Happy New Year Everyone!

December 31 is not only New Year's Eve it is also Heather's birthday! Happy Birthday Heather!

We all enjoyed the tropical warm front the last few days but winter is back and that can only mean one thing... it's time to get back in the saddle!

Hey Riding! It's "The Other Winter Sport". Put on your layers and enjoy the day. Sharpen your skills in the arena or enjoy a peaceful walk through the forest.


We would like to welcome and welcome back a few riders to Harmony Ranch:




and Devon.

Great to have you guys!


On December 12, 2010, Saskia and Jasmine together with an awesome bunch of volunteers (thanks guys; you are the best!) put on a fundraiser for Big Brother and Big Sisters of Simcoe.

We had Santa come to visit and hand out candy canes, pony rides and Equine Assisted Learning demos.

There were also raffle draws. Thank you for the wonderful prize donations everyone! Everything from Ed Hardy running shoes to Wild Water passes. It was a great line up of prizes!

In addition to raising awareness for this great cause, we raised $700 so THANK YOU EVERYONE!


Longrun Thoroughbred Retirement Society

And a new year means new calendars from Lisa.

Once again our talented photographer Lisa has put together a beautiful calendar featuring all of your favorite Harmony Ranch horses.

The calendars are available for purchase at $20 each. Thanks again to Lisa's generosity; 100% of the sales go to support the horses at Longrun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.

As many of you know, we foster ex-race horses here at Harmony Ranch. We've had some really special horses stay with us on their way to finding their well deserved forever homes.

And Longrun foster horse Cajun would like to say thank you to Lynn for buying him a snazzy new winter blanket. He's all comfy and cosy -- thanks auntie Lynn!

Skater continues to undress himself every night to the delight of Saskia who finds his blanket all balled up and icky in the corner of the stall each morning. Hmm maybe it's not his style?

A true animal lover, Lynn even took old barn cat Earl Grey to the vet. Although Earl loved riding shotgun in Lynn's car, he wanted to stay longer at the vet when he found out there was canned food and his own heated crate. Whew hoo, no more Smoky sitting on my head!


Our amazing handyman continues to work his magic on repairs and improvements.

The new HUGE tack lockers are almost finished!

Each boarder in addition to having their stall side locker will now have their own saddle locker, each with 2 racks, bridle hooks and tons of storage.

Thanks Donat!


December 29, 2010 was our Holiday Party for clients past and present.

Everyone had a wonderful time and what a feast!

It was great to see everyone - some we didn't recognize out of their barn clothes!

Although Lorraine's ghost kept knocking over the red wine there was still plenty to go around!


Harmony Ranch's new website known as continues to get lots of interesting inquiries.

Ever wondered about how horses deal with the cold?

A reader from North Bay wrote in to ask Saskia about horses and winter. Here is Saskia's reply:

Tips and Guidelines for keeping your horses happy and healthy through the winter.

Horses will adapt very well to the cold with a few "must-haves".

They must have shelter from the wind and the wet stuff. Hardest on the horse is a windy wet day because the cold and the dampness are driven up between the insulating layers of their coat to penetrate and chill them.

Although a lot of people reach immediately for a winter blanket, the best winter coat for a horse is his own natural hair coat. When allowed to grow long and dense the hair actually stands up trapping and heating the air between the layers. The hair even has the ability to repel snow and rain.

When a horse that has this natural thick winter coat is blanketed, it flattens the hair. This can have the effect of making the horse colder than he was before! Older horses and horses that are clipped or do not grow a good winter coat will benefit from a good quality blanket but otherwise let mother nature take care of it!

As temperatures drop the best way to keep your horses warm is to stoke that furnace! In other words, hay and lots of it!

Hay is the best heat source for you horse (not grains and concentrates) because it is digested in the cecum and colon which means lots of heat production.

FYI, evaluate each horse individually because some horses will still need concentrates depending on their age, metabolism and work load.

Along with the hay don't underestimate your horse's water requirement. On average horses drink 5-10 gallons per day and that may very well increase if they are eating more hay.

Don't forget that along with eating more dry forage comes the risk for impaction colic; always have fresh water available for your horse. Some might think that the horse can get by eating snow but WHOA! ...think about that! How much snow would you have to eat to get 10 gallons? Not to mention the extra calories burnt to eat that snow. If you could warm the water slightly that would be even better.

The other must-have is shelter. Your horse has to be able to get out of the elements. Make sure the shelter is more wide than deep because the horses that are lower down in the herd will not try to come in a narrow shelter blocked by one of the more dominant herd members.

Even horses that are kept inside the barn at night need daytime shelter. Even a windbreak is better than nothing. Otherwise be prepared to bring them in after only a short time outside. But make sure that all your horses still get their turnout time in the winter. It's not only important for their respiratory health, but for their mental health as well. So unless there is a health issue, even if it's only for a while let your horse enjoy his winter wonderland!

Now it's a New Year and we are all wishing the best for each other in 2011.

Giddy Up and Live Well!

Note from Saskia:

Looking back on 2010, I'm reminded how blessed I am to have such a great group of passionate horse lovers here at Harmony Ranch. I couldn't ask for a nicer bunch of clients; so thank you everyone for choosing Harmony to be your horse source!


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