Through adversity Tara and Drew have created exciting new beginnings.
Walking around the west coast circuits this year you may have seen a few smiling new faces. While these faces may be new to the quarter horse scene, Tara and Drew Hayes are no newcomers to the horse industry. Tara boasts multiple World Championships from the Appaloosa World and in 2020 was named the All Around Non-Pro Champion at the World Show. A career change prompted their introduction into the quarter horse scene, and they haven’t looked back!
Tara was born into a horse loving family. “My mother has had horses her whole life so naturally I was riding before I was even born.” Tara explained. Showing was a natural progression that was able to pique the interest of Tara’s natural competitive drive. “It wasn’t an option (not that I would have chosen not to!) to not show, it’s what we love and do!” As Tara entered adulthood, she found a career as a hairstylist because it would allow her the flexibility to continue showing. She showed heavily on the Appaloosa circuit, reaching the pinnacle of her showing career by winning three World Championships, one reserve title and the All-Around Highpoint at the World Show in 2020.
When reflecting on this accomplishment, Tara was quick to credit the journey towards that win and those who encouraged her along the way. “Winning that All Around title is something just about all Amateurs strive for, it was a lifelong goal. There were many hours of blood sweat and tears as we all know that go into achieving something like that. I can honestly say that those are more of the moments that mean the most to me. What we build in the barn behind the scenes with our trainers and teammates to get to those titles means more than the trophies and ribbons.”
During that journey, Tara’s mother taught her how to sew, making her show clothing and eventually inspiring her to start her own clothing business as an adult after she left her career as a hairstylist. Tara and Drew were caught off guard during the 2020 pandemic when both of their jobs were deemed nonessential for a period. Tara, then a hairstylist, and Drew, a strength coach, were unsure of what the future would hold for their traditional jobs. They turned towards their passion for horses to create two new thriving businesses. “My mother has been making my show clothes for as long as I can remember. So, I have always had my hand in the sewing room making new things all the time. When the pandemic hit, both my husband and I got shut down. During that time, it was a creative outlet for me to get into the sewing room with my mother and start making new things to wear and sell.” Tara recalled of the time. “It also gave me time to reflect on where our path was going. Thus, ‘Lucky You Designs’ was born. At the end of 2020 We had further discussion and made the decision to start up a hat business as well to accompany our show clothing. That’s when my husband started ‘Hayes Hat Co.’ We couldn’t remember the last time we saw a hat vendor at any west coast shows south of Rancho Murrieta. We felt there was a need for it and off we went!” Both Drew and Tara light up a room wherever they go, so success has naturally followed these two in their new endeavors. To receive a hat shaping with a smile, be sure to check out Hayes Hat Co.!
Having started Lucky You Designs and Hayes Hat Co., Tara and Drew found themselves attending more and more quarter horse shows. This left them with a conundrum of what to do with their personal show horses. They decided to fully make the jump to the quarter horse industry when they purchased a three-year-old gelding named Black Tie Martini earlier this year. “We decided to make the move mostly for business reasons.” They explained, “Since starting our new endeavor we have spent the last year predominantly at AQHA and APHA horse shows on the west coast. We love showing horses and it honestly just made sense to combine what we do with what we love since we are already at the shows. Plus, being in the show pen will give us the opportunity to meet so many new people. What better way to build a business then being right in the thick of it all.”
They are enjoying every second in with their new partner, being quick to teach him the all-around events with Tara aboard and letting Drew take his turn in the Halter pen. “He’s the cutest little horse with the sweetest personality! If I had to tell you my favorite things about him thus far, it would probably be his good attitude, fantastic work ethic and that he is super smart.
He also likes the showmanship, which is my favorite class, so that’s a bonus!” Tara said enthusiastically. Denzel, as he is affectionately known, is under the expert guidance of Kellie Hinely. Kellie has been a natural fit for Tara and Drew, sharing in their goals for Denzel and taking him to his highest level. Kellie specializes in trail and western riding which they believe Denzel will have a strong future in. “She has been a wonderful coach for us so far which is exciting especially for Denzel.” Tara raved.
The future is bright for this young couple in both their horse and business endeavors. “We love what we do, and we love to see people out there feeling good in what they wear.” Tara shared. If you see them at a show, be sure to say hello!
By Lauren Stanley