cowboyin’ the old way.

Semper Paratus!

Lara Wiard


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News from the round pen…

Hello Friends,

Well fall is just around the corner and I can feel the chill in the air.. Seems like this age thing creeps into the joints more and more every year.. I’d like to thank all of you that have allowed me to help you with your horses this summer and I hope that you have had a great time with your equine partners this year.. And to all the new folks that registered for my blog, thanks! And I hope you stick around and drop us a comment now and then..  We are patiently waiting for news and the results of the Writers Digest self published book awards contest of my newest book, Equiknowlogy 101… It should be out some time in October.. We also received the final results from the judges of the Independent Publishers award contest the other day. We were lucky enough to place in the top 15 over all in our category!  So I’m pretty happy that my latest bit of drivel just might be pretty good after all!  For anyone that might be interested, Equiknowlogy 101… is now available as an e book from amazon and has a new price of $6.95 as well. Well I better get out and ride my last horse for the summer before we move to our winter quarters. So with that I will leave you with a quote from one of our mentors…

You need to practice only three things, patience, observation and humility..

There is no mysticism, no magic, in this, only the recognition of kinship with horses.

The more a horseman says he has learned, the less likely he is to have learned anything at all.

Plenty of people have come across and borrowed an insight or two, and some have made a lot of money by popularizing what they seemed to think he knew. But what he knew will never be popular, nor did he ever make much money from it. You cannot sell modesty or undying curiosity. It is hard to put a price on accepting that everything you think you know about horses may change with the very next horse.

 Bill Dorance

(Excerpt from his obituary in the New York Times)

Have a great fall and we will see you at the winter quarters real soon!
Best Wishes and “Just Ride”!

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My movie review…

Hello Friends,

Well I and a bunch of my friends went to see “Buck” in  Milwaukee on the 23rd and I gotta say, It’s a pretty good flick!  Since a lot of people are asking about what happened to me and I had a reporter from Pasadena CA  ask me to comment for her article, I thought I’d post it for you. Here you go!

Straight from the school of hard-knocks, comes Buck Brannaman. As the youngest son of “Ace” and Carol Brannaman, he first came to national attention as a shy boy, who, with his older brother, had a talent for rope tricks. They were on national cereal commercials, but you might know Buck best as the horse whisperer–the man who inspired a book and later worked with Robert Redford on the movie by the same name, “The Horse Whisperer.” Director Cindy Meehl’s “Buck” is a picturesque documentary that tells a hopeful story about redemption through hard work and humility.

Novelist Nicholas Evans’ 1995 novel was a romance about how the horse whisperer, Tom Booker, helps a young rider and her horse recover psychologically after a tragic accident. Booker was based on Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt as well as Brannaman. Brannaman had studied under both Dorrance and Hunt although initially being skeptical of their methods.

Brannaman not only was the lead consultant for the 1998 movie version that Robert Redford starred and directed, he also was Redford’s double.  The movie introduced the term “whisperer” into popular usage to mean someone with special communication skills and this movie, “Buck,” Meehl shows exactly what Buck Brannaman is, how he does it, what people think of him (only in the positive sense) and the limitations of his work.

Born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Daniel M. “Buck” Brannaman grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Later the family moved to Whitehall. His father had a saddle and repair shop and his mother was a waitress. It was those hours that his mother was away, that Brannaman found unbearable as his father often resorted to whips and belts to keep his boys in line. And when his mother died of diabetes, things only got worse.

What saved the boys was a concerned football coach who saw Buck’s bruised and welted back in the showers and the local lawman, Madison County Deputy Sheriff Johnny France. France took the boys to the foster parents who had raised him: Forrest and Betsy Shirley. Betsy appears in the documentary Forrest died in 1984. Brannaman’s own father, Ace, died in 1992.

Through his clinics, Buck Brannaman did meet former Ford model Mary Bower and married her. They have children, but we only see his youngest, Reata. Reata travels with her father, bringing along a friend for a summer vacation of traveling.

We learn that in the beginning when Brannaman gave clinics, he was painfully shy and had problems looking people in the eyes. Now he’s painfully frank. When a woman brings in a horse that is mean and possibly brain-damaged, he doesn’t try to work miracles for the camera. The three-year-old chestnut probably should have been gelded, but the owner, a woman with 18 studs, didn’t have the heart to do it.

This is where kindness and well-meant intentions won’t substitute for common sense. The horse bites the experienced trainer–hard and to the bone. While Buck feels that an earlier intervention could have made this horse into a useful, behaved creature, now he sees no easy answer. The owner, showing the scar from where the horse bit her previously declares she’ll have to put the animal down.

As Buck says earlier in the movie, “A lot of times, rather than helping people with horse problems, I’m helping horses with people problems.”

Buck Brannaman spends nine months out of the year, on the road, giving long-weekend clinics across the nation and even in foreign countries. Earlier this year, he was in Riverside.  Yet he’s not the only disciple of Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. There are many other practitioners of what is called the Natural Horsemanship, including Monty Roberts who has a ranch and training center outside of Santa Barbara. Watching that troubled animal, one can’t help but recall something that Roberts wrote about in his 2008 “The Man Who Listens to Horses: The Story of a Real-Life Horse Whisperer.” (Brannaman also wrote a book, the 2001 “The Faraway Horses”). One wonders what Roberts might have said.

Meehl is telling Buck’s tale and it’s his side of the story we mostly hear. One wonders what other horse trainers who were mentored by Dorrance or Hunt might think, particularly in the case of the dangerous young 3-year-old.

On the personal side, perhaps digging up his first wife might have rounded things out as well.

Buck’s brother, nicknamed Smokie, is alive and well. Perhaps he could have added some objectivity and balance to the documentary.  Smokie is based in Wisconsin (Green Leaf). He also offers a book and DVD. Since 2004, he’s been in the horse business offering training. Contacted via email, Smokie wrote:

Cindy has done a nice job in putting together a film that will no doubt play well to a wide range of audiences. Filming is outstanding, and it follows a good storyline of Buck’s life as he remembers it and tells it. As in all films, especially stories re-told from memory after 35 years, there are parts I remember differently and perhaps some poetic license was used to make it play better to the audience but that’s Hollywood and just business. Over all… A pretty good flick!

So I hope folks enjoy it and take away from it what I think are the good messages about life and overcoming the hardships that sometime come along in your lives. And do the best you can do to help yourself and others in whatever you choose do.

Although Smokie ended up on the same train as his younger brother, he took a different path:

I wasn’t ask to be part of the movie. It’s about Buck and his accomplishments. And I’m ok with that, and I am very proud of him for what he’s done in his life.  I joined the military after high school and made a career of it for 23 years. I still had horses through it all when duties allowed and got back into horses full time in my own way to help folks that perhaps are not on the level of the folks that ride with Buck. I’m happy working in the shadows, got over the rough spots years ago, and  I have tried to do some good in the world just like a lot of other folks, not only in the horse world, but rest of society as well…  There’s no corner on the market, or reason for not getting out there and making things better. Not only for yourself, and your horses, but the rest of us bi-peds in the world too

According to his website, Smokie joined the U.S. Coast Guard and retired in 2000. He uses training methods of his brother Buck Brannaman, Jeff Griffith, Clint Anderson and others. His hobby is Civil War reenactments.  Looks like he might be the more gregarious of the two brothers.

His brother, Buck, seems more single-minded in his work with horses. Despite the lack of critical objectivity in “Buck,” Meehl’s documentary doesn’t fall into adulation. It does paint such a lovely portrait of hope that life gets better and patterns of violence do not have to be repeated. It shows  the rewards of following your passion, of good, hard work and of gentleness and respect for others–even if they aren’t human. All these things make this documentary well-worth seeing. This isn’t just a movie for horse lovers, but for animal lovers everywhere. I suspect you don’t have to be either to learn important life lessons from this movie.

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