Interview with Buck

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Rhonda Smith is the CEO and founder of Spirit Reins, a non-profit that provides treatment to children and families who have experienced traumatic events. She interviewed Buck, a main character in the book, The Gift, at his home pasture for Spirit Reins’ Amplify Spirit Reins campaign for Amplify Austin. Alicia Nance is Buck’s friend and lends a hand as translator.

Rhonda: Buck, thank you for joining us via satellite for Amplify Spirit Reins. The weather looks gorgeous up there in North Carolina.

Buck: You are welcome Rhonda. I’m happy to do it and glad to help out a friend of Pip’s. The sun is shining today. It is very, very warm here. I like to stand down by the lake where the wind is a little cooler.

Rhonda: It is warm here as well. What do you think of the story that The Gift tells?

Buck: I think it is an important story that helps folks understand that just because they think something is one way doesn’t mean it is. All that time Pip thought I was a mean ol’ guy, and I’m not. I think that having friends and knowing how to make them is important. The part that I think is the most important for horses is we don’t like to be alone. We want to be with our herd—that’s where we feel the safest.

Rhonda: We understand from Pip that you like the song “Uptown Funk.” Can you tell us what you like about it?

Buck: I don’t know what that is.

Rhonda: (getting help singing) Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)
Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)
Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)
‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you
‘Cause uptown funk gon’ give it to you

Buck: Oh, yeah. I don’t understand the words but I love that music! When I hear it I prance around, strike out my hoofs, and toss my head. I can’t stand still. It makes me happy all over.

Rhonda: We asked some of our guests in attendance today for questions they would like to ask you. Is it okay if we read some of these from your fans and have you answer them?

Buck: Yes, that would be okay.

Rhonda: Melissa would like to know what it is like to ride in a trailer.

Buck: It is really weird to be moving and your feet are still! The wind is nice. But you go so fast you don’t get to see very much. It moves and shakes, so it is hard to feel safe enough to sleep. I’m glad I don’t ride in one very much.

Rhonda: Doc asks, “What will you do if Pip makes you mad?”

Buck: Hummmmmm. That’s a tough question. Let me see. I guess it depends on what she does. If she hurts me I might bite or kick her but she’s never done that. Sometimes she doesn’t bring me treats and that makes me feel a little mad. I check all her pockets then I go back to grazin’ and ignore her a bit. Sometimes she wants to do something that I don’t want to do and she keeps bugging me until I do it with her. I get mad about that sometimes. I do what she wants but I put my ears back and do it slow to show her I don’t like it none.

Rhonda: Buck, Doc has a follow up question, “Is it worth it to have a friend even if you get mad at them sometimes?”

Buck: Yep ‘cause you aren’t mad all the time and you can do a lot of stuff and have fun. I think when you feel mad and you can communicate about it and things get better it makes the friendship stronger. Also, having a friend means you are not alone.

Rhonda: Ali wants to know, “Do horses ever get tired of eating grass?”

Buck: No. Grass is the most wonderful thing in the world. Different kinds of grass have different tastes. It would be nice if grass and carrots grew together.

Rhonda: Tim writes, “Change is so scary, how did you get brave enough to try to trust Pip?”

Buck: I didn’t really think I was brave. I just started to feel comfortable around her once she stopped hollering and chasing me. I like the backup game. It makes me feel really good.

Rhonda: Rob asks, “Is there anything you are scared of now?”

Buck: I’m still scared of mountain lions, and coyotes.

Rhonda: Jordan writes, “What do you think of the name Buck? What were you called before you came to live with Pip?”

Buck: The man where I used to live called me Goose. My mama said it was because when I was little I would chase feed bags blowing in the wind, and butterflies. The man said I was a “silly goose” and the name stuck. I like the name Buck. It has a nice ring to it.

Rhonda: Erin wants to know, “What is your favorite candy?”

Buck: My very favorite is the white treats Pip gives me. I think they are peppermints.

Rhonda: Erik wants to know what brings you joy.

Buck: I feel joy every time I see Pip climb over the fence and when she spends time with me, just me and her together doing nothing.

Rhonda: Ralph writes, “If you had a herd now how would your relationship with Pip change?”

Buck: I would love to have a herd. Pip isn’t always here and I spend a lot of time alone. I don’t feel very safe alone. If I had a herd I could feel safe all the time and still be Pip’s friend. I think I would just feel better if I had a herd.

Rhonda: Nina would like to know if you miss your mom or just your friends.

Buck: I miss them all!

Rhonda: Scott writes, “Do horses have names for each other?”

Buck: It is hard to explain to humans, Scott. We don’t have names for each other like humans do but we know each other by the essence of our spirit.

Rhonda:  Max asks, “Can I come over and play with you?”

Buck: I would like that. I like making new friends.

Rhonda: Can you tell us how your life has changed since the publication of The Gift?

Buck: Well, there are a lot more people coming up to the fence and hollering “Buck! Buck!” in a high pitched voice just like Pip used to do. It is rather annoying to have all that ruckus.

Rhonda: I can imagine that it is hard to have so much attention.

Buck: I like attention that comes with scratching under my chin and on my rump as well as carrots and sweet things. But I don’t like folks hollering at me.

Rhonda: I suppose that could be upsetting, especially if you are trying to nap.

Buck: My naps are often interrupted by squeals. Pip says they only come by because they love me.

I think that if they love me they would be quieter and bring more treats.

Rhonda: What is next for you and Pip?

Buck: Pip keeps saying something about saddlin’ up but I don’t really know what that means. Right now we are spending time together in the pasture and waiting for the weather to cool off.

Rhonda: Buck thank you for giving us some of your precious time and helping us celebrate the impact that Spirit Reins has on children and families.

Buck: Liked my time with you. You are welcome. Do you have any carrots?

 

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