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Buck Brannaman: New River, AZ Clinic, Apr. 9-12 2010

By Mike Thomas

The First Day: The First 2 hours


See bottom of page for Clinic slideshow.
I arrived early on that day, around 7:30 AM, as I have done for many years now, so I can catch up on the news of the last year. It's something we have been doing for over eleven years. These first few hours are sacrosanct to me and I would like to think Buck looks at it the same way.

We don’t talk about the past thirty-one years much, but find a seamless way of visiting about the last year and are now looking forward to another year. It's an hour or two where we individually, yet together again, review the last year current events, news of recent events and more. A lot had happened in the last year when the last of our heroes, Ray Hunt, passed a year and about ten days before (March 12, 2009). Buck had been at the Ray Hunt Memorial Clinic around February 26, 2010. Like Buck said, "It was a good deal and a lot of people got a lot of good out it!" More at and .

Then Buck talked about a project that he and Martin Black ( are trying to put together that will continually and properly remember Ray, along with Tom and Bill Dorrance. It will help establish a group that will offer many venues for aspiring young horsemen and horsewomen in the future. A program that will define, honor and respect these great horsemen A program that will respect their combined 264+ years of living their lives for the horse, not themselves. A program that fully honors Ray Hunt as the Greatest Horseman the world ever saw, who spent his life "taking it to the world".

We both agreed that since Ray’s passing a lot of "wannabe klinicans" (Ray’s term) are spending millions on publicists, agents and other show business methods for trying to say they are #1 now. Over the years in ranching and living close to horses and livestock, we both know it doesn’t take the Buzzards long to start feeding on the deceased and their life's work. This is nothing new. It is the unfortunate nature of the human.

There is nothing wrong with Buzzards, Coyotes and other carrion feeders devouring the mammalian remains of the ranch/nature ecosystem but there is definitely something wrong about some people stealing a great horseman's life work and dedication to the horse!

Thus, before the clinic started, our conversation gave me internal peace, knowing something long range will be done to preserve the honesty, integrity, dedication, and true character of Ray Hunt! The year before, at the same New River Clinic, we were all devastated by Ray's passing, even though we knew for years it was going to happen. That clinic was reviewed by this website at Buck Brannaman: The Toughest Clinic he ever Gave with full pictures and video clips, and is also linked on the Home/Bunkhouse page.

The Clinic Overview

The start of the Clinic went smoothly and the weather was great, whereas a year before the "AZ Freeze Wind" had horses and people blowing up, almost, all over the place! The 2009 clinic turned out great, but started off a little rough both in Horsemanship and Cow Working.

Many old friends of the year before were there, and it was obvious during the warm-up period that many had made huge progress with their horsemanship in the last year. Many had worked very hard on improving their horsemanship and it really showed. Suzanne from California and her Paint horse were great, and so much different from the year before when he was coming apart at the seams. Suzanne really had her horse at a much higher level. The same could be said for quite a few others as well.

Stephanie and Appy always do great, Brady had made huge progress in last year, Dave worked hard during the last year, as well as many other older experienced students. There were some great additions like Melissa from California with her Arab, Amy from Flagstaff, Ann and her Grays, and about fifteen others. Buck was traveling with Shane and Joleen Mickleson Jackson in two separate big rigs and had just come from a great Ranch Roping Clinic in Wilcox, Arizona. This was part of their Spring Tour through Arizona, California, and then on to the phenomenal Californios Roping in Reno, Nevada.

Hal Coker and Blackie had advanced a lot in the Two Rein and really looked good. Darian Morgan on a real young horse did very well, both in horsemanship and cow working. The year before, Darian rode a real nice gray horse that was further advanced and was one of the stars of the cow working, and this year rode a young one and again did a terrific job.

Paul Dietz worked a tough mare that would run through the bit, and in two days had this fine mare really soft in the mouth - and that is not where it started! On day two while branding, Paul threw a terrific loop and the mare was right there with him, and was soft! Pictures posted! You can read more about Paul Dietz

Brian Baldwin and Chief showed a lot of progress in horsemanship and cow working. Dr. Tammi Rolstad DVM and Bessie turned in a huge performance in Cow Working with phenomenal improvement and they were really together and were awesome. Buddy Uldrikson rode a real green filly with only 10 rides on her and an older Team Roping Horse that did not know any of the basics of quality horsemanship, and made huge changes, and all good.

Lisa and her Morgan horse did great through all four days. France Reid on Roany did super in Horsemanship and Cow Working with a lot of savvy and showed how well she can read a cow. Cordy, an experienced friend from Flagstaff, did super.

Suzanne's progress over the last year was a highlight for me, and a new friend Melissa on her Arab, who every day near blew me away. Both ladies made incredible progress and both had extraordinary TRY! They hung on every word Buck had to say and put it to work and did fantastic! I thank my friend Kathy Armsby for being a role model for these young ladies, who are going to go very far with the horse and their lives.

Chuck Reid rode a young mule in Horsemanship and did amazing things with it. Then he rode a more advanced mule in Cow Working, Ranch Roping and much more. The video clips available via this website, on You Tube, show the phenomenal horseman and muleman that Chuck Reid really is.

I know that everyone that attended gave their best and it shows on about 1,000 pics/video clips available for free here at Go to the Bunkhouse page; click on Picassa Albums and go to Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 of Buck Brannaman Clinic. You can also see several video demos by Buck Brannaman. They are good, even if the wind was blowing!

The Clinic: Four Days

Buck ran a clinic with the Horsemanship Class in the morning and Cow Working, Ranch Roping, Branding, Dehorning in the afternoon, during each of four days. Mike and Darian Morgan supplied the cattle. The morning session showed every rider the importance of quality horsemanship so they would be equipped in the afternoon session.

Buck had the class work a Rodear, Fence Work Drive, Dehorning and Ranch Roping on another day, Branding on another day and a Trailer Loading with the herd via quality cattle handling, about 20 head loaded in a goose neck trailer in the arena! The pictures of young ladies learning how to run branding irons and branding is amazing. The other surgical and vaccination procedures, tailing a cow down and ear tagging were great. Real life, real ranch experience for many students, all available at the links provided above.

Charlie Hill

Charlie Hill - a great horseman who won the Ray Hunt Saddle at The Ray Hunt Memorial Clinic just a few days before - came by, and we were all grateful that we got to spend some time with him. Charlie and Debbie have spent many years dedicated to the horse and we were all very happy that he was honored in Fort Worth, Texas at the end of February. I know Ray was and is smiling. More about Charlie Hill can be found at


Buck always adjusts each clinic to the needs of the students and their horses, making daily and hourly judgement calls on what the classes are ready, or not ready, for. His discretionary skills in deciding what will help each student and each horse are like no other's. His compassion in teaching and educating can only be seen by those with many years of experience.

In every Clinic that Buck Brannaman does, past, present or future, is always based on letting each and every horse win. When the horse wins, the rider/owners win. Nobody comes in at the end in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place, nor is there a LOSER! Every horse and every rider wins, regardless of experience, education with the horse. The horse of course is the real winner.

Yes, it is true there are quite a few riders with over 40+ years experience in the clinic and those that have only ridden some in last year. Buck treats every single horse and every rider on an equal basis and no one person or horse is more important than the other. All horses and all students are equal in Buck’s mind and eye, all deserve the best he can offer and does. With each clinic he continually re-invents himself!

This is what Ray Hunt did for over 40+ years of clinics! Buck and those that know and are in it for the horse will adjust to fit the situation to each horse and rider. It is not about Show Business Clinics where one size fits all! The clinic must fit each horse and each rider on an individual basis. Every horse must, will and does become a WINNER!

Follow-Up Regional Help

The following people that are part of a Regional Support System for follow-up help/support for their horses in continuing education are available in the Arizona and Southwest. This applies to Buck Brannaman Clinics, Ricky Quinn Clinics, Tom Curtin Clinics, Martin Black Clinics and some (20) others on our list.

Paul Dietz:

Buddy Uldrikson:

Joel Eliot:

Lee Smith:

Charlie Hill:

Hal Coker:

Mike Thomas:

Harry Whitney:

These people can give every student and horse follow-up help after a major clinic and will support everything you learned in the clinic so you can make major improvements until next years…Buck Brannaman Clinic or Major Clinics and then “kick it up another notch!”

Clinic Slideshow

Start the slideshow by clicking the green triangle. Slideshow controls are at the bottom of the image. If they vanish, you can see them again by rolling your cursor over the image. To read captions, pause the slideshow by clicking the Pause control (two vertical lines).

Brannaman Clinic, New River AZ 2010