As seen in Louisville Business First:
Scott Hagan presenting at the ASHBA First Timer Celebration, 2022 World’s Championship Horse Show
Personal Profile Questions for 2022 World’s Championship Horse Show
How did you begin in the Saddlebred Industry? In the early 1960s when my father, Dr. John Hagan, was finishing his internship at the University of Kentucky Medical School, as he was walking past a bulletin board one day, he saw a sign that read, “small town needs doctor”. He took the bulletin, visited North Middletown, Kentucky and decided to set up his practice there. A few years after we moved to North Middletown (we being my older brother, Terry, my younger brother, Hart, my father and my mother, Sara), my father met Buford Hall, an African-American resident of North Middletown who had been in the American Saddlebred business his whole life. My father and mother decided that they wanted their sons to learn responsibility and strong work ethic and chose breeding, raising, training and selling Saddlebreds as the way to do that.
They hired Mr. Hall who taught us how to ride, gait and show Saddlebreds. In the 1970s, my parents started the North Middletown Horse Show with the help of Bill Munford who was then the Manager of the World’s Championship Horse Show and a real icon in the Saddlebred business. My brother Terry and I showed our horses under the name The Village Stable on the Central Kentucky Horse Show Circuit. The shows on the Circuit we enjoyed the most were Owingsville, Flemingsburg, North Middletown, Paris and Germantown, though we attended plenty more. People we showed with on the Central Kentucky Horse Show Circuit included Joe and Deedee Allen of Paris, Tom and Judy Byron of Mt. Sterling and Laura and Mindy Cook of Cynthiana. I also worked with Charlton Jones, the owner of the historic Saddlebred farm in North Middletown where his father, Allie, raised and trained WC CH King’s Genius and where WGC Bourbon King stood at stud and was buried. I also worked for Earl Curtis, Rae Deane Stone and Arthur Hancock at Stone Farm. The first summer I worked at Stone Farm, Stone Farm’s Gato del Sol won the Kentucky Derby and Arthur assigned me to groom the select yearlings entered in the Keeneland July Select sale. That same summer, we sold the first filly ever to sell for $1,000,000.
What are you known for professionally? In the Saddlebred industry, I am known for being a very particular breeder concentrating on gameness first and secondly for quality and athleticism, and as an accomplished amateur rider/driver (in addition to my real job, which pays for the horses, which is as a real estate developer specializing in shopping centers, apartments and self-storage).
What do you have a knack for? Studying pedigrees and intuitively mating mares and stallions.
Who have you worked with in the past before this business? I am currently a real estate developer and a licensed, non-practicing attorney who practiced securities and corporate law in the late 1980s. I am one of the owners of Hagan Properties, a Louisville based company I founded in 1991 which develops luxury multifamily communities, build-to-rent single family communities, shopping centers and self-storage facilities. We always have several large projects in various stages of development.
What do you enjoy most about that work? I like choosing and acquiring the best properties for our projects, the zoning and entitlements process, the politics related to our projects and financing. I work very closely with my wife, Wendy, and my son, Layson, who handle all aspects of our multifamily business including being the general contractor on our projects. We usually have approximately $100,000,000 of projects under construction.
What are you most passionate about professionally? Being the best I can be in all aspects of real estate development and paving the way for my son, Layson, and others to take over Hagan Properties.
What most excites you about the Saddlebred Industry? Studying pedigrees, analyzing the anatomy of mares and stallions, testing matings to determine which crosses work with each mare and watching 2-year-olds develop.
How long have you been doing what you do? I’m 64 and my show horse “career” began in the early 1960s when I was 5 when Mr. Hall bought me a mixed breed Hackney pony at October Court Day in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky for $135 that I showed as a 3 gaited pony. Her name was Monday Swing.
What are you passionate about personally? Business, horses, dogs, family and collecting Kentucky antiques, Kentucky coin silver and Patek Philippe and Rolex watches.
What aspect of the Saddlebred industry do enjoy the most? I enjoy the breeding aspect the most but I am always looking for ways to improve myself as an amateur rider/driver. I’m only interested in showing extremely game and difficult horses.
What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend or a Sunday afternoon? Spending time alone at the office catching up on work and studying pedigrees then spending time with Wendy, my children, grandchildren and dogs.
Where did you grow up? North Middletown, Kentucky, the home of the Saddlebred.
Any awards or medals, or even medallions? 2021 American Saddlebred Breeders Hall of Fame Award, 2021 National Horse of Honor – WGC HS Daydream’s Heads Up, 2021 American Saddlebreds Horse of the Year – WGC HS Daydream’s Heads Up, 2017 ASHA Breeder of the Year.
What would be impossible for you to give up? Horses, dogs and collecting Kentucky antiques, Kentucky coin silver and Patek Philippe and Rolex watches.
How do you want to be remembered? As a hard-working, patient and understanding person who loves his family, horses and dogs and deeply appreciates the very talented people who make Hagan Properties what it is today.
Coolio and Friends
By Terry Hagan, MD
I have been riding since age 8 when we bought our first horse, a large, typey pony named Rosie. My father had a friend who told him, “John, a good horse won’t eat any more than a plug.” So with that in mind, Rosie was bred to a Saddlebred stud named Just Dandy and the result was Lily Aire. She was the first horse I trained. I gaited her and showed her on the central Kentucky circuit as a five gaited pony.
About the time Lily was born, we moved to a new house in North Middletown (population 432) that had a 3 bent tobacco barn that we converted into a 6 stall horse barn. My father had gotten to know Buford Hall, an African American who had spent his life training Saddlebreds. Mr. Hall began teaching my brother, Scott, and me to ride on a few horses. Dad and Mr. Hall agreed that Dad would buy 4 two-year-olds from Ed Gamble’s Happy Valley Farm in Harrodsburg and Mr. Hall would train them for a year and sell them. The horse in that group that was mine to learn on and show was Sport Commander, a big chestnut horse we gaited which had a big front end but weak back end.
Mr. Hall and his wife Stella were devout Christians and were childless. Mr. Hall was 64 years old and drove an old Chevy with faded paint and rust. One day I asked him if he ever washed his car and he said, “I let the Lord wash it.” My father described him as “the best black man in town”. He intended it as a high compliment and, in fact, I believe my father respected him more than anyone, black or white, in our small town. We moved to North Middletown in December 1962 and Dad set up his medical practice. Mr. Hall was on the town council and asked Dad to join the council. Later, Dad was elected as mayor and served a 4 year term.
There were two churches in North Middletown. We went to the First Christian Church. Mr. and Mrs. Hall were active in and Mr. Hall later became the pastor of the Second Christian Church. Those were the days of the Civil Rights Movement and my parents were sympathetic to the movement, which may have been due in part to the strong friendship between Dad and Mr. Hall. Since Mr. and Mrs. Hall were childless, they would take my brothers and me to their church on Family Day and Easter as their children for the day. One of my favorite pictures is of Mr. and Mrs. Hall and my two brothers and me, all in our Sunday best, probably on an Easter Sunday. I would have been about 11 years old, Scott 8 and Hart 3. https://hagansaddlebreds.com/history/
In those years, Scott and I spent a lot of time at the barn with Mr. Hall working the horses. Mr. Hall was a major influence on our character development. One of the sayings he taught us was, “A man who never made a mistake never did anything.” It was a lesson on being willing to take risks and learn from them.
Years later when I was in college, I was home on break and my Mom, Sara, suggested that the three of us go up to visit Mr. Hall. Mr. Hall asked me if I were going to Sunday school and when I said I was not, he said, “That is very important.” That statement was a major influence on me in later years when my faith grew. I have always wondered where I might be spiritually had he not said that to me. That one sentence made a lot of difference.
The arrangement of buying, starting and selling young horses did not go well from a business standpoint. The main reason Dad got us involved with training and caring for horses was to teach us responsibility and work ethic. Certainly Scott and I became highly responsible professional people but Dad made decisions about the horses that favored our learning experience rather than what was good business. Eventually, when I was about 13, Dad and Mr. Hall parted ways with respect to horses although they continued to be friends and serve on the town council together. That is when Scott and I took over the horses. The horses were our after-school responsibility and we showed them during the summers.
Shortly after Mr. Hall left, we bought a 2-year-old filly that we renamed Wing Reverie. She was by Wing Commander and out of Reverie’s Desdemona (BHF), her last foal. I gaited her and showed her every summer. When I went to college, Scott was even more successful with her, winning the amateur 5 gaited high-point championship on the Central Kentucky Circuit one summer.
I had always wanted to get back into Saddlebreds after finishing medical school and my residency in neurosurgery. I had hoped that would be with Reverie’s offspring. She had a beautiful filly by Supreme Spirit that we called Jeanie (Wing Allure), who in turn had a filly, such that we had the three generations. One day, with few clouds in the sky, Rosie, Jeanie and her filly were struck by lightning and killed. Reverie was away being bred. Reverie later had Mahogany Wing (by WGC Sultan’s Santana), sire of WC HV Act Again and RWC Highpoint’s Mahogany Prince.
I started medical school when I was 20 years old and finished my neurosurgery residency when I was 30. After practicing neurosurgery for 16 years, I switched specialties and now have been practicing psychiatry for 17 years. But I have lived a rural lifestyle with Angus cattle and later was a serious alpaca breeder for 10 years, so I have had lots of animals in my life. As a psychiatrist, I have developed my intuition for people and as it turns out, also for animals. I relate to horses emotionally and intuitively now, “connecting” with them when riding. It’s really cool to be able to do that.
While I had brief interests in miniature horses and later Rocky Mountain horses, I did not have a serious interest in Saddlebreds until 2020. By this time, Scott had become one of the most respected and successful breeders of Saddlebreds. One day in September 2020, he asked if I wanted to ride out to Simpsonville to Lead Way Farm to see the crop of yearlings Scott had just brought in at André van Schalkwyk’s Lead Way Farm. I continued to go with Scott on weekends to André’s to see the colts and performance horses and really enjoyed it. I decided I would like to take lessons and make myself available to ride if the opportunity arose. I started taking lessons from Cindy Zubrod because I wanted to “do it right this time”, having only been “country trained” as a child. Cindy was great. Then, shortly after I started taking lessons, Scott said I could ride Coolio, “the most difficult horse in the barn”.
Coolio is difficult, but in a positive and challenging way. André has been very patient and kind as Coolio and I have gotten to know each other over the last year. When I started riding Coolio, and also Diamond, Scott’s wonderful lesson mare, it was very exciting! When Scott and I were children, we could only dream of horses of this quality. Getting back to riding and having such high quality Saddlebreds to ride after 50 years is great fun and an incredible blessing for me. I never thought seriously about riding again but Scott made that possible and it is one of the most thrilling things I have ever done.
Coolio is my favorite horse to ride. Together, Coolio and I just keep getting better. I was able to show him three times last summer and saw how much work was left to do. But we are doing the work and I am really looking forward to the 2022 show season. Coolio is a beautiful horse with a really sweet personality. He takes his job seriously although sometimes he gets confused, which usually is my fault. Coolio is getting easier as his trot squares up but some of his quirks are difficult for me. The fact that he is not easy makes the experience mean so much more to me. I like how he pushes me to my limits and makes me grow as a horseman. But there are moments when he will hit “the big lick” and that is so exciting. We just need to be able to do the big lick long enough to win blues. I think that’s coming.
Terry Hagan, MD and HS Coolio (WC Our Axel Rose x HS Ima Cool Girl) – January 8, 2022 at Lead Way Farm.
I recently have started riding Klinger (HS Times Are Changing). He is sort of my “dream horse”. He is gaited and extremely game. I have been learning the hard lessons of how to ride an ultra game, light mouth gaited horse which poses completely different challenges than riding Coolio. Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to get into the ring with Klinger this year.
I am open to new opportunities and I am also a dreamer. I dream of world championships, knowing that for now, I am just dreaming. But who knows? Maybe…Yes.
Scott and Heads Up Article_Part1
Scott and Heads Up Article_Part2
Cracking the Champion
Cracking the Champion_Part2
A_Daydream_Believer - 2
Scott and Heads Up Article_Part2
Cracking the Champion
Cracking the Champion_Part2
A_Daydream_Believer - 1
A_Daydream_Believer - 2
Theirs Was The Kingdom
-North Middletown Community Club circa 1972Theirs Was The Kingdom
The History of the American Saddle Horse
-Terry M. Hagan circa 1970The History of the American Saddle Horse