Between the Reins with Frenchmans Guy
The decade’s leading living barrel horse sire turned 30 years young this year and has a personality as big as his far-reaching influence.
By Blanche Schaefer; originally published in the August 2017 issue of BHN
He’s a household name among barrel racers, and his lines can be found in many of the pedigrees of the highest-earning barrel horses over the past two decades. His progeny have earned more than $10 million, making him Equi-Stat’s leading living sire of barrel money earners. It’s safe to say the unmistakable 1987 palomino stallion Frenchmans Guy (Sun Frost x Frenchmans Lady x Laughing Boy) is one of the most influential horses the barrel racing industry has ever seen. But if you didn’t know any better and stopped by the Myers Ranch to pay him a visit, you might never realize it.
“He’s not a horse that has a lot of ego, yet he knows himself and doesn’t care to prove himself to anybody,” said Debbie Myers, who owns “Guy” with her husband, Bill Myers. “There’s always people who used to question him and if he was fast enough, but he really didn’t care. He has a ‘take me for what I am’ attitude.”
Guy has exuded confidence his entire life, spanning back to his days as a futurity and pro-rodeo competitor with Deb. Though he lost his right eye as a yearling, Guy never lost his self-assurance as a performer.
“If you tell him to go off a cliff, he’s going to try going off that cliff,” Deb said. “He’s got a lot of confidence in his ability; things are very easy for him. When I first quit hauling him because he was too busy in the breeding shed, he did not like that. He liked to go and be part of the crowd and check things out. That’s just the way he is.”
Guy has long since retired from the rodeo road and recently retired from the breeding shed, but he is still king of the Myers Ranch. He remains at the center of activity and is sure to assert his boss-man status in the company of younger studs and geldings, dare they encroach upon his territory.
“He does not want any geldings up beside his pen—they can’t do that, that’s his space. He gets along really good with all the young studs in his barn, but he might bow his neck a little and show off as he goes by to remind them he’s still the big honcho,” Deb said. “He’s got a pen up high in our backyard where he can overlook the mares and colts. He oversees all the operations around here and likes to watch what’s going on. He pretty much has the life of Riley—just hanging out and watching us all work.”
Guy turned 30 on June 15, and Deb says he’s grown more opinionated in his old age. Guy has always had a good sense of humor and still enjoys pulling pranks on his handlers and especially his visitors.
“He’s a jokester; he’ll throw a joke at you once in a while if he gets bored,” Deb said. “I used to have a lot of people come look at him. He’d know when I come out there with people that I’d ask him to show off. I was standing there with a couple gals one day—and before I even asked him to do anything—he was standing down there in the corner of the pen and got this look in his eye, and I know him so well because I’ve been around him for 30 years, and all of a sudden he comes running toward us at a fast run, and then just slid to a stop. When he stopped, he was a foot from this gal’s face. I had to laugh, because that was a pure Frenchmans Guy joke. He just thought that was funnier than heck!”
Antics like that keep life at the Myers Ranch interesting for as long as Guy has been around. His physique remains that of a much younger horse, and remnants of his incredible athleticism linger in his movement. Although he’s slowed down physically in recent years, his personality has only gotten stronger.
“He’s been very athletic his whole life. He’s not as physical as he used to be, but if he sees something going on down below, he’s still going to toss his head and take off running,” Deb said. “He gets put on the walker for a while so he gets exercise since we’re not collecting him anymore. He’s not as athletic as he used to be, but he’s sure opinionated.”
Deb says the lyrics to George Strait’s “Troubadour” best describe Guy’s outlook on life: staying true to himself and his character, embracing the wisdom that comes with age but never losing his youthful spirit. Guy has no need for arrogance or to boast of his accomplishments—much like John Wayne, Frenchmans Guy has always done his talking from the saddle.
“I would have to say he’d be John Wayne,” Deb said. “He’s an honest guy, and what’s right is right, and your word is your word—that’d be him and that’s what John Wayne is supposed to represent. He doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody.”
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