Variety, they say, is the spice of life. Which means that Joe Guy’s life must be well-seasoned — his resume includes musician, author and horseman.
And he’s ready to tell stories about it all, offering a show featuring music and stories at Renée’s Roadhouse Diner on March 15 and 16.
“The show is based around trying to inspire people,” said the Australian (visit his website here). “It’s all about finding what you want to do with your life and doing it. … At the end of the night, some will have a tear in their eye, and some will be smiling from ear to ear.”
Guy has been travelling the world, including 14 European countries, for five years, singing songs and telling stories, and doing what he does best — working with “unrideable” horses.
“Every time I get on a horse that’s deemed unrideable, I prove the trainers wrong,” he said. “I’ll take that horse and give it its life back.”
Often, he said, this is more than a case of preventing the horse from being sent to the glue factory, but is actually a matter of safety for the owner. And it can help the owners grow personally, too — one woman that allowed herself to be pushed around by other people her whole life was allowing her horse to do the same thing. Over a couple of days, Guy taught both her and the horse to change their ways.
On occasion, the long rider will buy or trade for the horse, then ride it to his next destination. That has taken him 6,500 miles from the top to bottom of Australia, and thousands of miles in the U.S. and Canada, including Alberta’s Cowboy Trail, which runs from Mayerthorpe to Cardston. He rides solo — with his family spending time elsewhere — and unsupported, sleeping on the ground, even in –25 winter weather in Alberta.
From Creston, he plans to head west to Hope, find a horse, and then ride back across Canada while his family lives in the East Kootenay, likely Jaffray.
It’s been a long journey, both physically and metaphorically. Guy was a runaway street kid at age 12 — around the time he discovered horses — in with a crowd that drank, did drugs and stole cars. His life changed at 17 when he got into bodybuilding and martial arts
“I managed to skim out and turn my life around with training and horses,” he said.
Three years later, he discovered music. He became a street performer, and also used his musical talent to draw crowds into failing restaurants. He eventually rode a packhorse in the outback for two years, eating food that he shot along the way.
He began demonstrating his horse training skills, which proved popular.
“Before I knew it, I was putting on clinics with 10 horses,” he said.
While in North America, Guy recorded a country CD in Nashville and Calgary, which complements his book nicely.
“I write about what I do, so I try to keep it as real as possible,” he said.
And he appreciates the inspiration provided by riding through the U.S.
“I wanted to go to the home of the cowboy and see who was doing it,” he said. “I rode across the U.S. and there was not a long rider in the saddle doing that.”
Admission to Joe Guy’s 7 p.m. show is by donation. It takes place in the back room of Renée’s Roadhouse Diner, and guests are asked to use the rear entrance and parking lot.