ABOUT RICKY QUINN
Ricky Quinn was raised in Wyoming where he grew up around horses and other livestock. When Ricky was a teenager he met Buck Brannaman at a horsemanship clinic. Meeting Buck greatly impacted the direction of Ricky’s life. He knew that there was something unique about Buck and his ability with horses. After high school, Ricky moved to Montana where he worked on a ranch for nine years starting colts, learning horsemanship, and caring for cattle as he continued his study of true horsemanship.
Today, Ricky travels throughout the United States and Internationally teaching horsemanship. Ricky and his wife own a ranch in North Platte, Nebraska where they are raising a family while buying and selling stocker cattle. Ricky is around livestock everyday whether it’s on the road helping people with horses or at home weaning a fresh set of calves. Ricky’s life experiences and his study of the teachings of Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, and Buck Brannaman have taught him that animals want to be treated a certain way and that horses in particular are very aware of the feeling a person offers them.
Ricky teaches the mechanics of properly riding and operating a horse, but he also teaches the people what it means to feel of a horse. Once a person experiences a horse responding to their feel, the opportunity for self-improvement and for positive change is incredible. When we become the person that our horse enjoys, we feel better and it usually benefits and lifts all other areas of our life including our interaction with our family, friends, and other human beings.
TESTIMONIAL FROM RYAN & LAURA HATHAWAY
In this “reality” TV, social media based world we live in, it is becoming increasingly difficult to decipher what is actually real and genuine. I believe that our souls long for authenticity, and the beauty of being with horses is they demand it of us. They can see right into the depths of who we are, and what we have to offer, and respond accordingly. For it’s not the gear, the bits, the “gimmicks” we use to force a horse into submission that creates harmony with our horses. Ultimately, the harmony, the perfect ride, that so much of us seek, comes from us looking inside ourselves. In examining what we offer our horses, we learn so much about what we offer the world. Robert Frost so poignantly penned, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Such truth in this statement. Our roads diverged in September of 2001, and it truly has made all the difference.
Ryan met Ricky Quinn at McGinnis Meadows Ranch on a vacation that his father had invited him on. He was quite reluctant to go at first, never really having any interest in horses, he was a surfer, and it just so happened that a big swell was coming in the week of his departure. I had been riding at a local barn, and was feeling quite jealous at the idea of him having the opportunity to spend a week in Montana riding horses. Little did I know how much that trip would affect my life. There are many details that I could share of all Ryan experienced that week riding at McGinnis with Ricky, but to sum it all up, when I picked him up from the airport at the end of the week, he was different. I saw it in his eyes. He had changed. He had experienced something more authentic than he had ever known before, and he knew he had to have it in his life. I never really knew exactly what this change was until I had the opportunity to ride with Ricky myself.
Ricky has a gifted way in drawing out all your potential, by supplying you with the mechanics and confidence in helping you connect with your horse. We both experienced it first hand the first time we rode with Ricky. The change you experience with your horse is undeniable. However, as amazing as that change is, it’s the process of the horsemanship that creates the real change in your life. Every time we ride with Ricky we learn something new about ourselves, and that transfers over to a better connection with our horses and with the people we are in contact with. The horsemanship itself has become a way of life, and the beauty in it is you’ll always be learning, growing, and developing. Not only has riding with Ricky developed us and our horses, but the foundation laid has kept us safe in many situations with our horses. I'm always amazed at how well our horses handle difficult situations, and take such pride in the way they respond. If the only reason you were to ride and develop yourself with this horsemanship was for the safety of yourself and your horse, it would be well worth the investment.
I have seen Ricky restore trust and replace fear with confidence with more horses than I can say, and to witness the transformation he can achieve in a troubled horse is truly a thing of beauty. I personally appreciate that he is able to transfer that over to the human as well. In riding with Ricky and Sarah, they are able to see and direct you in ways you can’t see in yourself. Their knowledge and years of experience with horses provides you with more information than you typically can process in one clinic. We appreciate that in one weekend of a clinic we have months of information to ponder for ourselves, and mechanics on how to become a more accomplished horseman. Over the years, we have grown to appreciate Ricky and Sarah as teachers and as friends.
Riding and sharing life with Ricky and Sarah has been one of our great blessings, and this horsemanship has transformed our lives in all manners. I’m ever grateful for how it transfers over to how we raised our boys. Although they don’t ride horses, (yet....., I still hold out hope), the life lessons have aided in them achieving goals that seemed somewhat unattainable, and developed them into becoming men I can take great pride in sharing with the world. We may not have made a bridle horse yet, the last several years we’ve dedicated much time and energy to raising our boys, I’ve said many times, “We’re working on developing “bridle horse” boys.” However, I can’t underestimate how strong of a foundation this horsemanship is to every aspect of our life. How riding with one person can filter through to so many facets of your life is truly quite remarkable. I’ll never forget the way I felt after that first clinic.
A sense of desperation that it had to end. And, I’ll never forget what Ricky said as we parted, “this isn’t goodbye, we’ll see each other again, this is just the beginning.” At the time, I had no idea all that laid before us. Fifteen years later, our horsemanship and our friendship has grown and developed, and I know many years of greatness still await. What Ricky and Sarah have to offer you and your horses takes a lot of work and commitment. However, you’ll never regret the results you’ll achieve and the life you’ll experience through the process.
TESTIMONIAL FROM DENISE CHRISTY
I was introduced to Ricky several years ago and had no idea what this “Horsemanship” stuff was all about. I came from the East Coast world of Thoroughbreds and expensive show horses and we pretty much thought we knew everything there is to know about riding and handling our horses. I was braced up to say the least when I was told I wasn’t putting a halter on correctly. How dare anyone tell me this I thought? I have been doing this my whole life and you are going to tell me I don’t know what I’m doing? Needless to say Ricky and I got off to a rough start over that one. Years later and lots of time spend around Ricky’s clinics; I hear this same comment from lots of people. Everyone already knows what they are doing.
Yes, people get by with their horses. They lead them, trot them, lope and rope off of them. Blessed is the horse that puts up with us no matter what we put them through or how we force them to be put through it. Does anyone ever take the time to offer their horse a “feel”? I didn’t have any idea what that was either but boy do I know now. I quickly learned what I had been missing my whole life by just a short amount of time watching Ricky with a horse. I am ashamed of the tricks of the trade that we used on the track or around hard to handle horses. Never did I abuse one, or at least in my mind, but never did anyone take the time to understand that the horse probably didn’t know what we wanted of him. If he did let us know he was getting it, we missed it and continued on with our own agenda. This was often to hurry up and get the job done. Whether it was loading the horse on a trailer or asking him to back up, the list of things we ask our horses to do is never ending.
We sponsored one of Ricky’s clinics a few years ago. I was really starting to catch on to this new way of working around horses but what I was about to see absolutely changed me for life. I knew Ricky was talented by the little time I had been around him at this point, but I was about to witness more than just talent. What I saw, was true compassion for an animal that was forced to endure pure terror because of the human.
A participant in our Colt Starting clinic showed up with a Mustang straight off the land. This horse was as feral as any animal I have ever seen. She was in pure defense mode and wanted to kill anyone in her path. She had scars all over. Her legs and face were swollen and she had lumps all over her neck from the vaccines that were shoved in her. It was obvious this horse’s first experience with the human was one filled with pure disregard for what she was, a wild horse. Ricky gave the most incredible speech on why this horse should have been left alone but because someone wanted to be able to say “I own a Mustang”, this horse had to go through hell. Ricky went on to say that because the horse was now in our arena, he needed to get through to the horse in order to protect her from the interaction with people she was going to now have to live with. Ricky also needed to protect the person that owned this horse. It was really a disaster on both sides waiting to happen.
Ricky’s goal was to be able to get a halter on the horse and to be able to pet her on the forehead by the end of the 3-day clinic. No one could get near this horse. Panels had to be set up so she could be moved to a round pen. Ricky’s only safe choice was to work the horse from horseback on his own trusted companion, Loopty. Everyone watched intensely and with fear for Ricky and his horse, as this horse wanted to attack at every chance she had. There was silence in the arena as we all held our breath watching Ricky work towards achieving his goal of making life better for this horse. There were times things got a little rough and Ricky made sure we all knew how angry it made him that the horse had to go through what was going on in order to get to the other side. Never was there any forceful situation placed on the horse, but just being in the arena with a human was terrifying enough for her.
Progress was made day 1 and as well on day 2. We all felt for this horse and hoped Ricky would be able to help her through it. Day 3 was the day that still causes me to tear up any time I think or talk about it to others. The wild Mustang was calming down. Ricky had gotten a halter on her and she had been getting closer to Ricky and Loopty. She was starting to lower her head a bit with each day. Ricky’s goal had changed to just being able to pet the horse on the neck, while still horseback on Loopty. We were all watching, again in silence as the horse seemed to really be developing a trust for Ricky. Finally, the moment happened that had everyone there holding their breath. Ricky gently asked the horse to step over to him and Loopty. The horse moved over with caution, but took the step. Ricky asked again and she complied. It was then, that Ricky reached out to pet her neck, and it happened. The moment I will never forget. Ricky achieved his goal but it got even better. The horse, on her own took another step towards Ricky, licked her lips and dropped her head in his lap! It was the most unforgettable experience I have ever witnessed with an animal, and I have witnessed a lot! There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. By the end of that session with her, Ricky was now on the ground and leading the horse along on a loose lead.
Ricky again had another speech for us. This time it was on how selfish we humans can be when it comes to only thinking of ourselves and not the ramifications on what our actions may have on another human or animal. While we all listened intently to his speech. The now, not so wild Mustang sat with her head hanging, leg resting and with total trust and connection with Ricky. It was to me, a true picture of the Horseman that Ricky Quinn is.
TESTIMONIAL FROM PEGGY SHEA
When riding with Ricky, be prepared to work harder, dig deeper, and think more rigorously about your horse, your horsemanship, and yourself than ever before. It will change you forever; and you will never look back.
TESTIMONIAL FROM JOEL CONNER
For the past 10 years Ricky Quinn has been instrumental in my growth to becoming better with horses as well as a more complete human being. I'm grateful for the time we've spent together and the friendship we've built.
TESTIMONIAL FROM LISA BOYER
I met Ricky three years ago at my very first clinic. My horse was a 3 yr old at the time, and I had been “out of the saddle” for several years. Clearly I required some direction and, as fate would have it, I found myself at a Ricky Quinn clinic. I was truly out of my comfort zone. My horse was afraid, spoiled, and full of himself; a perfect storm. I wanted to cry, I wanted to quit. Ricky looked me in the eye and said very few words with a strong, simple tone: “I can help your horse if you want to participate”. Somehow I found the courage to continue and three years later my horse and I are ready for anything.
For the short time I’ve been studying the traditional vaquero style of horsemanship (five years) I’ve surpassed a lifetime of horse show and trail riding experience. I don’t want to suggest I’m done, but I do know I’m on the right track of actually connecting with my horse(s). I committed to participate and for you and your horse, I hope I can offer you the same experience.
I also encourage you to read the full article quoted below.
Jamie Feary wrote “The Evolution of Ricky Quinn” in the Ranch And Reata Magazine”, Winter 2012. "Boys are like colts: their potential begins with their genes. Similarly, a pupil’s potential is linked to his teacher. So what would you surmise about Ricky Quinn Jr., a 30-year-old horse clinician with this ancestry: the Father of Natural Horsemanship Tom Dorrance begat Ray Hunt who begat Buck Brannaman who begat Ricky Quinn Jr. To know Ricky, you must first consider his “sire,” Buck Brannaman, the subject of the documentary film Buck and the horse expert in Robert Redford’s movie The Horse Whisperer. Brannaman has long been considered one of the most authentic and effective horse clinicians.
Not to say that Ricky Quinn is Buck Brannaman incarnate, but observe him and the similarities will bowl you over: the buckaroo-style hat with a telescope crease and a bunkhouse roll on the back of the brim, the stately vaquero manner in which he sits his horse, the pragmatism, the candor, and the absence of ego. A man cannot escape his “genes.”
TESTIMONIAL FROM CHARLIE ANDERSON
Over the years, I have been blessed to have ridden with a great number of truly superior clinicians from all fields, from dressage to jumping and finally, Natural Horsemanship. In the last few years I have been lucky enough to have spent my time under the tutelage of Mr. Ricky Quinn. While I have learned so much from so many others, I find that Ricky is one of the best teachers that I have ever ridden under for both the education of the horse and the rider and for life in general. I’ve been lucky enough to watch him transform from a rather brash young man into a caring, articulate, thoughtful teacher who asks the most of his students, their horses, and of himself as a teacher, fellow rider and student of his own horsemanship and further education. As does everyone, he continues to grow in so many directions and always brings that new growth, new thoughts and the new possibilities to each clinic.
He is constantly raising the bar for both the horse and rider while always making sure that the rider maintains the one thought that permeates all of his teaching, “How is the horse REALLY feeling about this?”. He breaks maneuvers down into the smallest parts then allows the rider and the horse to slowly put everything back together with an understanding of how everything is related to the total movement of whatever you may be doing. Each clinic is different with new ideas, new ways to get things done, but yet, he makes sure that it all relates to whatever he has been teaching over the previous years. I am learning to do far less, while my horses are learning to think more, do more on their own and become truly happy at whatever they do.
Whether his clinic is intimate and has only 10 riders, or a larger class of 20 or more riders, every person and horse walks away feeling like they received plenty of individual attention and plenty of information to work on until the next clinic. No one ever leaves his clinics without ever having had individual attention to some detail that they need to work on, practice or just understand a bit more.
He is honest with what needs to be done when it comes to changes that should be accomplished if someone truly wants to grow and become a better rider and a better, happier human. This alone is one of the things that I cherish the most about this instructor. I’ve never seen or heard him be cruel or ruthless, and I personally have had him push me beyond what I thought were my own personal limits and containments of my own riding ability, my own understanding of so many things, my own ego and finally my own work ethic. I have become a better person for what he has illuminated in my riding and therefore in my life and I cannot thank him enough for his patience, understanding and true feel for the human being and the horse. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been rewarding, fulfilling and thought provoking.
It is his ever evolving feel for the human and for the horse that serves him well and it shows with how each group of his students are becoming better and better horsemen with a true understanding of what they are trying to accomplish. He teaches that there is deep thought behind each ride, rather than just a mechanical maneuver or a quick list of things to get done. Horses are coming along quicker, with both the horses and riders understanding more of HOW to get things done and why one thing relates to another. I have not yet met one person who is a true student of horsemanship who desires to get better in every way who does not look forward to what exercises and ideas that Ricky will bring to the next clinic.
As Ricky is constantly changing into a better teacher and rider and I only hope that I am here for another 20 years to see him evolve even more. I am honored to have ridden with him, I am honored to tell people how much he has helped me as a person, as a rider, how much he has brought my horses along in a way that they can understand and accept, but most of all, I am truly honored to call him friend.
Thank you Ricky for all that you have done for my horses, for my students, and for my life.
TESTIMONIAL FROM NICK AND JESSIE DONOHUE
We met Ricky in 2007, and since then he has helped us grow immensely in our horsemanship. He has pushed us in ways others wouldn’t- he pushed us to be better, to think, to slow down, and to work harder. Without this push, it may have been easy to get complacent in our progress with horsemanship. He once told me that as teachers, we are somebody’s rock, a place for them to go back to for a reality check to stay grounded and true, to keep them in reality. Ricky has played that part for us. We don’t settle for “good enough”: if we get something better, he says, “that’s good, but what is next?” He encourages us to keep thinking, keep learning, keep growing. When you ride with Ricky, he helps you learn to hold yourself accountable to your horse. That is your part, and as long as you are trying to be better for the horse, he will be there to help you. Ricky cares about his students, and he wants to see us grow and be better. From clinic to clinic, he remembers his students, and he helps each person with where they are and what they need. In riding with Ricky, we have not only become better horsemen, we have become better people. We strongly encourage everyone who is trying to improve their horsemanship, to ride with Ricky Quinn.