IN MEMORY OF DON WARFIELD
August 21, 1917 – June 1, 2004
Donald Randolph Warfield, “Don”, passed away June 1, 2004. At 86, he lived a rich and generous life which began and ended on the Warfield Ranch. I first came to know Don and learn of his generosity in the spring of 2000. Don had contacted me regarding the use of his property for an equestrian park. He had learned of the struggles endured by the Big Sky Equestrian Association (BSEA) in its quest for open land to build a cross-country course. Don was sympathetic to the club’s plight and enthusiastic about a positive use for a 120 acre plot separated from his main ranch land on Alkali Creek Road.
Aware of the expanding urban boundaries of Billings, Don was concerned that after his passing, his beloved ranch land, rich in the history of times past, would eventually fall prey to what Don considered the insults of housing development. An equestrian park would be in Don’s words, “A good thing for humanity.” With Don’s blessing and his signature on a long-term lease, the BSEA and the Beartooth Pony Club began the monumental task of the development of Warfield Equestrian Park.
Don loved to share with others his extensive knowledge of the geological and archeological significance of the land his father acquired in the early 1900s. A collection of arrowheads provides proof that land the ranch now occupies had served as favored hunting grounds frequented by Native Americans.
Arrowhead Horse Trials was named so in remembrance of this history. A variety of rock formations unique to the Warfield Ranch told of the numerous geological changes endured throughout the ages. Don could describe the forceful actions of the earth’s crust and the time periods that produced the changes in the lay of the land and the headwaters of the spring which formed Alkali Creek. Bored younger brothers of horse loving sisters found unexpected excitement when Don would provide them with “dinosaur gullet stones” easily found on the property. While Don
could marvel at the natural forces that set our world in motion, he would also marvel at the evident creative power of God.
Don’s generosity was fully realized in his determination to ensure that at the time of his death, the park property would be gifted to the Warfield Equestrian Community Center, INC. Because of his generosity, equestrian enthusiasts of all ages from Billings and surrounding communities have access to a beautiful park in which they may school and compete their mounts. The equestrian park has hosted competitions and clinics, drawing participants from up to six surrounding states. It has served as a training facility for young riders, some with Olympic dreams and hopes, and for older folks who just want to enjoy a peaceful area to practice their next level of instruction.
Thank you, Don for being a friend and one of the most thoughtful persons I have ever known.