I remember reading about this. Miyamoto-senpai was going to have Lon Lon Ranch burned down. I wish it had, that would give more to the fact that Adult Link is in a dark future, as we'd see more of what has changed since the past.
Epona, Malon, and the fellow ranchers wouldn't necessarily have to die as a result; they can simply escape to a different location, perhaps Kakariko Town? The beta elements taken out for the final product would be cool to actually see, too. :yes:
I'd rather the ranch burn down in the time you play as Adult Link.
Ingo: HAHA! Now you can't escape! Oh wait, locked myself in o,o. Time to fish my keys out.
-Eruption from death mountain, burning rock causes fire-
Ingo: What the...?
Link: Come on Epona! -Leads horses out, causing Ingo to be trampled.
Link: Malon, Talon, Jump on D:
-They jump on-
Ranch burns down, everyone is save, with the exception of Ingo.
I have to wonder what kind of interesting emotional scene that would have created. The way things actually go in the game perhaps makes a bit more sense, though. Ganondorf destroyed Hyrule Castle in order to take over and build his own castle in its place, and it the process demolished the town as well. Lon Lon Ranch is a bit further away, so its not entirely in the vicinity of the throne he's seizing. His hand still reaches over all corners of the land, so this would include taking control of Lon Lon Ranch. I suppose to Ganondorf perhaps Lon Lon Ranch would be more useful if he kept it in tact and used it for his own bidding, rather than destroying it.
I would love for the Ranch to be burned down in a non-sadistic way. Like Caleb was suggesting, it would have a huge emotional toll ingame and on the player (provided they can empathize). Also, it would be a nice change from the 'fantasy' adventure that OoT is, where Link successfully saves everything and everyone he's ever come to known. Maybe Nintendo would consider a "Zelda Gaiden" just for what ifs? =D