For Bill and Debbie Myers of St. Onge, South Dakota, Frenchmans Guy was their horse of a lifetime. In their skillful hands, Frenchmans Guy became a champion athlete, a phenomenal sire, and a household name in the world of barrel racing and other Western disciplines. In the process, the gorgeous 1987 palomino stallion by Sun Frost and out of Frenchmans Lady also became the cornerstone of Myers Performance Horses for more than three decades.
“He’s been such a big part of our operation,” Bill said. “The money he generated let us do all the things we’ve been able to do in our lives. He’s paid for everything we have, and we’ve helped a lot of other people because of him, too. It’s absolutely amazing to think of all that he has done for us.”
But had it not been for the unfortunate accident that cost Guy his right eye as a yearling, the story of what Guy and the Myers family became could have turned out very differently.
THE MAKINGS OF A LEGEND
By the 1980s, Bill and Debbie Myers were already living and working as horse trainers in South Dakota. Although they both loved rodeo horses – Bill had grown up roping, while Debbie ran barrels – they trained a diverse clientele of American Quarter Horse athletes, including both racehorses and performance horses.
“We were working people who started out in the horse world,” Bill reflected. “We wanted to make our living training horses. Back then, we had stumbled onto a particular bloodline of horses that we liked. We bought several horses out of the same mare family of Frenchmans Lady and Caseys Ladylove. We were so impressed with them and their minds, their prettiness, and their movement that we went back to that same mare family many times until we finally ended up with Guy.”
The Myerses bought Guy as a yearling, intending to train and resell him, but then an unfortunate accident happened. While his stall was being cleaned one day, the feisty colt decided to jump out of his stall over a wheelbarrow. Seeking to stop the horse, one of the Myerses’ sons raised a pitchfork in the colt’s direction, but Guy didn’t stop and ended up piercing his right eye on one of the pitchfork’s tines.
“It was just a freak accident, and we had to have his eye taken out right away,” Bill said. “We were pretty devastated because we had big plans for him, but really, it was by the grace of God that we got blessed with a bigger blessing than we could have ever imagined. If he hadn’t lost his eye, we probably would have sold him or gelded him – and then he would have never been able to do for us what he’s done.”
GUY ON THE RISE
After the colt’s injury healed and he became old enough to ride, Bill began training Guy. By the time Guy was five, Debbie decided to start taking the young stallion to barrel racing futurities to see if he had inherited the talents and abilities of his family. At the time, Debbie was winning amateur rodeos on a three-quarter sister to Guy, and she was eager to see what the palomino stallion could accomplish in the rodeo pen. They quickly began winning barrel race futurities and bringing home checks. Even though the stallion’s blinded right eye meant he couldn’t see the barrel when he was making his first turn, there was nothing Guy wouldn’t do for Debbie.
“He was a lot of fun, and everything was so easy for him because he was so athletic,” Debbie said. “I was always conscious of taking care of his right side for him since he couldn’t see, but he trusted me. Whatever you asked him to do, he’d do it. His sister was a little bit more hesitant, but Guy was more the type of horse to say, ‘Well, if you’re sure that’s what you want to do, I’ll give it a try.’”
In addition to earning checks, winning barrel futurities and derbies, and competing successfully in circuits like the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Badlands Circuit and the South Dakota Rodeo Association, Guy began making a name for himself as a sire early on. The stallion’s kind, easygoing nature meant he was easy to handle in the show pen and the breeding pen, and Debbie recalls taking the stallion to the breeding shed in the morning, hauling him to a rodeo in the afternoon, and then back to the breeding shed again in the evening.
“That was probably one of the most phenomenal things about Guy is even when he was just starting out as a sire, he had a couple of superstars in his first foal crop,” Bill said. “That’s what got Guy started so well is that he sired some pretty darn good colts right off the bat, and then they got even better.”
Today, Frenchmans Guy is a $14 million dollar sire and a leading sire of barrel racers as well as all-around performance horses. He has also become the sire of several two-million-dollar sires as well as several exceptional broodmares. But while his foals have proven themselves time and again in both the show pen and the breeding shed, the Myerses are most proud of the fact that every son or daughter of Guy also inherits their sire’s exceptional temperament and easy trainability.
“His foals are unbelievably great moving horses, but they’re also very easy to get along with. From little kids to older people, his babies are easy to train for everyone. Anyone can ride them, not just professionals. They’re extremely easy to train, smart and people-friendly, too,” Bill said. “He’s had great horses in bulldogging, roping, barrel racing, calf-roping, breakaway roping – it doesn’t matter. All his babies are athletes who are easy to train, so they fit a lot of different disciplines.”
AN ENDURING LEGACY
Frenchmans Guy passed away in 2021 at the age of 34, but the stallion left behind an enduring legacy for the Myers family as well as for the world of performance horses.
“That horse was in our ownership and management his entire life, and it was a really fun ride to be with him throughout all of that,” Bill said. “And the fact that he lived so long made it even more special for us.”
The palomino stallion spent his final days on the Myerses’ ranch in his own private paddock, eating fresh green grass hand-pulled for him by Debbie.
“We owe Guy everything,” Debbie said. “As far as I’m concerned, he paid for everything we have. He was a blessing to us for more than 30 years.”