Casey’s Ladylove leaves stamp on Quarter Horse lineage
When Frances Loiseau purchased Casey’s Ladylove as a two-year-old in the early 1960s, the largest purchase without her husband’s consent, she didn’t know the immense legacy she and the mare would leave behind. She is the first South Dakota Quarter Horse to be inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. The mare was inducted last year and will be celebrated Jan. 6, 2018, at the inaugural South Dakota Quarter Horse Association Banquet and Social in Pierre.
Casey’s Ladylove, or as she was known by the family “Casey,” is responsible for the line of Quarter Horses still very popular today containing “Frenchmans” in their names, including Frenchmans Guy, PC Frenchmans Hayday, and many more. A daughter of PC Frenchmans Hayday, owned by rodeo great Mel Potter, DM Sissy Hayday and his rider Hailey Kinsel broke the arena record in barrel racing night three of National Finals Rodeo this year with a 13.11 second-run.
Kinsel also won this year’s College National Finals Rodeo and The American barrel racing competition aboard Sister.
“It’s amazing what that she and that little horse are getting done,” said Lis Hollmann, James and Frances’ daughter.
Ivy Conrado and KN Fabs Gift to Fame, a bold-colored palomino dubbed JLo, tied for first with Lisa Lockhart with a 13.58 in round five of National Finals Rodeo. This is Conrado’s second NFR, but her first riding JLo, who is a daughter of Frenchmans Fabulous, owned by Kenny Nichols, a son of Caseys Charm, daughter of Casey.
“For generations, these horses just keep producing,” Hollmann said. “Casey’s Ladylove was an outstanding mare. When my parents bought the pretty buckskin mare, they had no idea that the mare was going to go on to influence an industry and have offspring earning more than a million dollars.”
Casey’s more notable offspring include Frenchmans Guy, owned by Bill and Deb Myers and a son of Frenchmans Lady, who was a daughter of Casey; Kristie Peterson’s famous barrel horse French Flash Hawk, known as “Bozo”, was a son Caseys Charm and a four-time Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion and five-time AQHA horse of the year; and Sherry Cervi’s palomino mare MP Meter My Hay, also known as “Stingray,” is a daughter of PC Frenchmans Hayday, a son of Caseys Charm.
They day they brought her home
James and Frances Loiseau saw the mare prior to the sale and made note of her, wanting to bid when she came through the sale. James stepped out to look at a few other horses when the stunning buckskin mare showed up in front of Frances. She hadn’t made a purchase that large before, $720, without consulting her husband.
“She was pretty worried she was in the doghouse,” Hollmann said. “She was the high-selling horse of day. When father came back in, he asked if the buckskin mare came through and how much she brought. Mother said $720. He said, ‘Who paid that for her?’ She said, ‘I did.’ He was pretty tickled she bought her.”
Casey’s Ladylove was purchased as a show horse for Hollmann’s sister Barb, which she took to like a dream. Even as a two-year-old, she won many western pleasure classes and other events. Eventually, she was bred to a stallion named Laughing Boy owned by Pat Cowan. Their offspring ended up on the racetrack with Cowan as the trainer, and the Loiseaus were in the race horse business.
Casey’s offspring began to shine in the rodeo arena, but too late for James to enjoy the mare’s success.
“My father passed away before the horses began to receive a lot of accolades, other than at the racetrack. After that, the horses started to do well in the rodeo arena, and in working cow horse events, they did exceptionally well. Some of them were even reined on,” Hollmann said. “My mother was always quick to say no matter how good the horses were, it took a good horseman to get the horses to excel.”
“James was diagnosed with leukemia in 1977 and died on Christmas day,” said Jim Hunt, one who nominated Casey’s Ladylove. “Think of what has happened since that time in 1977. Frenchmans Guy is an $11 million sire. That’s the neat part of that lesson, if you love something and believe in it enough, don’t give up. She knew she was a super horse.”
In the late 1970s, with four children still at home and about a dozen broodmares, it could have been easier for Frances to take the easy road, but she made the right choice.
“She had multiple opportunities to sell the broodmares, the daughters of Casey’s Ladylove and Casey’s Ladylove was part of it, but she just wouldn’t do it,” Hollmann said. “It would have been a lot easier to sell rather than keep them, but she couldn’t part with them. When she passed away in August of 2015, there were several generations of Loiseaus riding descendants of Casey’s Ladylove who escorted her to cemetery. For her it was never about winning or the money, it was always about how much she loved those horses.”
Frances passed away in 2015, before Casey was inducted into the hall of fame; she was aware, however, that her beloved mare was nominated.
The Frenchman name came when Frances started naming their horses. Being French, the Loiseaus decided to use Frenchmans followed by a three- or four-letter word, such as the earlier offspring Frenchmans Fox, Frenchmans Luck, and Frenchmans Bars. AQHA names have since lengthened allowing for more characters.
“The foals out of Casey’s Ladylove are truly superior, superior-minded, conformation, and athleticism,” said Jan Fischer, a barrel racer who has ridden many offspring of Frenchmans Guy. “Today, you can still see the stamp she put on those foals, generations later. They were unlike anything I’ve ever ridden, so willing and smart. The extension on their stride was unreal, collection was easy for them, it wasn’t something you as the rider put in them, they came that way.”
Jan’s daughter Kortney Fischer, currently has two of John and Lis’ horses, one stallion and one mare, both of whom are Casey’s descendants, in barrel horse training. All eight of the Loiseau children still have horses of Casey’s lineage.
“It’s quite a legacy they left us, their love of horses and their incredible work ethic,” Hollmann said. “They taught all of us kids to work and left us great horses; it’s quite a legacy.”