Love and Fear at StoneCreek Ranch

Jill M. Rohrbach

Love and Fear at StoneCreek RanchI HAVE to go back to StoneCreek Ranch and Resort near Mountain Home.

Now understand, there are many reasons why I WANT to go back. I want to experience a country setting again and be reminded of my youth growing up on a farm. To breath in the sweet aromas, a mixture of fresh cut grass and sawdust, in the barn. To hear the horses snort and bray. To stroke the animals’ soft coats and manes. To hold on tight and lean with a horse as I try my hand at cutting the mechanical cow running on a pulley along the wall of the arena. To see the owners Arvell and Karry Bass again – warm, inviting folks that make me feel like I’m home.

But, I HAVE to go back to face my fears. To prove I can gallop on one of those fine cutting horses. You see, I had a bit of a scare last time I was there.

I attended a leadership conference for corporate groups in 2005; think of it as a team building exercise like those rope courses. At first we rode inside the arena so Arvell could size up our horsemanship abilities. Since I grew up riding horses (although that was more than 20 years ago), I was soon okayed to ride with a group in the pastures. As our party became more comfortable on our steeds, Arvell told any of us that wanted to try a gallop to go for it.

Now, it’s a bit of a blur to me. But, according to Arvell, I pointed my horse toward the open field and instead of telling it to go to second gear my body language said let’s go warp speed. I also happened to steer toward a bush the horse had to jump around. I do remember thinking it might not be such a good idea to ride up under the tree we were barreling down on. Thank goodness I had enough wits left in the fear of the moment to remember Arvell’s words on how to stop a horse – slide one hand down the reins, grab it and pull it slowly to your hip, bending your horse into a circle. A horse can’t run wild when its head is pointed at its rear. Of course, my rear then came off the saddle as inertia carried me forward. Somehow I managed to keep my seat.

Hearing a cowboy whoop from Arvell – he apparently enjoyed the show and was pleased I had remembered that last part – I watched him retrieve my hat that had flown off as he came riding to see if I was okay. I was fine, except for the dent in my pride and the thudding in my ears of my own racing heart.

Arvell encouraged me the rest of the day to try short trots, just five or ten feet before walking again. I hate to admit I couldn’t do it. I did have some success the next day during the cattle drive. I’m quite competitive and was able to perform short bursts of speed to keep the cows from getting past me. I didn’t want to be the one to cause our team not to do well.

But, that small success isn’t enough for me. I still have the desire to go back, mount up and show my horse that despite the twinge of fear it may sense, I’m ready to run.

If you go:

Don’t let my little mishap hold you back. If you’re looking for an adventure and a home away from home, I highly recommend StoneCreek Ranch.

The guest ranch focuses on horseback riding vacations with its indoor and outdoor arenas and trail riding. There’s no merely plodding along with horses nose-to-tail at StoneCreek. You can also experience cattle sorting, the cutting horse experience or even a cattle drive. The ranch also offers leadership conferences for corporate groups and organizations (an incredible experience, which you’ll hear more about from me in the future).

There are cabins and cowboy apartments above the barn. While the cabins are beautiful, the smells and sounds associated with the barn experience are unmatched.

The ranch is located between Gassville and Mountain Home at 626 Circle B Lane. For more information, phone (870) 424-7433, 1-888-203-7433 or visit

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