Kelly Sigler

Master Buckley – Part 1

The Raw and Uncut Version! – Part 1

Many of you have met Buckley over the years.  Most of you have seen Buckley as Mr. Perfect- my partner in 100s of clinics that I have done all over the country, one of the stars on the Parelli Tours, and my Right Hand Man in my training program, Kamp Kelly!

Buckley did not have such a perfect start; however, and that is how he came into my life, as many horses do….because they had a problem.

I HEARD about Buckley before I actually met him…

I had just taken a job at a farm outside of Corpus Christi, Texas- my hometown.  I was speaking to the owner, and he told me that we had to go to one of the local shows to see this horse and rider in action.  Apparently, the horse always stopped, and the rider always fell off.

Before I was able to make it to a show, I met Buckley at the farm where I was teaching.

I was out in the cross country field teaching.  I heard the sound of thundering hooves, and looked over my shoulder to the left to see this magnificent black horse come galloping towards me.

I just couldn’t get over how stunning he was.

It was love at first sight.

When he arrived exactly two inches away from me at a screeching halt, his owner was giggling and said, “we didn’t mean to go that fast, but he took off…so I just pointed him to you and hope that he would stop!”

Now he had me.  Some women fall in love with troubled men that they want to fix.  I fall in love with troubled horses that I want to fix (and generally, I am successful with horses- most women who try this with men just aren’t.. as we all know)

What started off as a cross country “lesson” turned into- we need to get some control on the ground first.

I had just started my new Natural Horsemanship life.  I was not an instructor in NH, just eventing at that time, but I knew enough to know what danger looked like…..and I knew that we had to get him going on the ground first with some of the games that I had been working with.

He was a complete mess- and when I say that, I mean it in every sense of the word.  He was emotional, scared of EVERYTHING including people, invisible things, and real things….and his reactions were BIG.  He didn’t freeze- he turned, burned and bolted. He was a time bomb waiting to go off at any moment.

With that being said, his owner realized quickly into the first ten minutes of the lesson that she would need a lot more help with Buckley.  I started going to her barn regularly to give her lessons.

Buckley was, what we call in Happy Horse Happy Life, and Tense Mover when I met him.  He was innately a Tense stopper, but had been blown up so many times, that now he just took off if ANYTHING SCARED HIM.

We started on the ground.  Although he was constantly terrified, he was obedient.  He desperately wanted to do the right thing.  I still remember how terrified he was if the rope was on the ground.  I remember ALWAYS trying to keep the rope off the ground.  Now, I would probably intentionally drag it everywhere, but back then- as I was still getting my NH training wheels, I was being way too careful because I didn’t want to “mess him up anymore.”

We were starting to make some progress.  He would yield and disengage so I could at least stop him now and not die.

I was preparing to head to Pagosa for the summer to start Parelli University.  I had been working diligently with my horse George- who was now very close to his level 3.

Buckley’s owner suggested that I take Buckley, too.  She was now trying to have a baby, had a young business, and really couldn’t deal with him at the moment…so I agreed.

This is where the fun really started…..and I will tell you all about that in Part 2: Master Buckley Raw and Uncut!

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