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Ricky Quinn Jr. Clinic, Goldfield Ranch, Oct 16-19, 2009

By Mike Thomas

For many years, Robyn Chilleen-Mei has been the most incredible sponsor of Ricky Quinn Clinics in Arizona. This year she produced the best clinic to date, and the best ever given by Ricky Quinn in Arizona. People have a difficult time understanding how a great clinic is built and how much of yourself you have to invest into the effort. Robyn, as usual, was more than up to the task. Like all very successful clinics, they are very carefully built by caring sponsors. They don’t just happen.

For me it was a great experience to watch a fine young horseman and his wonderful fiancée, Sarah Sandusky, place another layer of permanent foundation into the early years of their combined lives, carrying Quality Horsemanship to the world. It's a great thing to watch Ricky and Sarah work together, teaching, supporting and helping each student in a most remarkable and a near seamless way. Both are employing wisdom far beyond their years of age and experience, working hard each day to give 150% of themselves to each and every horse, and each and every student.

How do I know that?

I have had the privilege, over the last thirty years, of watching some very fine young horsemen and horsewoman develop and hone their learning and teaching skills, and all go back to one source of wisdom, The Trinity of Great Horsemen: Ray Hunt, along with Tom and Bill Dorrance.

These include, but are not limited to, Buck Brannaman, Martin Black, Bryan Neubert, Joe Wolters, Brad Cameron, Paul Dietz, Kip Fladland, Buddy Uldrikson, Lee Smith, Joel Eliot, Hal Coker, Kathleen Sullivan, and many others that are on our list of Horsemen and Horsewomen. I have only listed those that now give clinics. There are dozens of younger and much older people that don’t give clinics who are becoming, and are, very incredible Horsemen and Horsewomen. This group that I refer to is "the second and third. fourth, and fifth generation of young clinicians", originating from the Inner Circle of Quality Horsemanship!

You could also say that these horsemen and horsewomen are only in the outer 2-4 circles in years away from The Inner Circle of Quality Horsemanship. There are many thousands of students worldwide, though Ray Hunt’s Saddle is empty forever now. The responsibility now rests with Ray’s students and their very dedicated lives to the horse.

Ricky Quinn: a dedicated Horseman

Buck Brannaman played a very large part in developing the skills of this great young horseman. Ricky Quinn has extraordinary colt starting and horsemanship skills and at his age has already developed horses that are "full up in the bridle", a feat that thousands of people have not been able to do, and yet they take the public’s money for their advice. It is a real honor for me, one that has observed and worked with several great horsemen and horsewomen, to tell Ricky Quinn just one thing: "Give It A Go!"

Hundreds of wannabe horsemen and klinicans cram spade bits, half-breeds, mona lisas, frogs, and all other kinds of mouthpieces with fancy shanks, inlaid and overlayed silver, attached to rawhide reins with rommel, and don’t have a clue where the horse’s feet are at - but they look fancy. Some even give clinics! They mean well in most cases.

Most all of them forgot to look at The Trinity of Horsemen: Ray Hunt, Bill & Tom Dorrance, with a combined 265 years of horsemanship, and about another 500 years, in just four generations of combined family history of horsemanship, when it was vital to the success of the family for their horsemanship to be right! Without the horse, prior to 1925 in the lives of Westerners, not one family could survive.

A horse (our friend) carried our ancestors on his back and pulled the buggy for the Doctor to "birth" each of our ancestors. Mother used another horse to plow and plant a garden for survival. Dad plowed and planted the crops. On Sunday the horse went into the buggy to go to church, many miles away. If Great’s upon Great’s of Grandfathers were feeling frisky, they might do a "buggy race after church in PN" or just simply unhitch and have a match race under saddle in Texas with "Steeldusts!" Saddle and work cows, then brand calves on Monday and Tuesday, and much, much more!

You see, my friends, this is the kind of "stock" our ancestors were, whose lives and families depended on the horse. So when you see above the combined ancestral groupings of Ray Hunt, Tom and Bill Dorrance, please have respect for your own family history. When our own families' survival depended on the horse, we were a nation who depended on horses, and I think most knew much more about quality horsemanship. Their lives depended on the it!

We need to agree on one thing…

When our lives depend on the horse we have more time to do things right by the horse, because less would put our families in trouble or despair! That has not changed; when you saddle your horse for recreation, only to find out you did not know diddly-squat about the horse (even today, when a horse is used like a four-legged ATV), you, like your ancestors, are putting your family's welfare at risk if you don’t know what you are doing! Today there is no excuse for poor horsemanship. There is a lot of good qualified horsemen and horse women to help you. Ricky and Sarah are more than qualified to help you and your horse.

A message to Ricky and Sarah

"You are on the right track in life, tell the truth at all times, give horses and people everything you have in your heart, soul, spirit, integrity and follow the line you are on; you are doing great, pards, don’t weaken!" Remember, my friends: "Sometimes we have to tell people what they don’t want to hear, just to protect them, their horse and their future, it is our responsibility! Remember: this is not about being Politically Correct, not show business, or catalogs of magic crap; it is about being honest with people and horses."

Readers can review Ricky Quinn’s Profile by going to our website,; go to Horsemen/Horsewomen page and select Ricky Quinn. This young horseman gives all the credit to Buck Brannaman and the Trinity of Horsemen previously mentioned.

This, dear readers, is how you pick a clinic for yourself. Do you want a social experience or do you want to really learn? If you really want to learn, be there at the next clinic. Ricky Quinn is conducting a Cow-Working Clinic at Goldfield Ranch on January 8, 2010 at Laurie Gosney’s Ranch, again sponsored by Robyn Chilleen-Mai. Contact:

You got to admire a young man who proposed to the great Sarah Sandusky, not with a simple ring, but with a Saddle built by my friend Marc Brogger and his lovely wife Lola. Marc did the real incredible silver on the saddle as well! You really got to love Sarah for not settling for less!

The great Marc and Lola Brogger, Three Forks, MT: Thanks to both: Mike Thomas