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The Horse Whisperer’s cruel childhood

Nicholas Evans loosely based his novel “The Horse Whisperer” on Brannaman’s amazing equine skills.

Buck Brannaman is a real-life horse whisperer, said Christopher Middleton in The Daily Telegraph (U.K.). In fact, author Nicholas Evans loosely based his novel The Horse Whisperer on Brannaman’s amazing equine skills. Brannaman’s childhood, however, was filled with astonishing levels of brutality. At the ages of 4 and 6, he and his older brother were trained by their father as a child rodeo act. They’d travel across Montana, performing tricks on horseback. If a trick failed, they’d get beaten. “After my mother passed away, my dad fell apart; night after night, he’d yank us out of bed and make us sit at the kitchen table,” he said. “You’d just stare at this table, because if you even looked at my dad when he was ranting in this drunken stupor, he’d take that as an aggressive expression.” The abuse continued after the boys were placed in foster care. “On our birthdays, he’d write and say that the minute we were 18, he was going to hunt us and kill us. He said he was watching us all the time from the mountains, through the telescopic sights of his rifle.” At the age of 50, what does he feel about his father? “There’s only one thing I owe my dad: that I can understand how an animal feels when it’s scared for its life.” 

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