The Broadleaf Story
The Broadleaf Story
May 1953, Joyce and Vernon Hudson purchased
a run down, 400-acre farm. From this beginning, Broadleaf Guest
Ranch was born. The Hudsons arrived with their two children Edward,
age 6, and Donna,
age 4. Their farmhouse took months of hard work to become a home.
Work on the farm was a gradual clean up and fixing process. Three
months after their arrival a third child, Kathy,
was born. The following year finances hit rock bottom. Transport
became a bicycle, yet the home was saved and Bobby
two years of hard labour, the situation began to turn around. Vernon
helped build the Shepody dam that reclaimed the area's marshland;
he also operated a sawmill at a garage in Albert. Joyce returned
to teaching and took in boarders. The children, too, played a part
and took the cattle to the exhibitions. (Eventually it would be
their joy to exhibit the horses.)
and machinery were bought as the farm began to take shape. When
the family began to register cattle and horses, the name 'Broadleaf'
was chosen: Broadleaf is a type of grass (hay) that grows nearby
in the marsh area. It is a very tough grass, and is only harvested
at times when regular grass is insufficient. ('It's like bread-crust;
the animals don't like it as well as the bread!')
Day' was the very first horse to be purchased at Christmastime in
1960 and 1965 Danny,
Wendy and Douglas
were born, and the Hudson family began the business of raising colts:
A visit to Fredericton racetrack and an investment of $150, introduced
Bonnie Federal to Broadleaf. She became the foundation mare.
'66, Vernon had to make a decision to sell some horses.
Desperate to avert this, the children understood that the horses
had to be put to work. From this understanding the first horseback
rides for tourists began
an investment of $1000, Donna and a girl friend bought 5 saddles
and built a fence at the roadside. Trail rides cost $1.50 and on
that first day, July 17th 1966, they
raised $18. By September that year, the business had generated $865.
The next year Vernon built their first riding stable.
the while, Joyce continued teaching her elementary classes, first
at Hillsborough then at Riverside. She recalls that there were always
horses or land popping up to buy. Her children were up at 6am for
barnyard chores before school, and of course, the daughters were
much happier cleaning the barn than their bedrooms.
service was first offered in '67 on
the ranch house porch (which now houses the offices). Initially
Joyce would serve doughnuts, fresh bread and berries to the waiting
parents of riders in the sun-porch. Dinners were introduced; the
first was in honour of Premiere Louis Robishaud, who visited the
area on Oct 3rd '67.
in '69, and three carpenters converted
a vacant hog barn into a Catering Lodge, which held 125 people.
(This Lodge would eventually be extended and cater to 280 people.)
Ahead of the official opening, the Shepody Lions booked a banquet
for their visitors on Dec 10 1969.
The official opening was celebrated with a musical program of family
singing and dancing on January 17th 1970.
the years passed, the second generation of Broadleaf Hudsons left
school, and worked away, yet a love and appreciation for Broadleaf
brought most home again. (The Ranch now supports a third and fourth
'73, a local farm was purchased with 1100 acres and 2
houses that would become homes for Eddy with his wife Donna, and
Kathy with her husband Darrell. Broadleaf Stock Farm Ltd was formed
in 1974, and included all 7 children.
a Farm Vacation tour in Europe coming up, Joyce and Vernon worried
about leaving the farm; however, a deposit had been paid to the
Department of Agriculture and leave they did. The 'children' managed
well, this was '76 and Broadleaf prospered.
East', and the Lodge extension in '83
marked such a successful period that business almost overwhelmed
Joyce and Vernon. At Easter dinner that year, the parents read their
children a letter and it indicated the need for a momentous decision:
Broadleaf could be handed to the 7 children or sold, and the proceeds
divided. A joke was made that no one could find sufficient funds
to purchase this growing business so, they would willingly take
it on! And take it on they did.
in this new development was the children's provision of their parent's
10th home: 'Broadleaf Too'. Working with 2 carpenters, Joyce made
sure that the new building could include 'B&B' accommodation
for vacationers. This business continues today.
to the Lodge and a tent ground/trailer court, the Mountain Chalet
was constructed. Followed by 3 country cabins, named after Broadleaf's
breeding stallions: Lou's Joker, Mi Amigo and Comanche. Two cabin-style
dormitories named Henry Day and Bonnie Federal were added, and this
winter, the family is looking at year round camping facilities.
rides have continued since '66, taking
place annually from July 1st to Sept 1st. In '97
winter rides began and Broadleaf was established as a 'year-round,
outdoor adventure destination'.
the 1997 annual general meeting the 7 children were asked
to tell what Broadleaf meant to them. All generations were present
and here the family truly understood how Broadleaf had shaped their
lives - they felt very blessed indeed.
then, the family have received awards
(in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001) recognizing their level of hospitality,
and the range of activities that feature in their adventure and
December 20th 2001, Vernon Hudson died at the age of
76. His influence in the growth of Broadleaf continues through the
second and third generations, as the family business continues to
(a poem by Joyce Hudson)