Remembering Smoothie: Myers family look to their young stallions after losing A Smooth Guy a year ago
January 3, 2019
A year ago, the Myers family said goodbye to hopes and dreams, to the beginnings of another AQHA mogul, A Smooth Guy. Smoothie, a 2005 buckskin sired by the Myers' own Frenchmans Guy, was all that Bill and Deb could hope for in a stallion: almost-perfect conformation, balanced, smart, with a great disposition. He was put down at the age of 12 after fracturing his hock in six places while playing in the pasture.
While the Myers have several very promising stallions to fall back on, plus Frenchmans Guy. the foundation of their program, it doesn't temper the sting of losing all that the Quarter Horse community would gain from "Smoothie."
"That horse had a lot of personality and had done our family a lot of good," owner and breeder Bill Myers said. "We get pretty attached to our horses, especially ones we've had a long time, especially when you have so much hope and can see the future in a horse like him."
When Smoothie was born, Bill had decided right away that he was something special. He was drawn to the young colt's conformation, matching to a T what they strive to produce at Myers Performance Horses, of St. Onge, South Dakota. When Bill started riding him, he liked him even more.
"After we got to training and riding him, he showed us he was a superior athlete, very smart, and easy to train," Bill said. "He was just a real fun horse to be around and handle and have on our place."
Smoothie began breeding mares as a three-year-old, so the Myers were able to witness his strength as a stallion. As hoped, he also passed those prized traits on to his offspring. If mares had slight problems, then Smoothie could improve them. Bill said, "He was one of the strongest in producing himself, very strong in producing his strongest traits."
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Longtime friend John E. Johnson agrees with Bill that Smoothie could strengthen mares and replicate himself, partly to do with all the promising traits the stallion gained from his mother, Docs Movida.
"He was really quite different from Frenchmans Guy because of his mother. She had produced winners even before A Smooth Guy," Johnson said. "She is a daughter of Dry Doc, who was a cutting horse futurity champion and a product of Doc Bar and Poco Lena. Her mother was a daughter of Jet Smooth, a triple A AQHA champion, by Jet Deck, the best running cross. He had some of the greatest cow breeding and some of the greatest speed breeding, which may have been even more universal than Frenchman's Guy. And he was one of the stallions that crossed on any kind of mare to produce pretty babies, and people like to ride horses they like the looks of."
Bill and Smoothie qualified to head at the World Series of Team Roping and Smoothie was awarded 2015 Future Fortunes Freshman Sire. In 2017, A Smooth Guy tied for third as the 2017 leading sire of prospects sold at auction with a $22,000 median, coming in behind his sire Frenchmans Guy in second and Dash Ta Fame in first.
"The reason he got so popular is that he started out siring good horses right away. A couple of his babies went to the high levels right away," Bill said. "He has had a high percentage of winners for no more than he's had. The looks, conformation, and mind on them, it's the stuff the public wants."
While in Arizona, Johnson said that Smoothie caught the eye of trainer Jason Hershberger, who showed him in the Sun Circuit in Scottsdale.
"When I got him, he was already a trained rope horse, I just had to repattern him for horse show style, and he was so easy to train and work with and so good minded," Herschberger said. "He was so strong, so powerful, and super-fast running to a steer. He would let you control him and handle him. He probably rates way up there as one of the strongest and fastest rope horses I've ever been on, and he was just so good looking. I felt really fortunate when Bill asked me to show him."
Even a year later, moving on from losing A Smooth Guy has been a slow healing process.
"You don't understand why it happens; we just accept that's the way it's supposed to be. That's just God's plan," Bill said. "We're thankful we had him as long as we did. He still had a big influence on our program. It's kind of like losing a human; the sting goes away as time goes along, but it's still there. When you lose a horse like that, it's like losing part of the family."
Bill and Deb have a couple of Smoothie's daughters that they plan to incorporate into their program, and they also plan to keep some of his coming crop this spring.
"Bill and Deb Myers have, without a doubt, one of the strongest horse programs in America, not just South Dakota or the Midwest," Johnson said. "Bill is very particular about conformation, good mind, and trainability, and he found that in A Smooth Guy. He was a real loss, not just to Myers Performance Horses, but also the industry for how universal they were."
Smooth N Famous is one of Smoothie's most winning offspring. The 2011 gelding owned by Tami Semas has risen to the top of area barrel horse standings with lifetime earnings of more than $200,000, winning the Colorado Classic Derby, 5-State Maturity, and Mesquite Championship Rodeo Series in 2017.
She bought Smooth N Famous after losing another A Smooth Guy colt at a young age.
"I loved him. He placed in every futurity we entered," Semas said of her colt. "I feel like A Smooth Guy horses are really good-minded horses that are user friendly to a lot of different types of riders, and they're pretty horses."
While still offering cooled shipped semen from A Smooth Guy, the Myers have shifted their attention and hopes to their four young stallions, three of which are by Frenchmans Guy, and the other, Lucky Wonder Horse, is a son of First Down Dash.
"We think a lot of them. They have all the good qualities A Smooth Guy had," Bill said. "We're breeding them and looking at their colts and liking what we're seeing at this point."
Whether speaking of Frenchmans Guy, A Smooth Guy, or the outstanding stallion prospects coming up, Bill has been in quiet awe of the blessings he and his wife have been given. While he says sometimes he forgets just how special his horses are, there are frequent reminders of the impact their horses have had on the performance horse industry.
"We don't really stop and think about it, it's just part of our program. We realize they're great horses and have all kinds of great accomplishments. Frenchmans Guy, probably because he has lived as long as he has, really had a huge impact in the horse industry. The length of his life has made him a household name and become a legend in the horse world," Bill said. "It's humbling to know we own him. Everything we have, we owe to them. The financial stability to be able to build our program is a direct result of those horses. A Smooth Guy was looking to have the same financial effect."
At the age of 31, Frenchmans Guy, a grandson of Caseys Ladylove, is still healthy and living out his days at Myers Performance Horses, but the inevitability of losing him isn't far from their minds.
"It won't be good at all. We're thankful he's lived as long as he has; that horse has been with us forever, but it's almost a sadder thing with A Smooth Guy because he was in his prime," Bill said. "Frenchmans Guy has helped a ton of programs; he's helped a ton of trainers. There are going to be a ton of people sad when he passes on."
Frenchmans Guy was honored as 2018 Rodeo Animal Athlete during the Casey Tibbs Foundation Tribute Dinner early in November. He is ranked the number two barrel racing sire by Equi-Stat, behind Dash Ta Fame. Equi-State reports he has 813 offspring who have accumulated more than $8 million in earnings in barrel racing alone.