Skip to main content

Plain talk on Stud Fees in 1910

The Okanagan today is identified with beaches, orchards and vineyards, rather than the Wild West. However, this letter, written in 1910, is a glimpse into the Okanagan’s frontier past.
James Goldie, manager of the Rainbow Ranche in Okanagan Centre, was questioning George C. Goulding of Rainsford Ranch, Long Lake, as to why a stud fee needed to be paid before knowing whether the mare was in foal. Goulding, an Oyama fruit farmer who had his ranch near Butterworth Road, was forthright in his reply:
Dear Jim.
     Your letter of the 14th inst received. With regard to the mares, stud fees and so forth, I will endeavour to explain.
     I think you will find upon inquiry that every stud horse in the Valley, that is one that is a horse is charging a cash payment of some kind at time of service, this is not only to protect the horse himself but also to help pay his way in the matter of feed bills. For instance, both your big mares were served three times. Now if they did not catch it is not the fault of the horse – he has knocked up all the mares he has served. If you had bred mares to Eli Johnston’s horse or Walter Gardner’s Percheron it is a $10.00 spot cash proposition to start with and the balance due is paid up or demanded to be paid up before a man has a chance to see whether his mare is in foal or not. Hayton charges $5. in fact everyone has some kind of means of helping out expenses as a stud is about as expensive to keep as a “pet whoar”.
     I still have the Godwin mare. I wrote to him the other day but have had no reply as yet. He sent her over so late in the season that I cannot say whether she is in foal or not.
                                                                           Yours sincerely,
                                                                            George C. Goulding
Letter from George C. Goulding, p1
Letter from George C. Goulding, p2


  • This is a great find Laura. Plain, colorful talk from an Oyama pioneer. Jack Hayton, who is mentioned as another stud owner, was also from Oyama but I do not recognize the names Eli Johnston or Walter Gardner. Perhaps one of your readers can identify them..

    • Hi Duane,
      I remember you from when I lived with Dorothy and Jack Stephen across the road from your house up above Wood Lake. I was about 3 at the time. You rescued me from a bramble bush.
      Elisabeth (Margot) Maclaren

  • Thank you for this wonderful find. I was overjoyed to see a letter in George Goulding’s own hand. He was my grandfather, although I never met him. He died shortly after I was born. I will copy this to my cousins. Many thanks again.

    • I am pleased that this letter was so meaningful to you. I will forward your comments to our archivist, Laura Neame, who is working with these documents.
      Do you have any Goulding family photos or memorabilia that you would be willing to share with the Lake Country Museum?

  • Yes, I have some old hunting pictures of my grandfather’s which I would be pleased to show you if you’re interested.

    • Thanks Elisabeth; I’ll have Laura get in touch with you.

  • Hi Margo.

    I don’t remember the bramble incident, but I do remember you well as a beautiful young teenager visiting the Churchills, who swam across the bay on Kal Lake to visit us when we were staying with my grandparents at the lake. Nice to hear from you again.

    Your father and mine were friends and I have a great photo of Bill Goulding on horseback, in silhouette.The Museum has a copy of a professionally taken photograph taken of the Goulding place with a couple of people in it, perhaps your grandparents. Would you recognize them? We would like to have them identified. Best wishes. Duane Thomson

    • Hi Duane,
      Dot Churchill was a dear friend of my mum’s. I remember that visit, now that you mention it.
      I would love to see the photo of the Goulding ranch and try to identify the people in it. I would certainly recognize my grandmother, Maisie Goulding. Bill Goulding was my mum’s little brother. My father was Colin Maclaren of Kelowna.
      We (my husband, grandson and I) may be up in the Okanagan around the 15th-16th of August. I would love to visit the museum then. Let’s keep in touch.
      Margot (

  • Thank you, Margo, for delivering the wonderful box of photo albums of early Oyama history. They record the first two decades of Oyama’s development, from bare grazing land to productive orchard and livestock ranch. They illustrate not only economic development, but also social life. For example, we have that great photograph of the Gouldings curling on a snow free Kalamalka Lake in about 1912. The Museum will keep them safe and will digitize them.

    Anyone reading this who may possess early photos of Lake Country, please consider allowing the Museum to digitize them.

Leave a Reply