Shades of Blue Ranch 2021.jpeg

Shades of Blue Ranch

Breeder of Argentine Falabella

and American Miniature Horses


Carol and Gary April 2021.jpeg

The Story of Shades of Blue Ranch

Welcome to the Shades of Blue Ranch! We are located in Hebron in northern Illinois. We breed pure Falabella miniature horses whose ancestry dates back to the Falabella farm in Argentina. We also raise American Miniatures. The miniature horses ("minis") are handled every day to ensure a gentle and loving attitude. We focus on training and preparing our horses for activity and therapy work, such as visiting nursing homes, homes for the disabled, schools, hospitals, etc. 

We have a small foal crop each year that are bred for temperament, conformation and color. 

How did we come to call the farm Shades of Blue Ranch? As we acquired more horses, Gary had to build more barns and that blue paint never seemed to be the same shade as the prior shades. Thus, "SHADES OF BLUE RANCH!"

We bought our first pure Falabella stallion by a fluke accidental switch at a miniature horse auction in 1997. That “fluke” is our foundation sire, Toyland El Rio Rey, affectionately known as "Buddy." We were smitten with minis and started breeding and raising select Falabella and American miniature horses.

Many of our miniature horses are doing therapy work with therapy programs all over the country, including SOUL Harbour Ranch in Barrington IL, SOUL Haven Ranch in Winter Garden Florida, Merciful Minis in Homer Glen IL, Miniature Rays of Sunshine in Green Bay WI, and numerous other therapy homes. We are proud of the amazing temperaments of our miniatures and we love that so many of them are sharing their unconditional love in therapy work. 

Love, Carol & Gary Swinford

Check out our Facebook Page at
"Shades of Blue Ranch Miniature Therapy Horses"

2021 Foals


IT'S A BOY! DOB 4/19/21

Welcome "Shades of Blue Ranch El Rey's Falabella Legacy"

Serebella decided she didn’t want to wait until May 1 to have her baby. We had just put the mares out to eat. Gary saw Serebella lay down, we got her in her stall and 10 minutes later this handsome 100% Falabella Medicine Hat colt arrived! 
Dam: S Starr Seven Serebella (Falabella)
Sire: S Starr Seven El Rey II (Falabella)
SOLD to Diane Wolcott of Arcadia, Florida, the founder and president of FALABELLA INTERNATIONAL PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION. Magic Man will be one of the herd sires breeding pure Falabellas. This mini is very special to her as he is the grandson of Grosshill’s El Rey that she owned and who passed away.  We are very excited for this colt's future.

IT'S A GIRL!  DOB 5/16/21

Welcome "Shades of Blue Ranch Bit of Honey" 

Honey had a beautiful pinto filly! She's a itty-bitty one, so it's only fitting that her name is "Bit of Honey," barn name "Bitty." She is a Falabella blend with incredible markings, (Goes to show that a negative pregnancy test isn’t always accurate).
Sire: S Starr Seven El Rey II (Falabella)
Dam: Shades of Blue Ranch Honey Girl (AMHR)
SOLD to a wonderful couple in Marengo, IL (staying local!)
Bitty already loves and adores her big brother Magic Man!

Ebony and baby.jpg

IT'S A BOY! DOB 6/14/21 

Welcome "Shades of Blue Blazing Glory" 

Welcome to the world, "Blaze!"
Another surprise for us as Houck's McEbony and R&S Sunrise Hawk's Golden Supreme had a gorgeous tiny blue-eyed colt on Flag Day (thus, the patriotic name). 
We had 3 of our mares pregnancy-tested last fall and only 1 (Honey) was positive. Surprise...we now have THREE foals!

Our Stallions

Buddy pro photo.webp

Toyland El Rio Rey ("Buddy")

FMHA #552 AMHR #86888 
Sire: Grosshill's El Rey FMHA #354 
Grandsire: La Ruina (Foundation Falabella; Falabella Farms, Argentina) 
Dam: Toyland Promesa FMHA #474 

"Buddy's" credits are: 
* 2006 National Top 10 Country Pleasure Driving 
* National Top 10 in Costume 
* 2006 AMHR All Star Winner in Costume 
* 2012 AMHR H.A.M.E. Show - First in Aged Stallion; Stallion Reserve; Stallion Senior; Stallion Reserve Grand Champion; and first in Solid Color Stallion 
* Falabella 2012 High Point Award

S Starr Seven 
El Rey II ("El")

FMHA #1202 
Sire: Grosshills El Rey FMHA #354 
Grandsire: La Ruina (Foundation Falabella; Falabella Farms, Argentina) 
Dam: Toyland Darlita FMHA #741

Hawk with bride.jpeg

R & S Sunrise Hawk's Golden Supreme ("Hawk")

Palomino Stallion
AMHR National Reserve Champion 

Our Mares


S Starr Seven Serebella 

FMHA #1027 AMHR #27094 AMHA #167891 
Sire: Toyland Polo FMHA #734 
Dam: Toyland Precious Doll FMHA #767



Shades of Blue Ranch StellaElla
("Peggy Sue")

FMHA #1482 
Sire: S Starr Seven Falabella El Rey II FMHA #1202 
Dam: ICM Stella Luna FMHA #1221 AMHR #285032 AMHA #184948


Painted Acres April Miracle

Falabella Mare

FMHA #1300

AMHR #291496


R&S Sunrise Wampus Starlet


AMHA #A149629

AMHR #277051A

Honey photo.jpg

Shades of Blue Ranch Honey Girl ("Honey")

Bay & White Pinto



Houck's Ebony ("Ebony")


Silver Buckskin


Houck's Carried Away


Chestnut Pinto


Shades of Blue Ranch Betty Lou
"Betty Lou"


Falabella Blend

Black & White

Our Gelding

Shades of Blue Ranch Otis ("Otis")

AMHR #22707

Otis outside 2014.jpeg
Carol and Benji.webp

Meet our Mascot: Benji!

Shades of Blue Ranch BENJI

Benji is such a sweetheart and has warmed our hearts. He was rescued from a kill shelter in Kentucky by Helping PAWS and he knows he has found his forever home with us at the SOBR!


11414 Vanderkarr Rd.
Hebron IL 60034


Thanks for submitting!

Swinford sign outside.jpg

©2021 by Shades of Blue Ranch