We would like to share a bit of our incredible journey with you. This is the story of why we have Willow Ranch and how our dream adventure became a reality. We’ll try to make a long story short, we just want people to have a chance to get a feel for us.
It all started with 2 sisters who had a dream of making a difference for horses and people.
That was the easy part, then we had to figure out how, when and where we could do this.
Living in the Netherlands at the time, we knew that we needed more space and nature around us. After multiple trips to Canada we eventually found the perfect spot where we wanted live.
We had a clear goal, but we knew that we could not do this alone. Since we have always been such a close family, we instantly went to our parents for advice and this is when the greatest thing happened! Our parents chose to come with us and help us build our dream!
The big move started and the 4 of us immigrated from the Netherlands to Canada. To our new future. We bought a beautiful piece of land and started from scratch building our future.
While building and operating Willow Ranch a lot of amazing people crossed our paths and helped us build our dream. Some people stayed and our family grew. Simon came here as a handy guy that could help us with landscaping and building. Surprise! Simon and Lissy fell in love and got married!
Now the 5 of us have been running Willow Ranch together and we feel so grateful every day that we are living our dream!
Then the pandemic hit, and running a tourist company while travel is being restricted did not go well together. We decided to close down the ranch for 2 seasons and this forced us to think and reconnect with our dream. We're excited to open up again in the Spring of 2022 with new programs and products, all of it more aligned with our dreams and goals.
The Name of the Ranch
The ranch is named after our first horse, a big, beautiful gelding we called “Willow”.
Willow was family. He was with us long before we decided to move to Canada and he made the big move with us. Willow was such an important part of us falling in love with horses, and making that love really stick with us, so it didn't take us longer than a second to decide that Willow should be the name of our ranch. Willow enjoyed his last years of retirement on the ranch here in Canada where he passed away peacefully in 2018. We are so happy and proud that his legacy lives on in the name of the ranch.
We are so proud of our great herd of over 30+ varied breeds of horses!
Our horses live in different groups in different pens, paddocks and pastures. We adjust the groups to meet the needs and comfort of each individual horse. Some prefer bigger groups, some are more comfortable in a smaller group, some need a lot of extra feedings, some need their hay from slow feeder nets etc. we work really hard to make sure that we find the best living arrangement for each of our horses.
Our horses have year-round 24/7 access to free choice hay, salt blocks and fresh water. On top of that we work hard to adjust their extra feed and supplements so that each individual horse gets the diet they truly need. The horses that struggle to maintain a healthy weight get extra fat feed, horses with more sensitive digestive systems are given probiotics, our older horses get joint supplements, horses with bad feet receive hoof supplements, etc. Our feeding schedules are constantly monitored to make sure each horse gets the exact balanced diet they need.
We spend a lot of time being with and training our horses. Every spring season begins with us and our staff riding the horses and starting them back up. They won't start in lessons until we feel they are mentally and physically ready and fit enough to be working. Throughout the season we keep working with them and riding them to make sure they are still in good shape mentally and to change up the work, so they won’t become bored with doing the same rides.
Our training is completely based on Irwin Insights. Which means we communicate with our horses in a way they understand as we help them use their body in the best way possible.
We believe that all our hard work pays off with a herd of horses that are happy, healthy and love their job. They are mentally and physically in great shape, and our clients can feel and experience what a difference it makes to ride a healthy and happy horse!
Meet Our Team
Join Our Team
We love extending our team! We have different positions available throughout the year and will also be offering a variety of working student, mentorship and internship positions. More info on this will be coming soon!