Hagwoods and Competition Success

Tom Hagwood is a horse trainer from Powell, Wyoming. Tom is well known for being the 4-time (3-in-a-row) champion of the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s premier event. He is not the only mustang champion in his household though, as his wife, Arianne, has won titles on mustangs herself. Today, the Hagwoods mainly focus on mustangs, but that wasn’t always the case.

For many years, Tom trained horses primarily for clients. As many cowboys do, he would use these ‘outside’ horses while day working for different outfits. In 2008, when the economy slumped, clients no longer invested in training these horses. There was still day work to be done but he found himself without a horse. That is when his journey with the mustangs began.

Tom decided to head to Ontario, Oregon to a mustang adoption event and get himself a horse. He came home with a four-year-old horse that he named “Pardner.” On Pardner’s thirteenth day, he went to the mountain to work. Tom rode Pardner for 7 months straight, barefoot, in the mountains. Pardner turned out to be a great horse. After Pardner, Tom continued to adopt mustangs.

In 2013, Tom adopted his first, but not his last, Beaty Butte Mustang, Merv. Merv and Tom went on to win the Mustang Million. The following is what Tom and Arianne wrote to us about their successes with our horses and what the Beaty Butte horses mean to them.

Arianne and Harney, 2012 Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover Idols Reserve Champions

“The Beatys Butte horses have been life changing for us. We compete in the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s mustang makeover events in Fort Worth, Texas, and although we have won championships on good horses from multiple herd management areas in several states, we’ve had more success on the Beatys Butte horses than horses of any other one HMA. 

In 2013, I bought a good-looking little sorrel Beatys Butte horse to complete in the biggest competition the Mustang Heritage has offered. I named him Merv, after an old cowboss, Merv Takacs, I worked for and learned a lot from on the Spanish Ranch, Squaw Valley division, in Nevada. Merv turned out to be a fine example, demonstrating the mustang horse’s trainability, versatility, and athleticism. We had 140 days to prepare for the competition that year, and Merv never took a bad step. He was strong on a rope, good on a cow–the kind of horse you can do anything on. He and I became the Mustang Million Champions, winning $211,000, a 2014 Dodge trophy truck, and many other prizes. 

The year before, my wife, Arianne Hagwood, had purchased a Beatys Butte gelding off the Superior Livestock internet auction/adoption for the chance to complete in Fort Worth. She and Harney won all their preliminary classes, and were the 2012 Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover Idols Reserve Champions, winning over $10,000.

Arianne was invited to the invitation only Mustang Magic event held during the Fort Worth Stock Show. On our way home from the Mustang Million, we picked up her horse for the Magic. Since the horses for this competition are assigned by random computer draw, she was pleased to see she’d drawn a Beatys Butte red roan mare. She and Amy won the 2014 Mustang Magic.

In 2016, we adopted some recently gathered Beatys Butte horses from the Burns corrals. One was Soldier, a nice bay gelding that I sold last year at the Bots Sots Remount Sale in Sheridan, WY for $30,000. He was one of the nicest horses I’d ridden. We still have a couple of the colts we adopted. They started nice and we are looking forward to their futures. 

While a person can get a good one from any herd management area, we feel the Oregon horses are managed as well, if not better, than any, and we will always have a soft spot for the Beatys Butte horses.”

Arianne and Amy, 2014 Mustang Magic Champions

Tom and Soldier. Soldier sold for $30,000

Jim Hiatt + Louie

Program Director & Trainer Jim Hiatt, has lived in Warner Valley since the 1980’s. During his time in the valley, he has owned and ridden several mustangs. Even before becoming manager at the facility, I specifically remember over hearing him talk about mustangs – he said, “once they figure out that you aren’t going to eat them, they become like puppy dogs.” Today, he rides his 18 year old mustang, “Louie”, at the facility.

Jim received Louie as a weanling from the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge (that would be about seventeen years ago). Although he is majorly calm today, he wasn’t always this way.  Jim recalls that he was “kind of nasty when I started him.” I suppose that over time, Louie learned that Jim was not going to eat him, and he decided to be gentle as ever, forever. It is special to see Louie, who looks like he could be a close relation to Flash Gordon, be able to help train the younger horses.

Jim’s holistic training techniques have allowed for wild horses to find home homes within 60-90 days (give or take). Jim has a real vision of where a horse starts and where they need to be. Not only does he work from ground to saddle, Jim takes time to get to know each of horses’ personality and how to best work with that particular horse. He knows that some horses take time and will spend more time with them on the ground. He can see potential for all the horses and provides an experience that is custom to the horse. He will spend many hours getting the horse used to him and others by grooming them, working around their legs/hooves, and other types of human interaction.

Jim provides different environment exposures for all horses in order to get them used to working and riding outside of the pen. There is a process that is used to get horses comfortable being ridden out of their element. Some horses are ready sooner than others.