Today, Rocking Heart Ranch Ltd. is located near Waterton Lake National Park, Alberta. The Garner family breeds quarter horses and the whole family and their traditions, which were passed down from three previous generations, are involved in the operation.

Marc Garner comments about the horses his family currently breeds, “We believe most people want that same kind of horse that my granddad Bill, andaGuns_n_Pep_and_RW_Ames_Blu_sm my dad Jim used for almost everything. They want the ability to work cattle one day, go for a trail ride the next, and then even show their horse the next day. Wouldn’t you know it, for over 100 years the Garner’s and Rocking Heart Ranch have not altered the core foundation of what we believe is important in a good horse.”

The Garner family has a long history with horses and western Canada dating back over 100 years. The current generations involved in the operation are comprised of parents Angel and Jim and sons and daughter Marc, Brad and Melody as well as their children. They all recognize the long standing history from which their ranch evolved and live their ranches motto: “Where Foundation and Reputation Matter.”

 The foundation for the ranch and their values began in 1905, when 20 year old Joshua Garner and his wife Isabel moved from Nottingham, England, to Canada to help his sister. She had just lost her husband, who perished after falling down a water well.

asod_house_smAt that time, the family homestead was near Red Pheasant, Saskatchewan. With the help of their neighbours, the Joshua and Isabel build a sod shack. It took 48 wagon loads of sod to complete.

Their children Bill and Jesse rode the family’s horses to school every day. They were the same horses that moved cattle, pulled haying equipment and tillers.

Joshua and Isabel sold the farm at Red Pheasant with the sod shack in about 1932. At that time, Joshua’s son Bill moved to Wilkie, Saskatchewan, which was just 25 miles from the original Garner homestead, and started a garage.

In 1935, Bill began delivering the rural mail with his two best blue roan horses Buster and Babe. He delivered his route for 5 years with 6-7 different horses. To deliver the mail, explains Marc, “He used a homemade sleigh with a stove inside for heat during the winter and his cart that he invented when breakup occurred in the spring.  His wife Lillian along with hired help ran the garage while he was away delivering mail.” 

In 1956, Bill purchased some additional land and began farming again. He had 6-7 Appaloosa and Mustang type horses purchased from the nearbyBill_and_rural_mail_route reservations. The lighter horses were easier to maneuver for general ranch duties but Bill also kept two draft crosses for the heavier jobs.

After Bill suffered two serious heart attacks in 1959, his 15 year old son Jim dropped out of high school to run the farm. They sold the garage and exclusively ran the farm.

Rocking Heart Ranch was not officially founded until 1967 when Jim married Angel. Together, the couple raised Aberdeen Black Angus cattle and later Texas Longhorn cattle.

In 1982, Angel and Jim took a vacation in the Fort McLeod area of Alberta. Marc says, “without a doubt, they fell in love with Alberta and the possible life that could be built.” They purchased a parcel of land a few years later with the southern border being the Waterton Lakes National Park and the northern border being the Waterton River. There, they continued raising cattle.

In 1984 at the Canadian Western Agribition, Jim and Angel purchased their first pure-bred quarter horse mare, Smokes Holiday. That mare was the high selling horse and would begin their horse breeding program. The family’s previous experience using horses for the many jobs required by the terrain of western Canadian provided them the inspiration for their breeding operation.

arocking_heart_ranch_smMarc says, “As a family, we recognized the changes in how horses were used and who were using them over the past 20 years. Gone are the days where most horses are being used on ranches. The dawning of the urban cowboy is here.”

Rocking Heart Ranch keeps two herd stallions, Guns N Pep and RW Ames Blu. Marc says, “both stallions some from the same bloodlines that have proven to be dependable and versatile for over 80 years. They produce offspring that that exemplify what our ranch is about: versatility and dependability.” The ranch also keeps 15-18 broodmares.

Angel and Jim currently maintain the ranch and the horses. Marc keeps the horses that are in training on his property in Lethbridge. Melody is a marketing professional, Brad is a production accountant for an oil company, and Marc is a master electrician. They all share the passion for foundation quarter horses and contribute professional skills to the ranch. 

Every September, three generations of Garners meet for their annual tradition of freeze branding their colts. Marc says, “I believe my Grandpa Bill would have been very proud of the skills that he passed on to my Dad who then passed them on to us.”



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Office Address:

97 East Lake Ramp NE
Airdrie, AB
T4A 0C3
Phone: 403-420-5949
Fax: 403-948-2069