An example of great riding

by PWSux on August 30, 2011

Thanks to Nutmeg for providing the link to the trailer of Buck.  It looks like a great movie!  The trailer has some fantastic examples of great riding and there are many more on YouTube.  Here are just a couple.


Backing up in the corral……

He finishes backing up………

Sidepassing in a pasture……..

Look at these horses now, look at the difference in their head levels, their expressions, their body language and tell me you can’t see a difference.  These are just two but there are many pictures on Ree’s blog showing the same type of thing …….

Elbows flying! Hands at the chest! Pull those reins, it's just a damn horse's mouth wo who cares about his comfort!


{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Mo (just another) August 30, 2011 at 11:31 am



poppy August 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm



julie August 30, 2011 at 11:39 am

fuck. i was sooooooo close!


dezreen August 30, 2011 at 11:51 am

Buck is an incredible movie and his message goes so far beyond relationships with horses – he sees the big picture of universal kindness (not to get too hippy dippy!)


Paula S. August 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Thank you for showing this, PWS. It is not easy for non horse people to totally judge these things. I have googled some to try to compare footage to what the Drummonds do, but most of these films are of English style riding, and I have even wondered if there was some English vs. Western snobbery involved. It is hard to judge the difference for a person like myself, because of the difference in length of reigns and saddle height between the two styles, etc. This film very clearly shows western riding, with the hands appearing higher than in English riding, but clearly lower than the Drummond style.


Rachel (S[d]OC) August 31, 2011 at 9:10 am

As someone who rides English I will point out that while there are differences in position and weight distribution (mostly due to the shape and points of contact in the saddle) as hand position, the basic principles of horsemanship apply everywhere. Keep your heels down. Don’t hold your hands too high – keep a straight line to the bit. Keep arms relaxed by your side. Ride off your body and legs and not your hands.

I think the “snobbery” occurs because we see too many cowboy types like the Drummonds who think they can just get on a horse, kick it, steer it with their hands, and not really learn how to actually ride it, communicate with it. There are folks who see riding as something passive and push-button rather than as a skill one needs to develop. The rider in the above photos understands the skill. The Drummonds and sadly many others don’t. Riding of any type is a lifelong learning process. You never stop learning how to ride.


kate August 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm

There is some snobbery between English and Western riders (not to mention horse racers who ride totally differently and disdain other forms.)

My father rides both. Any time he is on a horse, he’s happy, but he’s probably a better English rider. From him at least, there was no snobbery, ever. Actually, he probably should have ridden more Western for the greater utility of it on farms.

Yes, I know some English riders who are horrified by Western bits…but then forget they are forcing horses over jumps with heavy people on their backs. In the English riding world, there is also terrible abuse. I’ve seen it. It would make you ill. So when English riders point to the essential horrors of Western style riding (which I do NOT agree with) they should really be more concerned with their own “horse trash” habits.


Paula S. August 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I guess I’m a real nitwit, but I’ve never understood the English riding set penchant for jumping things. When ranch horses, and in earlier times, logging horses, plow horses, etc, are asked to do difficult things, it is because necessary work must be done. Hopefully, the work horses are rewarded with good care and comfort after their work is done.

But jumping for unnecessary reasons just seems foolhardy and dangerous for both horse and rider. ( So is bull riding. What real world need is there to sit on a bull–ever?)

I’ve read that in the horse country of the eastern US, there are horrible disagreements between neighbors, because the ride to hounds while jumping fences types don’t want anybody to have honeysuckel on a fence or anything, because they think they have a right to ride anywhere they please.


kate August 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Hunts are supposed to get permission to run across other farms. They are supposed to have good masters of the hounds who can call the dogs off forbidden areas. Of course, not all do. There are good hunts and bad hunts.

I’m not a fan of the hunting scene. Now they are chasing more coyotes than foxes, but it’s the same people who I never really liked much, blasting off on their horses pretending there is a real purpose. It’s all kind of silly at best.

I did like jumping though, way back when. It’s really pretty wonderful.

Now, I’d simply rather ride a horse around the countryside, even at a walk. Doubt I’ll ever ride again, since my mother’s accident made me leery of the whole business.


Rachel (S[d]OC) September 1, 2011 at 10:01 am

EVERY rider of any style has disdain for other styles. I ride at a barn that is primarily dressage and eventing and you should see the contempt they have for the hunter/jumper world! It’s not even an English vs. Western thing. Hell, the trainers at my barn hate hunter/jumpers so much that they definteily think more highly of Western riders.

I have said it before that good and bad horse people exist in every discipline. Any issues I have with Western riders isn’t because they ride Western, but because I do see folks who think they can just sit there and hang on to the saddle horn and never really learn how to ride. I know plenty of talented Western riders who aren’t like that though.

I don’t see anything “cruel” or “pointless” about jumping. It’s a sport like anything else and it’s fun. Why barrel race or play any sport like soccer or football for that matter? They’re not “functional” either. When horses are in pain they let you know and it’s not automatic pain just because a rider takes a horse over a jump.

My pony LOVES to jump. She’s a grouchy little thing normally, but put fences in front of her and she perks up. People have said he actually looks happy when I start jumping her. My husband’s horse hates to jump and and backs off if you put a fence in front of her, then flings herself over it, and then runs off. So he doesn’t jump her and uses her natural talents for movement and suspension in dressage. She’s too spooky to be a trail horse. Every horse has a talent and likes and dislikes.

Suzanne August 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm

great post!


Cat August 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Sorry, I know nothing about horses so I don’t have much to comment on… but I just found this article and thought you’d appreciate it. It’s really interesting, and kind of mirrors a lot of the things you’ve been writing about:

Also, I still can’t get the calf-surfing out of my head. Disgusting.


Josie August 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Cat, I read the article at the link here. Brilliant…! She has articulated exactly how I feel about the Pioneer Woman. Drummond has managed to set women back over half a century, all the while being an astute businesswoman. Of course, she would never admit that, because she would lose her very lucrative fan base.

And yes, the calf-surfing thing has really disturbed me.


MOV August 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm

amazing article, thanks for the link!



poppy August 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Thank you for sharing!


Kristina September 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

Brilliant article! Thank you for sharing!


Zoe September 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

LOVED this article, thank you for sharing!!


Cat, Chaps and Emma August 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Yep, I really want to see that movie. I have been hearing and reading all about it. Kindness and Compassion are unfortunately not a part of the Drummond Ranch. They consider dogs road kill. If one of there kids is in harms way they laugh and take pictures. There are so many layers of dysfunction it is simply amazing. Someone said on the previous post that the really good folks that do great work on ranches and with animals don’t get noticed or held up as a good standard. Very sad….


Kim from Jersey August 30, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I don’t know crap about horses, but these comparison photos really show a difference between the two ways of riding. I almost wish Ree would address this and the calf-surfing (where are the crazy PETA freaks when you need them?) to defend herself. Not because I’m batting for Team Ree, but because I would love to hear an explanation for this type of behavior.


Josie August 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Does Oklahoma have a PETA organization?


poppy August 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Hot damn! That clip made my heart swell. Anyway, I didn’t see one single flowy top! Also, makes you wonder if any of those “problem” horses had been chased down by a screeching woman in a Gator.

Thank you for this post.


Kristina August 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I’m a Western movie freak. Since PWsux has given all her pointers, I’ve been watching the horses with more attention. John Wayne *never* rides like a Drummond. Neither do the stunt men, usually, but I have noticed that bad guys sometimes ride that way, and that if a stunt calls for a horse to rear backwards, they will often pull the reins high.

Of course, these are old movies; now studios pay to have Humane Society watchers make sure that no animals were harmed in the shooting of a film. Why isn’t FN held to the same standards?


Josie August 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Doesn’t Oklahoma have a PETA organization? What is to prevent folks from reporting the Drummonds’ treatment of their animals ~~ particularly the very disturbing calf-surfing? Are the Drummonds so powerful that people are afraid of them?

Here is the website.


Paula S. August 30, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Well, I took one on the chin, risking getting involved with a group that I think does some real good, but is often very extreme for my taste. I gave as little personal information as possible, but did report it. Since there is no way of knowing if anyone is surfing a calf right this minute, I reported it as not happening at this time, so I won’t hear from them for up to two weeks.

I sent them the still, but couldn’t find the film, and told them they could get help finding it here, and what show it aired on. I told them the ranch would be very easy for someone in that part of OK to find and that I hoped they weren’t afraid of the Drummond money.

Be alert for an attack by a flying monkey swarm.


Josie August 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Yay, Paula…! I reported it to them as well, and sent a copy of the picture. I think I probably received the same “canned” reply that you did. However, they are now aware.

Fingers crossed… I just felt sick when I saw that child riding that calf.


Paula S. August 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Getting reports from more than one country, especially if others contact them, might get their attention.

Paula S. August 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Oh, me, too! We sometimes watch DVD’s of the old Rawhide series. I’ve been trying to watch the riding instead of paying attention to the story.


SamsMom August 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm

O MY GOODNESS!! I just watched the trailer for Buck… unbelievable! It was beautiful watching him make that horse “dance”.. I wish Buck could go to the Drummond Ranch & teach them a thing or two!!! or better yet.. I wish the Drummond horses could escape the ranch & go live with Buck!!


SamsMom August 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm

oh forgot to say.. Thats Eddie Vedder singing in the background. 😉 one of my favs! lol!!


Marie August 30, 2011 at 2:15 pm

This is an excellent illustration of riding well vs. can stay on the horse. It’s a sad day when the owners of the largest cattle ranch in oklahoma don’t start their children learning how to ride well. With their resources, there’s no excuse for those kids not being in the saddle early and learning how to ride properly.

I’m not sure about not wearing shoes though. I’ve always shoed my horses and been told they need them since we’re in rocky pastures. It’s an interesting thought and would save a fortune but I’m not sure. Something to look into I guess.

I love all the horse and cattle stuff but admit I like it better when you’re drunk and funny. lol


Paula S. August 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I don’t claim to know a lot about this subject. When I worked for a chiropractor, one of our regular patients was a farrier. (Bending over and holding a horse foot seems to put strain on the back.) He specialized in making custom shoes for each horse, rather than just use stock sized shoes. He had a lot of clients who were willing to pay a premium for this.


joey August 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Marie, I am respectfully asking you to go look at Pete Ramey’s site and see what he has to say regarding horses needing shoes. I really respect this guy, and believe me, I have done HOURS and HOURS of research on the subject. I’m an equine massage therapist and could go on for many HOURS about what bad riding practices, poor saddle fit, metal shoes, etc., can do to the body of a horse, but this isn’t the place to do it.


Paula S. August 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm

The DC I worked for made house calls on the QT and treated horses by request. We had a lot of horse people for patients and they requested it.


Amanda October 9, 2011 at 1:40 am

It depends. There are breeds that for show purposes must go barefoot (Peruvians and Pasos are an example). My best friend that I board with has all of her horses barefoot and none of her horses need shoes. Our farrier is actually recommended by our University- he specializes in laminitis and other lameness issues.

My mare does currently have special aluminum shoes because she is recovering from a ligament/tendon injury, but it’s not permanent. It depends on what you’re doing, where you live, your horse, etc. My rule for horses is it depends on the horse.


Josie August 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Since I live in Canada, I am not able to get Ree Drummond on the Food Network. Can someone please send me a video of the Drummond boy “calf-surfing”? PETA is interested in seeing it. Thanks. 🙂


The Ranter August 30, 2011 at 11:48 pm

This looks like a beautiful movie. Thank you for sharing it.


poppy February 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I just watched Buck (the movie) from start to finish. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.


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