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Welcome to our summer blog series - My Summer Vacation. During the next three months, watch for our visual travel diaries showcasing places that inspire us outside the studio.

Traveler: Alise Munson

About 85 miles south of our studio sits Corvallis, Oregon –  home of Oregon State University, about 55,100 people and the teen home to animation legend Brad Bird.

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The region is know for its agriculture and horse community, which is why world-famous horse trainer Buck Brannaman hosted a horse clinic at the Benton County Fairgrounds on July 6th. Documentary nerds, like me, will know Buck from his movie, Buck, starring Buck. The film won the 2011 Audience Award at Sundance and was the major influence for this trip south into farmland.

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Once you learn about Buck's tenderness toward horses and that it grew from an abusive, violent childhood, you are smitten by this cowboy. Part of his charm lies in his one liners of Western common sense –  like something you'd see stitched and hanging in a Montana kitchen.

“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.” - Buck Brannaman

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More Buck gems:

"I call it WasteBook."

"He probably can't ride a swing in a wind storm."

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Most of the people clustered in metal bleachers were there to see Buck in action and glean horse tips from his clinic and hands-on workshop. Some, like me,  just wanted to see the magic man, wear shitkickers non-ironically and spend a day pretending to be a cowpoke.

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For more about Buck and just an overall good read, try The Faraway Horses. You can also catch him this summer leading clinics in horse towns throughout the West.