Who We Are
Heather & Gary Burns have owned Goat Creek Ranch since 1976.
Their respective love of horses was a natural fit and brought together a combined knowledge of horses and their uses. Gary has ridden and owned horses all his life, spending many days in the mountains of the Kootenays hunting and packing. Heather´s horse background evolved from her days spent working in the Southland´s area of Vancouver BC where she learned the ropes of the hunter jumper show circuit. Today the farm is a family operation, run by Heather, Gary and their four children. Goat Creek Ranch is located just outside Slocan City in the West Kootenay area of British Columbia. Situated at the confluence of Goat (Gwillim) Creek and the Slocan River and bounded on two sides by the spectacular Valhalla Provincial Park, Goat Creek Ranch is an ideal setting for rearing naturally talented sport horses. The ranch offers diverse environments and terrains for the horses to explore, from muddy swampland, to vast open pastures and areas of thickly forested wood. With this setting and abundance of naturally occurring obstacles, including downed timber, hills, mud, water, rock, snow, ice etc. GCR horses are sure footed and well balanced movers. They are free to run and develop a good sense of where they are putting their hind feet: a quality so often missing in horses raised in pens. The horses live outdoors and are fed and led with snowmobiles in winter and four wheelers in the spring. When the conditions are such that neither is useful the horses are tail tied to the hay and they pull it out onto the fields themselves.
Additionally, the farm is home to sheep, chickens, turkeys, pigs, the occasional cattle, and various other barnyard animals. Wildlife is abundant in the area and deer can frequently be seen sharing on winter hay feedings with the horses, or sneaking the occasional trip to the salt lick. Bears are not unusual during the summer months, as they come down from the mountains behind the farm to look for berries and fruit.
Heather´s interest in the Cleveland Bay horse began at age nine when she saw a picture and history of them in her first horse book. A long love affair followed. Finally in 1997, some thirty years later, she convinced Gary that they "needed" Clevelands. She bred one of her TB mares a couple of years in a row, resulting in the arrival of two beautifully bred fillies. Though lovely, they did not fulfill this insatiable want for a pure Cleveland Bay. Thus, the pining continued until 2000 when Heather coerced Gary to travel to Britain to attend the Cleveland Bay Breed Conference and AGM of the Cleveland Bay Horse Society. After touring around Britain for 10 days, attending the conference and seeing in excess of 90 purebred Cleveland Bay horses Gary was struck with the bug as well. They purchased their purebred stallion, Cholderton Chiron, and purebred mare, Cholderton Cornucopia, at that time.