California Horses

Lazy K Ranch

American Quarter Horses

Today’s Quarter Horse is a unique breed created by first the needs and circumstances of our colonial forefathers, and then by those of the western settlers. It began with the first English horses brought in by British colonist. Racing was a passion with many of the colonist, and to increase their chances of winning they found they could do so by crossing their horses with the those brought in by the Spanish colonists. These horses excelled at running quarter mile races.

A grandson of the famous Godolphin Arabian was imported to add another ingredient. Other carefully chosen horses were also imported from England. The final ingredient was the western mustang. At first the concentration was on breeding for speed, but as the west and the cattle industry opened up breeding was also for endurance and agility.

Texas with its booming cattle industry needed good working horses. The “Steeldusts” as the Texans called the developing breed (named after a famous stallion who set confirmation standards) moved west with the settlers and cattle. The “quarter horse” went from racer to cow pony and was bred for specific traits that now define the American Quarter Horse. The AQHA registry was established in the 1940’s to preserve those traits.


Established in 1958 by Mike Knapp, the Lazy K Ranch is a 45,000 acre cattle ranch. Family owned and managed for 60+ years their horses are working Quarter Horses. They have been carefully bred over the years to produce great ranch and performance horses. I was very fortunate to be able to photograph some of these exceptional American Quarter Horses. My thanks to the Knapp family for their hospitality.

The Horses

California was in a drought when I visited so there was lots of dust. There were also lots of fences so I did take some artistic license in these images. The first set is of a very athletic stallion. Lots of energy and action.

(Click on an image to enlarge.)

We also had an opportunity to photograph some of this year’s mares and foals out in their pasture.

Two young stallions provided some wonderful photo opportunities.

The friendliness, speed and agility was very apparent in all of these horses.

Thanks once again for joining me. I hope you’ve enjoyed the images. More still to come from my California trip.

Still working on updating my website, but I would love to hear your comments and feedback. Until the next post (which you can be notified of by signing up at the top of this page). Cheryl

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. you have a special knack for when to snap that picture. these are wonderful, and how exciting to have been there.

    thanks cheryl

    1. Thank you, Patricia! What nice compliments. 😊

  2. Such beautiful horses and you captured their grace and agility. Can you rent one to ride? I always think I want to do that again.

    1. Thanks, Hope! Don’t think these are for hire, but I know some places you can. 🙂

  3. My brother-in-law was the veterinarian for the King Ranch and retired from there several years ago. As you can imagine, he knows all about quarter horses…so I sent him the link to see these photos bc I know he can appreciate them. Funny how, he retired to northern CA ! I will ask him all about the ranch where you took the fabulous images. I wish I had a whole wall of every one ! As always, thank you and Carl for brightening this old woman’s days with your photos !!🤩😍💕

    1. Thank you so much, Sheila! How interesting about your uncle.I always wanted to visit the King Ranch. It has been so instrumental in both the quarter horse and paint horse breeds. Many years ago I had a mare who came from the ranch.

  4. What athletes!!!

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