Experiencing a Slice of Paradise : The Work Ranch Benefit Trail Ride | SLO Horse News

Experiencing a Slice of Paradise : The Work Ranch Benefit Trail Ride

Emerald green hills dotted with dark green oak trees highlighted with purple lupine and accented with blue skies and white clouds were the visual highlights of my day. No I wasn’t dreaming; I was experiencing a slice of paradise riding on the Work Ranch Benefit Trail Ride.

Experiencing a Slice of Paradise : The Work Ranch Benefit Trail Ride | SLO Horse News

Getting There

50 riders and their horses all joined together to enjoy the Work Ranch Benefit Trail Ride scenery and support a worthy cause, Partners in Equestrian Therapy (P.E.T.).

I followed two trucks with trailers to the end of winding Ranchita Canyon Road and turned into Work Ranch. Each driver was greeted warmly and given instructions on where to park. Since I was in my car, I got different instructions and was directed to Kelly Work who set aside a horse for me to ride.

After hugging Kelly she directed me to the registration table. Melanie and her group of helpers from P.E.T. were “manning” the table. Here there was the obligatory paper work, but even more fun was every rider was given a goodie bag, a raffle ticket and were dealt a poker hand. The gentleman next to me got a straight right off the first deal.

Next I got acquainted with my ride for the day, Gaitor, a Work Ranch horse. He was easy going and responsive and we got along just fine from the get-go. The riders started to gather in the arena. Once everyone was mounted and ready we posed for the group picture.

Experiencing a Slice of Paradise : The Work Ranch Benefit Trail Ride | SLO Horse News

The Work Ranch Benefit Trail Ride

Then we were off like a group trail ride, up the hill and over the dales. The scenery was truly stunning – a showcase of the best of California ranching with views of more oak studded green hills, and more patches of lupine and more blue sky and white clouds –  giving us the experience of a slice of paradise here on the Central Coast.

Riders were smiling and remarking at the splendor that we were experiencing together. Conversations and laughter rang through the crowd. The horses took the large group adventure all in stride and seemed to appreciate the relaxed atmosphere.

Upon returning to the ranch, riders took care of their horses and then gathered for lunch. I parted with my buddy Gaitor and told Kelly’s daughter Maddie that he was simply perfect.

P.E.T. BBQ Lunch, Raffle and Silent Auction

The BBQ spits were busy cooking delicious tri-tip while we were enjoying the trail ride. The P.E.T. staff also set the stage by setting the luncheon tables and the silent auction and raffle items. Hors d’oeuvres were ready for the early arrivals while the lunch food was set up.

Mark Witt one of P.E.T. program participants opened the entertainment through sharing a couple of songs. Mark is a self-taught guitarist and often sings when he rides. Julie Beaver then kept the music flowing and the toes tapping through lunch.

To finish off the day the Poker hand results were announced, the raffle items were called out and the silent auction items were closed and delivered. The rider’s enthusiasm never quelled and many stayed to cheer on the winners as they listened for their own names drawn for the raffle items.


I left with a sense of awe regarding not only what was experienced, but also what can be accomplished through the focused effort of enthusiastic horse people. This slice of paradise experience was enhanced by people who are making the world better for others.

No I wasn’t dreaming; I was experiencing a slice of paradise riding on the Work Ranch Benefit Trail Ride.

Photos: Sharon Jantzen

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