April 2017 Team Member Highlight: Megan Mahan

Continuing Education at the Ranch

What they teach you in school doesn’t compare to what you learn at the
Ranch that the Horses Own
Her degree in Horse Ranch Management provided Megan Mahan with the basics for an
equine education; Red Bucket provides the continued education and hands on
experience that has taken her to the next level.
“I knew once I received my degree that I needed to find a place where I could put my
education to good use,” Megan shares with me, “some place meaningful. I Googled
‘horse rescue in Southern California’ and Red Bucket was the first one to really attract
my attention. I loved everything that I saw on the website! It all seemed so genuine and
the people looked happy and friendly. I instantly filled out the volunteer application and
signed up for the soonest orientation date.”
Megan currently grooms on Sundays with Jenon Mathes, Director of Equine Care and
Team Training. “I absolutely LOVE the entire Sunday team! Jenon has taught me SO
MUCH and has helped boost my confidence,” explains Megan, “especially with walking
the horses and helping with turnouts. She is a wonderful teacher and leader with
tremendous knowledge and horse skills. I also spend a lot of time with Davana and
Katie, who I now consider my good friends. I’ve learned so much from both and I’ll be
forever thankful! Davana helped me feel welcome when I first started even though she
too was a new team member at the time. She is always smiling and cheerful. Katie
showed how to put their blankets on at night, which is now one of my favorite things to
do. The horses are good about it, and it’s adorable, like you are tucking them in for the
According to Davana, Megan is an amazing person! “She has a ‘can do’ attitude and
stays until the job is done. She wants to learn all she can and help in any way possible.
She came onboard as a groomer and then started helping with turn outs. Now she does
both all the while with a big smile on her face.”
Susan Peirce can’t say enough about Megan’s merits: “Megan is absolutely
phenomenal! She’s not a hobbyist; she is the real deal and shows up every Sunday with
a great determined attitude. Megan has a high level of commitment and comes to us
with positive energy which fuels the other team members and our horses.”
When asked what sets Red Bucket apart from other horse rescues, Megan thoughtfully
responds: “It’s what takes place after the horses are brought to the Ranch. The
dedication that’s put in to help these horses recover and learn to trust again, plus the
work put in to finding the right homes and make sure these horses never have to live
like that again, just amazes me! What really touches and breaks my heart is that no
matter what horrible experiences they’ve been through, these beautiful creatures are so
forgiving and loving. After all they’ve been through, I expected they would be fearful or
angry towards people, but they aren’t at all. The first horse I witnessed taking his first
steps on the Ranch was Nelson. I never saw a horse with hooves that bad ever in my
life! Seeing him limp his way to his new stall is something I’ll never forget. Yet there he
was, so calm, as he lightly pawed at the ground with his badly overgrown, curved up
hoof, looking around at his new home. Seeing him was a visual reminder of what most
of these horses looked like before and makes me even more appreciative of Red
Bucket. I hope to be able to groom him someday soon.”
Jenon Mathes attests to Megan’s growth within our group: “Megan came to Red Bucket
with some degree of horse experience and a willingness to embrace our culture and
mission,” Jenon shares with me. “She remained quietly out of the ‘lime-light’, grooming
and learning the intricacies of our current residents, always working on improving her
skills. One day she just blossomed with a confidence that allowed her to begin handling
our treasured residents beyond the limits of their stall. Megan used to come on Sundays
around 10:00 a.m. and stay for a few hours Now it’s rare to see her leave before 6:00
p.m. on Sundays! ”
“One of the unique characteristics about Megan is she loves the grey horses!” Jenon
continues. “With the unexpected amount of rain we had this season, and the challenges
that occur with keeping our grey horses groomed, Megan continuously spends the extra
time necessary to make them shine. She jumps in willingly at the end of a long day to
help secure evening blankets and protective wear, assisting with nighttime turnouts, and
she doesn’t leave until she has done all that she can do. I value her greatly and am
grateful to have her as a treasured team member.”
Megan spent summers with her grandma in Montana when she was younger which is
where her equine love affair started. This is her first stint with an animal rescue group,
so what does she think? “It has been so amazing! My friends and family always say how
they think it’s so wonderful that I volunteer at Red Bucket, but honestly it makes me feel
weird when they do because it doesn’t feel like work to me. I feel lucky to be a part of
the Red Bucket team and to be able to work with these amazing horses and donkeys
and mules in the capacity that I do. I feel lucky to be a groomer so that I can work hands
on with them. I’ve learned that grooming and ground work in general gives you a
different, perhaps a more special, connection with the horse than riding does. My time
at the Ranch brings me so much joy, and I look forward to it every week; I feel like it’s
my sanctuary too.”
We are thankful for the Sundays Megan dedicates to our cause and look forward to
watching her grow and develop into the horse whisperer she was meant to be.