Leading Stock Horse Historian and Author Frank Holmes Dies

A leading authority on stock horse heritage, equine author Frank Holmes died January 12, 2013, near his home in Ramah, Colorado, due to complications from cancer. He was 65.

Born November 3, 1947, Frank grew up in North Dakota, where he cultivated a love of horses. Frank submitted his first article to Western Horseman in 1961 at age 13 and was a published writer by age 14. Though he worked for 18 years as a federal civil servant, he also worked as a part-time equine freelancer beginning in 1965.

A horseman and writer for more than 45 years, Frank had a special love for the history of the Western stock horse breeds, especially the Paint Horse. A student of pedigrees, Frank’s knowledge combined with interviews of influential horsemen to create a signature, award-winning blend of articles and books.

Following his time as a Western Horseman staff writer from 1994 to 1996, Frank was hired by the American Paint Horse Association in 1996 as the Paint Horse Journal features editor. There, his writing flourished through feature articles, personality profiles and articles related to Paint Horse genetics. Leaving APHA in 2000, Frank founded Loft Enterprises in 2001. Dedicated to capturing the West’s rich history and passing it on, Frank continued to pen freelance articles and books while also spending more time with his wife, Loyce, on their small horse ranch near Denver.

“Western horse history can be likened to a multi-colored tapestry that takes on a different hue each time you look at it,” Frank said in a 2012 Loft press release. “As a lifelong student of the three breeds-Quarter Horse, Paint Horse and Appaloosa-I have always been intrigued by the colorful stories of the horses and the men and women who raised them.”

Among his credits are More Than Color Volumes 1 and 2, The Hank Wiescamp Story, King P-234, Legends Volumes 2-8, Spotted Pride: The Appaloosa Heritage Series and Wire to Wire: The Walter Merrick Story.

Due in part to his vast knowledge of APHA history, Frank was part of the five-member selection team for the inaugural APHA Hall of Fame, which instilled its first class in October 2012. He also wrote an 11-part series for the Paint Horse Journal during 2012 in honor of the association’s 50th anniversary.

“The stock horse industry far and wide will feel the loss of Frank’s expansive knowledge and deep love of Western culture,” APHA Executive Director Billy Smith said. “A talented writer, Frank dedicated his career to preserving the history of the stock horse breeds-with a special emphasis on the Paint Horse industry-and was passionate about sharing that information with others. He was one of the good ones.” Frank is survived by his wife; sons Eric, Craig and Morgan; 10 grandchildren; sisters Kathy Dunnan, Patty Poole and Joanne Ranguette; brothers Rick and Gary Holmes; in-laws Junior and Bennie Ruth Robertson; and numerous family and friends.

Funeral services will take place January 18 at 10:30 a.m. at the Majestic View Church in Kiowa, Colorado. Memorial contributions can be made to Majestic View Church Awana Ministry, and condolence messages may be sent to the family at lholmes2376@gmail.com.