Barrel Racing

Beautiful Mama’s – Rickey Quarter Horses, Red Bluff (CA)

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Some of the beautiful brood mares at Rickey Quarter Horses. Mamas to the colts, and young horses they have for sale.

I love watching a group of horses like this. It’s something almost ethereal with their beauty, and inner peace.


Equine Photography – Beautiful Colt

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Registered yearling colt, by Skips Criterion, the grandson of Skip Sir Bar

A result of 25 years of careful breeding.

He is halter broke, ties, bathes, is easy to handle, friendly, well muscled, athletic, respectful, brave, very intelligent, and know how to move. 

This amazing colt is located at Rickey Quarter Horses in Red Bluff, California.  I highly recommend a personal visit, but we can help a serious buyer arrange transportation, or shipping out of state.

All yearlings are priced at $1200. Discounts if you buy more than one.

Leave a comment, or email me ( if you’re interested in this charismatic boy.



I hope your week is off to a great start! I woke up with a very light, happy feeling in my heart this morning. Yesterday three of our rescue horses went on their way to forever homes. That makes me very happy! When you care for an abused horse for a long period of time, following their progress, and seeing them find their own human- that’s just the best feeling ever!

What could be a better way to start out the new week than with a guest post by my friend Franklin Levinson? I’ve admired Franklin’s dedication to horses for several years now. What I especially admire is that he always seeks peace with the horse. His main goal is always in the horse’s best interest. He had some amazing results through the years, and I am eager to learn everything I can from him. This weekend he sent me several new essays to share with you. This is the first one. 






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               Franklin Levinson 


If you have ever watched competition riders you may have noticed the riders with the lightest hands will appear to be the lightest riders on the horse’s backs, or seen riders who just look weightless on a horse. They will seem to not move their hands much at all and have the reins held very lightly. You may even see a bit of slack in the reins. If you have not noticed this, pay attention to it next time you watch a group of riders. Some will appear to float on a horse’s back and some, regardless of their size, will appear heavy on the horse. A rider who sits heavily on a horse will mostly be a heavy handed rider. A heavy handed rider will generally produce a horse that is behind the vertical with its head (nose tucked too much towards the chest) and be on the forehand. These horses will often be struggling to move their mouths away from the hands of the rider by thrusting their heads forward and down or holding them quite high.


It seems that light hands produce light riding in general and vice/versa. Light hands also produce light horses with engaged hind quarters and a natural head carriage. My wonderful wife Ilona really impressed me when I first watched her ride. I watched her in a two-point stance on a horse, she was not holding the reins, but was holding her arms up and out to the side. The horse was a recently gelded, 16+ hand high, Thoroughbred and was known for its energy. This horse was as relaxed as possible. It was moving very lightly and covering a lot of ground in a calm and simply beautiful canter. My life was really floating on that horse. Ilona is an English rider and instructor with many years experience. We were at a place that had a certified BHS instructor on staff. When I watched the BHS instructor, who was a substantially smaller woman than my wife, she sat on the horse like a heavy sack of potatoes and her arms and hands were rather rigid and stiff as she struggled to control the horse with her hands. It was not a very pretty sight. She prided herself on her ‘traditional’ BHS manual based riding abilities which she had been taught by other BHS instructors. My wife had learned from equestrians who knew the value of light handed riding and demonstrated it in all they did with horses. They emphasized lightness in all areas of horsemanship as do I. A favorite credo of mine is that ‘less is more in regards to horses.’

Many riders have never been properly taught the concept of light contact with the horse’s mouth. ‘Contact’ is a misunderstood concept and generally not thoroughly explained or considered well at all. Many, especially young and novice riders, tend to hold themselves on the horse by maintaining a tight, weighted grip on the reins. This is painful to the horse and is certainly not light, balanced or proper riding. We see today a growing movement to eliminate bits entirely. That even a horse carrying a bit without having reins attached it is abusive to the horse. Many seem to believe that once the reins and hands are added into this equation, very sever abuse will always occur for the horse. If you look at the many diagrams posted on the internet about this subject, it is easy to see the correlation between a horse carrying a bit and the potential pain this produces for the horse. Probably eliminating the bit will decrease the numbers of folks riding. But, it will definitely create better riders for those who stay with it, as well as happier horses. Personally I love bridle-less riding, teach it and believe it helps create a wonderful relationship between horse and human.

I have an exercise I like to occasionally do at clinics of mine that looks like this; I have someone stand and hold a bit (generally a snaffle) with the reins behind them. Someone else stands behind that person and holds the reins like they are riding. I then blindfold the person holding the bit. The person holding the reins is to ‘ride’ the person in front of them and guide them around an obstacle course. I have even gone so far as to have the person playing the horse hold a sterile pony bit in their mouths. This exercise graphically demonstrates how most riders are way too heavy handed and hurt the horses they ride. 

A great goal is to develop a rider’s seat to the point that reins are mostly not required to ride safely and effectively. I have stated many times my belief that bits, spurs, crops, whips and all rider aids are only tools and only as good as the human hands using them.

The term that a horse ‘carries’ a bit is a good one. The bridle, if properly set and adjusted, should position the bit in a painless place in the animal’s mouth. Some discomfort will always be felt if the reins are pulled on. The harder the pull, the more pain inflicted. But most riders just don’t get it, or don’t consider it important. This shows little respect or compassion towards the horse. It also indicates a total lack of knowledge as to the workings of the bit, reins and bridles in general, along with a lack of understanding of the anatomy of the horse’s mouth. It should not be the bit that stops a horse.

It should be the seat and body of the rider. 

Sometimes in a clinic a person will bring me a horse and say he has no brakes and what sort of bit they should get. I often say they need to become a better and more informed rider. Then I tell them to get rid of the bridle and put a rope halter on the horse with the lead tied up as a rein. I say to ride the horse in a round pen, paddock or small arena. If the horse needs to move out (go fast), I tell them to let it and simply ride it out. The horse will not want to go very far at high speed. Fairly soon it will want to slow and stop. At that point I say to ask the horse to keep moving a bit farther and, when the rider is ready, to allow the horse to slow and stop via a very light cue by simply lifting the rope-rein, sitting down a bit heavier, taking their legs off the horse and saying a quiet whoa. The horse will stop. If they do this exercise a lot and if they are a good enough rider, they horse will soon learn to stop off the seat and legs of the rider, without even lifting the rope. I teach beginning bridle-less riding this way as well.


Lightness in other areas of our lives is an interesting concept. If we tend to be very serious (heavy) and allow this heaviness to permeate our lives it can really be a destructive force. It certainly will damage your relationships and create negativity, depression and unhappiness. I am not suggesting frivolity, carelessness, unconsciousness,or ignoring the consequences of our words and actions. I am offering a learned and practiced alternative called light handed riding. This will quickly extrapolate into light handed living if we embrace the concept and develop this skill. Living in a consciously light handed way will tend to focus our attention in the areas of peace, gentleness, calm, and balance. Additionally, developing light handed riding requires being attentive to the feelings of the horse and other humans too. Many riders are not doing this either through ignorance, carelessness or lack of empathy. It is not difficult to develop if a person is made aware of it, taught the skills and practices. Developing light handed riding can assist us all in developing a lightness of being that is certainly desirable, beneficial, and healthy and will add immensely to the quality of our lives and the lives of our horses.


Franklin Levinson is a 45+ year professional trainer, teacher and author on the training and behavior of horses and Equine Facilitated Learning. He is seeking, along with his wife (also a professional instructor for many years) to return to the US after living in Europe for the past 5 years. They are looking for a live-in position at a training center, guest ranch or similar facility starting June 2015 (flexible.) They both have very extensive resumes, numerous endorsements and quality references. His website is . Please email him at; 

A Yearling V/S a Two Year Old Quarter Horse

Young horses, just like human children, go through different growth spurts while growing up. The other day we took out two half brothers from the pasture, to show the difference of a yearling’s body, compare to a two year old, for one of our clients. 

The yearling is High Tide Skipper in yesterday’s post. The two year old is Tyler’s Sorrel. Both are very correct Quarter Horses from Rickey Quarter Horses (Red Bluff, CA) and are suitable models to show how a young Quarter Horse grows.






Tyler’s Sorrel, to the left in the picture, is a two year old Quarter Horse by Skips Criterion, and out of Little Town Mare. Skips Criterion, is the grandson of Skip Sir Bar.

If you are looking for an athletic partner with a great mind, this is the perfect choice. Tyler’s Sorrel has a couple rides on him, and never offered to buck. He is very willing to please, a BEAUTIFUL MOVER, ties, bathes, easy to handle, friendly, well muscled,  respectful, brave, intelligent, registered with AQHA, and ready to go in your direction! 

Rickey Quarter Horses is a small, exclusive breeder, breeding for versatility and performance. 

Right now priced at $2500. Currently in training, the price will go up.

High Tide Skipper, to the right, is a registered yearling colt, also by Skips Criterion.

He is halter broke, ties, bathes, is easy to handle, friendly, well muscled, athletic, respectful, brave, very intelligent, and know how to move. 

All yearlings are priced at $1200. Discounts if you buy more than one.

They are located in Red Bluff, California.  I highly recommend a personal visit, but we can help a serious buyer arrange transportation, or shipping out of state.


Have a wonderful Sunday!



PS. We also have several nice 2-4 year old horses, with the same bloodlines, started under saddle. Prices starting at $3000- $5000. Well started, and currently in training. 

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