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Our Story

How did we come to call our farm the 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” was 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. 

We know Gary is looking down from Heaven as a new story is written for Shades of Blue Ranch, with his passing in October, 2022.  Therapy visits will ​continue and I am surrounded by loving family and friends that will help me carry on our legacy of the Shades of Blue Ranch.

Love, Carol Swinford

In Loving Memory Gary Swinford 11/30/50-10/29/22

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