BACK IN THE SADDLE! Finn and I went for a ride!

I haven’t ridden Finn since I left Grass Valley!


Well, lots of excuses but the one I use most often is that there is no place to ride at my house.  I like to work safely with fresh horses – and there isn’t a safe place on our hilltop home.

Anyway, enough of the excuses… I wanted to find a way to ride him that was safe for a horse and rider who haven’t done this dance together for over a year, almost 2!

This is Mattie Work. She is the eldest daughter at the Work Ranch and she took me on a lesson ride today – to ease back into riding Finn, who I hadn’t ridden in over a year!


I’ve mentioned the Work Ranch previously.  They have lovely, large rides there for fund raisers (Wounded Warriors) and such, and I’ve been to a few of those.  While there, I met Mattie Work (the daughter) who has since house sat for us when we’ve gone for long trips.

Anyway… I ran into Mattie when I was up at the V6 Ranch recently, and she said that she was giving lessons.


So I asked her if I could pay her to ride with me and Finn – give us a lesson on the trail, let’s say.  The Ranch is 12 minutes away, has a huge flat arena (football field) and lovely trailriding (12,000 acre cattle ranch).

She said, “Sure!”

So, today I went!

Click image to go to their website.

Work Family Guest Ranch, San Miguel, California offers horseback rides through the hills on the 12,000 acre property. An evening horseback ride in the hills of the ranch with Kelly Work and her two daughters, Mattie and Johanna


Mattie suggested that we ride in the ginormous arena before we headed out.  (We only had an hour.)

I didn’t feel that Finn would need an arena workout – especially because he and I never really used an arena before when training… and because their arena is so huge, I felt very vulnerable in there.

So first we started out on the trails.

Finn was almost out of control; he was so excited!

Yup.  Mattie’s idea of riding in the arena was a good one.

So we turned around and went into the arena.

Finn tied to the trailer and AMPED. He was so excited to be in a new place with cows and lots of other horses!


Once in the arena (football sized, huge, land an airplane in there) Finn’s eyes got HUGE.

I lounged him.

He remembered how, which is more than I can say for myself who kept getting tangled in the lounge line.  But, we made it.

He bucked and bunched up a lot.  Funny!  I had never seen him act this way – just HAPPY to be alive and out doing something fun!

By now in our day, we really didn’t have enough time left to go on a trailride, so we walked around the arena and let him get used to all the contraptions and cow stuff and horses behind walls and gators, and other horses coming in and out and tied to pens – and all the mayhem that happens in a real, cowboy arena.

It was dizzying for him and I thought that was perfect!

He was looking at everything! Here we are in the middle of the arena. My truck and trailer look so tiny.  You can see that the wind was blowing… didn’t help.

Mattie was setting up barrels while I played around. The weigh station behind Mattie housed a horse that Finn thought was very interesting. You can barely see him… an older gelding, just like Finn.


When you don’t trailer out often, you forget stuff.

Let me digress… In my former life, I rode 3-4 times a week.  I was always in my trailer.  I had it all tricked out and could be saddled up in 5 minutes after arrival.

Today, not so much.

First, I ended up having to do a bunch of business during my ride prep time.  I was supposed to go out early, gather Finn, groom him perfectly and then put him in the trailer and drive away.

All I got to do of that stuff was ‘put him in the trailer and drive away’.  So embarrassing.  I arrived with a horse who looked like I just pulled him out of the field, which I did.

Mattie’s horse was gorgeous, perfectly groomed and blanketed, etc.


Next…it wasn’t until I was on the road (easy backroads) did I notice that my trailer lights and brakes were not working.  Oy.  Getting that fixed next week.

Then, when I got there, I tied Finn up with a leadrope that I had in the trailer.  Well, it was moldy over the winter (which I neglected to notice) and broke.  Finn ran around for a moment – then came back to the other horses when he felt insecure.

Sigh.  Rookie move.

Of course, when I lounged him, I forgot that I had put my phone in my saddle bag – like I used to always do.  Except I put it in the water bottle area, not the latched pocket.  So, it flew out while I was working him.


Then I forgot to have water for him… my kit didn’t have the right brushes (I must have borrowed and not returned) and I used BG’s bridle on Finn because I couldn’t remember which was which – and I guessed wrong.

Sigh Sigh.  I must release my inner OCD and just go with it.

The good news is that we made it and it was a very fun thing to do!  After I hosed Finn down, he seemed so PROUD OF HIMSELF.  I was happy for us both.

We go back Monday.  (Yay!)

By the end, he was calm. My old boy was back to me…  That is Mattie on her horse, I’m riding Finn.

EMERGENCY FEBRUARY BUCKET FUND!  PLEASE DONATE YOUR STARBUCKS – or whatever you can to these poor horses! We can REALLY help! Starved, open wounds… all under blankets to hide them. PLEASE SHARE and help us help them!! They’ve lost one – let’s right the wrong. CLICK HERE: 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE and Thank you!  All donations are 100% tax deductible!


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2 comments have been posted...

  1. Faith


    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us, especially your vulnerability. I know you’re a good rider, a great horse mom, a fabulous writer. HorseandMan is my number one favorite blog because you are so HUMAN.

    Today, I gave a great sigh of relief. I have 7 equines and have ridden a total of 1 hour and 25 minutes over the past 8 years!!!! My New Years resolution this year (same as the last 7 years) is to ride on of MY horses or mules.

    Hugs to you

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