This AQHA past president is a horse-breeding Hall of Famer.
January 1, 0001
From The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum
Let’s learn more about this horseman, breeder and AQHA past president.
Frank has been involved in the horse industry for more than 50 years. He established and built Windward Stud along with good friend Jerold Wells in Purcell, Oklahoma, in 1972. When you mention Purcell, it’s likely to invoke images of the homes of famous horses Go Man Go, Triple Chick,
Tiny Charger, Double Bid, Alamitos Bar, Top Deck, Boston Mac and Kid Meyers.
Frank and wife Robin owned and/or operated this facility for more than 40 years, standing many of the industry’s most noted stallions before selling the farm to the Cowan Family in 2006. The Merrills stayed as the CEOs for Cowan Select Horses LLC at Windward Stud until the fall of 2012 when they moved to Poolville, Texas, to pursue their own interests.
Frank has owned, managed or syndicated more than 100 stallions and bred and cared for more than 25,000 mares. He has acted as sales agent andsale-preppedthousands of horses for clients all over the world, earning a reputation for honesty and integrity.
the M5 brandhave accumulated many championships and titles in cutting, racing, halter, working cow horse, reining and roping. Two horses owned and shown by Frank, Miss Jim 45 and Royal Santana, are in the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
“She was the prettiest horse I’d ever seen,” Frank says of Miss Jim 45.
He thought he’d like to own the mare, so he called Matlock Rose, who was showing Miss Jim 45. Matlock and George Tyler, both from Gainesville, Texas, were partners on the mare. Frank asked Matlock if Miss Jim 45 was for sale.
She was, but $25,000 was the price tag.
“I told Matlock that I didn’t have that kind of money, but that I sure would like to see a mare that’s worth that much.”
So Frank went to Gainesville.
“When the mare got her head, neck and shoulder out of the stall, I was absolutely awestruck,” Frank says. “At the tender age of 19, I didn’t profess to be an expert on judging horse flesh,
but I knew this had to be one of the most outstanding examples of a Quarter Horse I had ever seen.”
Borrowing the money, Frank bought the mare, with one stipulation: He would go to work for George and Matlock as an unpaid apprentice, learning from two of the best.
Two years later, Frank ended up in Purcell, working with Jerry Wells, who had sold Frank half interest in Boston Mac. Frank and Jim Wells were breeding the stallion. Later, Frank bought the other half of the horse and the 140 acres that became Windward Stud.
The Merrills also became fully involved in horse racing, partnering on Holme Maid, who ran third in the 1978 All American Futurity and earned more than $230,000. There was also the Magnificent Five partnership that owned Casanova Kate, Satin Steel and Miss Jet Tonto. During that time, Frank also managed Schvaneveldt Ranch in California and was involved in getting parimutuel wagering passed in Oklahoma.
While serving on the AQHA Racing Committee and AQHA Racing Council, Frank helped develop the graded stakes program, as well as the Knorp-Merrill ratings system.
In the mid-1980s, Frank, Robin and their three horse-crazy kids began to focus more on cutting, something the entire family could participate in. All five of the Merrills have earned AQHA world championships.
Frank competes as a non-pro in the National Cutting Horse Association, with lifetime earnings of more than $440,000. He remains active on the political scene with AQHA, NCHA and the United States Equestrian Foundation. Frank has served on the AQHA and NCHA executive committees and was AQHA’s president in 2007. He was also president of the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association in 1988. Currently, he serves on AQHA’s Stud Book and Registration Committee and the Federation Equestre Internationale High Performance Working Group, and is a national director for NCHA. Frank was inducted into the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2013, Frank was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. Frank also operates M5 Performance Bloodstock and manages the Dogwood Foundation.
Frank and Robin have three children: McKenzie who lives in Dallas; Megan Miller, who lives in Poolville with husband Matt Miller, who is a cutting horse trainer, and daughters Emery and Harper; and son Tyler and his wife, country signer Katy Keenie Merrill, who also live in Poolville. Tyler is Matt’s assistant trainer.
Learn more about all of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductees.
AQHA members get FREE access to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo. Join us this summer and walk among legends!