A lot of people ask where we got the "Hawleywoods" name. For a
period of time Loyd's sister, who married a Woods, and her husband
owned some registered cattle together. They were required to have
a prefix to use when registering their cattle. Thus "Hawleywoods"
"Hawleywoods Mule Farm" was started in June of 1978. At that time
we maintained a hundred head of Holstein heifers. We did a lot of
embryo transplanting and sold a lot of frozen embryos overseas. We
gradually phased out the heifers and went full time with the mules
about 1993. There was about a five year period when we had thirty
five brood mares and seventy five to eighty mules all the time.
We’ve always stood one or two jacks and for several years we bred
over one hundred mares per year. After Vince, our oldest son, went
to the Army we started downsizing a bit.
Another day at the office
I grew up on horses and learned to ride on wild mustangs caught
out of the Owyhee Mountains in Idaho. For some reason I had really
always liked mules. At first, I bought a team of mules and a bunch
of mule drawn equipment. Soon after buying them I had them broke
to ride and quickly Vince and I started riding them on the trail.
We like the mules so much we quit riding the horses. In 1978 the
whole family was doing a lot of trail riding and we loved it.
On one of our rides someone said, ”Are you going to the mule show
this weekend?” I said, “What’s a mule show?” They said it’s just
like a horse show except you do everything on a mule. Vince & I
loaded up and went to El Dorado Springs, Missouri. I went to the
entry table and ask what classes they had. She handed me a sheet
and I told her to just enter us in everything. We didn’t do worth
a hoot, but we had lots of fun and the first thing we wanted to
know was where is the next show. I sold the horses, bought more
mules, and started going to mule shows. We’d make 25 to 30 shows a
year in the five state area. At that time the mule shows were more
fun shows, playdays if you will. But, the competition was fierce.
Now they’re more serious and specialized like the horse shows.
It’s a shame we can’t have both.
Pretty quick I wasn’t satisfied
with just participating. I wanted to compete. I had spotted these
two mules that Ivan Johnson of Marionville, Missouri had been
showing. They weren’t for sale. The next spring I took the truck,
trailer and big satchel full of money. I came home with Socks and
Molly and we started winning. Consistently, Vince would win the
high point for the youth and I would win in the open division.
When Rachel turned ten years old we bought Blue for her. She
started winning and the three of us were off and running. When you
win people want to buy your mules. I have always been one to price
anything I own and before you knew it I was in the mule business.
As time went by we got better mules and got better at training
them. We had to better because the competition was getting better.
In the last thirty years the mule industry has made tremendous
strides. We started showing on a national level and were lucky
enough to win a lot of awards and had a great time. I think back
of all the really good mules I’ve had and feel a lot of pride and
Still trail riding is the ultimate enjoyment for me. I enjoy
the rush of competition and the satisfaction of selling someone
the “Right” mule. But, the peacefulness and back to nature feeling
I get when riding on the trail is the ultimate. I’m always
wondering what’s over the next hill.
We’ve met a lot of wonderful people and made many great friends
through the mules. We considered the people we sell to as friends
not just customers. There’s a bright future in the mule industry
and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.
The Loyd Hawleys