Chips & Lewis

I knew about Beaty Butte when the program first arose and began building up in Adel. My fiancé and his family live in New Pine Creek and I originally saw information on the facility in Jerry’s on a flyer. From there I followed them on social media. When I eventually started looking into purchasing/adopting, I simply called Jim and we talked about the horses they had available.    

The first thing that really caught my eye was the price tag. I grew up riding horses in San Francisco, and you can probably guess that literally nothing was less than $5000. When I heard that Beaty Butte’s typical adoption price was much lower, I was really excited. I was also really interested in mustangs as a breed. I took a lot of courses at Oregon State University that involved grazing and issues regarding feral horses. I knew that purchasing a mustang can not only help spread the word but also give facilities a chance to take more mustangs off the land and into captivity. Lastly my fiancé owns a ½ mustang, ½ quarter horse, and he works his butt off compared to all of the other horses on our ranch. Their work ethic, physical stability and sure-footedness were all aspects that I really liked about the breed.

Chips & Lewis Gathering Cattle

I purchased both Chips n Dip (his old name was Jake) and Lewis in early August. I had been in contact with Jim and Ian for a few weeks prior to my interest in purchasing. Earlier in June, I also went and visited the facility and scouted out the younger/fresher mustangs, so I knew which ones I was interested in early on.

Both Chips and Lewis are primarily ranch horses. They are both going to be expected to rope, doctor, sort, and move cows. I originally purchased Lewis for my fiancé, so I won’t be utilizing him as my own. Since I grew up riding hunter/jumper and English horses, Chips may be a little bit more than a ranch horse. I plan on teaching him how  to be versatile such as jumping and possibly some very low level dressage work. Since I like to pleasure ride throughout the week, he will act as an all-a-rounder!

The qualities I like the most about them is that they are both very willing and excited to learn. I have yet to experience Chips refuse to try anything. He always searches for the right answer and has not given up on me yet! Chips also LOVES to move cows, he acts like a cow dog most of the time, and bites at them. I also really adore the connection that we have built. He knows me, and as we spend more time together, continues to trust me more. This really shows when he reacts well to new situations with confidence.

Lewis is more of my husband’s horse. From just watching him and talking to my fiancé, I know that Lewis is really independent and does not mind being away from the herd. He also has a really soft mouth and bridles up really nicely. Lewis tends to be a little bit more shy and reserved, but I can tell he is a sweetheart once you prove he can trust you. 

I know for a fact that I got my fiancé’s family interested in purchasing more mustangs. These two have already proven how awesome mustangs are and how vital they can be to a ranch setting. Chips hopefully will be in my life for a long time (being that he is only 3 years old) and I won’t need a new partner anytime soon. 

Rose McKereghan grew up riding hunter/jumper and had no ranch/cow horse experience until around 8 years ago when she met her fiancé. She had always been fascinated by it and has really enjoyed learning a new discipline. However, she stays true to her roots and continues to practice hunter/jumping.

She rode on the Oregon State IHSA equestrian team for three years, and did both western horsemanship and English equitation. IHSA is a catch riding show program, so she got to ride A LOT of horses over her career in IHSA. This gave her the tools to purchase a young/green mustang.

The History of Barry

Barry: One-of-the-first Arrivals

“Barry” is a typical Beaty Butte wild mustang. His name honors one of the first families in the area and his appearance is very similar to how most wild horses looked in the 1950-60’s recalls Board member, Mary Bradbury.

A mix of draft, Morgan  and Thoroughbred she thinks, although these horses are generally smaller now than they were then. Mary, is a direct descendant of the Barry family that immigrated from Ireland in 1874. They brought sheep from Dublin, California to settle in the Beaty Butte area.

 “We are not only preserving the Beaty Butte wild horses, we are preserving ourselves. We need to make the problems with their sustainable management our problem…. they are part of our culture and heritage.” – Richard Kiely, whose family has ranched in the Warner Valley area since the early 1900’s.

The wild horses of Beaty Butte and the pioneers who forged this western community are inseparable from the historical fabric in this remote corner of the Oregon desert.

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.