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New Mexico Horse Council Awards

Back in 2001, horse council members looked around and perceived what is still true: there are fine, fine people doing things that benefit horses and horse people in New Mexico, and we don’t recognize them enough. So the Board suggested, and the membership adopted, the Horse Person of the Year award, to be given annually to a person nominated by one (or more) knowledgeable persons, and selected by a Committee appointed by the NMHC President. It was generally to be a person thought by all to be a worthy and wonderful recipient of the award. The first Horseperson of the year was announced in 2002. Around then, NMHC members thought that the contributions of several of these recipients were not limited to a single year, but were spread over many years, indeed, a lifetime. It was decided that in alternate years NMHC would give instead a Lifetime Achievement Award.


Nominations must be received at by October 1. NMHC needs a short biography of the nominee and the wonderful reasons why this person should receive the award. Neither the nominee nor the nominating person needs to be a member of the horse council. 

Recipients of NMHC Annual Awards
2017 Lifetime Achievement Award - Bon Bagley

2016 Horseperson of the Year - Nancy Freshour
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award - Max Evans
2014 Horseperson of the Year - Steve Komadina
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award - Ruth Dismuke Blakely
2012 Horseperson of the Year - Rusty Cook
2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards - Dr. Leonard Blach and Sallie Pennybacker
2010 Horseperson of the Year - John Collins
2009 Lifetime Achievement Awards - Dick Hensleigh and Eldon Reyer
2008 Horsewoman of the Year -  Carolyn Bader
2007 Horsewoman of the Year - Val Cole
2006 Lifetime Achievement Award - Blair Darnell
2005 Horsewoman of the Year - Suzanne Norton Jones
2004 Horsewoman of the Year - Elsie Shollenbarger
2003 Horsewoman of the Year - Melanie Scholer
2002 Horsewoman of the Year - Karen Reyer

Bon Bagley
Bon Bagley

2017 Lifetime Achievement Award

Bon Bagley believes in Outreach. To children. To neighbors and friends. To other horse owners. To other horses! But the public, the non-horse-owning public, the adults who grew up reading Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka, who watched The Lone Ranger and Ponderosa on TV, went to movies (Casey’s Shadow, Hidalgo) and then let horses slip out of their lives unless their children and grandchildren remind them – Bon wants you back! She wants more multiuse trails with walkers, hikers and bicyclists enjoying the company of riders. More promotion and outreach displays with education and membership recruitment for equine organizations. Better zoning. More first responders taught about Large Animal Rescue. And she will be (gently) in your face about it – with parades, with booths, with lessons (sometimes free if you can’t pay) about horseback riding, driving, and ground handling.

When a person has been this active at the foot-soldier level for so many decades, it is easy to become accustomed to his/her presence, and maybe even jaded about the value of his/her contributions.  We are impressed by how Bon is everywhere —not just talking and advocating for good ideas, but doing the grunt work and follow through to make things happen. For Bon, every day of every week is filled with devotion to the promotion of high quality, fun, safe, meaningful, contributing to society, horse ownership in our state.  Bon’s philosophy is simple: Publicize, create, and support events celebrating the heritage and historical place of horses in New Mexico – and have fun (safely) while doing it. There are future horse persons out there who don’t know it yet. Bon Bagley wants to find them and introduce them to our wonderful world.

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Nancy Freshour

2016 Horseperson of the Year

Nancy was raised on a family farm, and was very active in 4-H with her chicken, steer, and horse interests.  She got her first horse as an 8 year old, a Saddlebred named Ginger.  Nancy helped pay for Ginger's expenses with her first paying job; bailing hay at six cents an hour x age ($.54).   Ginger was dearly loved and ridden, until Nancy had to leave for college (UCLA, Univ. of Washington, and, many years later, a MA at NAU).   Ginger was given to a neighbor family with kids to dote on her as Nancy had done.      


Although she went many years horseless, Nancy's love and passion for them never diminished. During those years, she helped others care for their rescue horses in exchange for the opportunity to ride, audited horse clinics, and connected with people and horses at every opportunity. At almost 75 years young, Nancy has had 67 years working with, riding, and supporting horses. Her respect and admiration for horses was passed on to her daughters through stories of her youth, inspiring them to also catch full blown cases of "horse fever."


Upon retiring after three full careers - school teacher, Alaskan commercial fisherman, and the last as Information System Department Manager at Sandia Labs - Nancy immediately sought to reconnect with horses. The past 15 years have been spent deeply immersed in the horse community representing the equine community to the community at large, and doing extensive volunteer and charity work using Aspen (her horse) as the conduit.

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Max Evans

2015 Lifetime Achievement Award

Max Evans: horseman, cowboy, writer, historian and artist, raconteur, and mentor is the recipient of the NMHC 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. “Ol’ Max” has lived the full life of a horseman, cowboy and much more.  He leaves a huge legacy in the ways of horses, their jobs and the West to New Mexico, the United States, and the entire world. Perhaps New Mexico’s greatest writer, as a horseman Max has forgotten more about those critters than most of us will ever know.

Born in 1924 in west Texas, by the age of three he had learned to ride and, portending his future, to read. By age four his family had moved to Lea County, N.M. and he started working the family cows on his own first horse, Cricket. By age seven, during the Depression and the epic drought, he was driving cattle up and down the highway between Lovington and Hobbs looking for grass. As soon as he was able he high-tailed it off to work as a cowhand in the country he had longed for since he heard cowpokes talk about the high plains and mountains. To this day Max’s favorite part of New Mexico remains the Hi-Lo Country, that northeast corner of the state. In 1948 Max moved his family to Taos, trading horses, roping, painting and expressing himself in writing. The wonderful succession of horses in his life became characters in the stories he wrote.

His “true West tales” took him from New Mexico to Hollywood, and thence to an audience around the world.  Horses, horsemen and their lives and work together have formed the basis of most of Max’s voluminous writings and art. There are true stories, real animals and real lives that can be traced in his non-fiction books and anthologies such as “For the Love of a Horse,” (2007).   Ornery broncs and the men who worked them  came to life in two of his most famous novels, “The Hi-Lo Country” and “The Rounders.”  These were made into movies, and the Rounders was even a television show, bringing the lives and loves of cowhands to the general public. Max’s love of the Western even extended to a role in a Sam Peckinpah film, “The Ballad of Cable Hogue.” His works include histories of Taos and other rowdy places in N.M.; a compendium edited with Candy  Moulton called, “Hot Biscuits: Eighteen Stories by Men and Women of the Ranching West;” “My Pardner,” a story based on true adventures of a boy running his father’s horse herd to Oklahoma during the Depression; and “Animal Stories: a Lifetime Collection;” plus more than twenty other volumes of history and fiction. Many of his extemporaneous tales have been published in interviews in “American Cowboy” and “Western Horseman.” Fellow horseman Slim Randles wrote a biography of him: “Ol’ Max Evans: the First Thousand Years” (2004). 


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Steve Komadina

2014 Horseperson of the Year

Many think of Steve Komadina in connection with hot air balloons – his famous “After the Stork” balloon sailed over Albuquerque in numerous balloon events, showing a stork delivering a bundle of joy.  Others know him as a “baby doctor” – he believes he has delivered over six thousand, although without the stork.  Still practicing (but not delivering babies) and still involved with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (but no longer as a pilot) he now spends energy on his passion, introducing children safely to the joy of horse/human relationships. 

The New Mexico Horse Council first became acquainted with Steve Komadina when we wrote a letter protesting legislation he introduced while serving as a New Mexico State Senator between 2000 and 2008.  As so many did then, and still do, he wondered just what the heck the New Mexico Horse Council was – but he followed up on it, attending an annual meeting. 

He told us that we needed help with lobbying (a main activity of both the New Mexico Horse Council and the American Horse Council), became a member, was elected a Director, and is now a lifetime member.  Steve organized an annual “lobbying day” with the result that many legislators are more than names and pictures on the government website.  He has also encouraged having closer ties with other livestock groups, by encouraging continued participation with booths at AgFest and the Joint Stockmen’s Convention.  And he, Jason Turner and others coordinated a two day tour for legislators in the summer of 2015.  The goal is to acquaint New Mexico’s lawmakers with all the economic, social and recreational impacts of the equine industry and culture in New Mexico, from rodeo to ranching, racing to trail riding, and all things equine in between.  When he was a young boy, he and his mother discovered “Clark’s Riding Stables” in the river bottom at Central and the Rio Grande, and his mom drove him down on Saturdays so he could watch people coming to take lessons.  His dad, exasperated, told him to talk to Mister Clark to see if he could brush or clean up horses just to get experience.  “You bet!”  At 11, Steve got his first paying job, delivering handbills door to door, and whenever he accumulated enough money he bought a riding lesson.  In 1961, Santa brought a horse (a mixed breed Tennessee Walker named Flake) and a saddle, and Steve and his father found a place where they could build a corral to keep him.  Flake stayed with the family until Steve graduated from med school, then went to a good friend’s home.  After a stint in the Navy, Steve has had horses ever since, along with wife Penny (who accepts, he says, that a horse is his best friend), six children, and a slew of grandchildren.  

Steve likes to participate in organized rides when he has the time; he’s gone on the Pony Express Ride, the NM Centennial Cattle Drive and (several times) the Red Rock Ride.  He is looking forward to riding with Preston Bates at the N Bar Ranch on the hundred mile Pathfinder Ride, and the rides on his bucket list include the Chief Joseph, John Wayne and Florida Cracker Rides.

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Ruth Dismuke Blakely

2013 Lifetime Achievement Award

Not only has Ruth been in on the grassroots floor of AQHA and NMQHA through her parents and grandparents, she has carried forward all of their hard work, dedication and perseverance for those generations gone before her.  She has the enthusiasm of a small child on Christmas morning when it comes to the American Quarter horse.

Ruth is a third generation of the American Quarter Horse Industry.  Her father, Bill Dismuke, bred and raised palomino quarter horses and served on the NMQHA board for many years and was an AQHA National Director. She was born in Albuquerque in 1957 to Joan and Bill Dismuke; she was the oldest of 4 with 3 younger brothers with which to compete constantly as they grew up.  All of Ruth’s brothers are team ropers so you know she had to be tough to keep up with them.  She grew up in Peralta and then moved to Sandia Park where she first started her business, Skyline Therapy Services, which is now located in Edgewood. 

She is currently working with the AQHA Foundation Council on the Equine Assisted Activities and Treatment Program (EAAT).  Not only serving as President of NMQHA in previous years and a board member for 2013, she serves as a Director of AQHA, member and past board director of the American Hippotherapy Association plus many other organizations.  Her every day living is surrounded by horses helping others. She puts her horses at the top of the list and works with children with special needs through Skyline to insure they receive beneficial therapy for their future.  Skyline provides Speech-Language, Occupational and Physical Therapy to children with special needs, specializing in the use of equine movement as a treatment strategy.

Skyline Therapy Services, Ruth, and her team of educated staff, strive to improve the child’s life by providing individualized therapy.  The horse’s movement is a vital part of the therapy as movement itself helps to facilitate function in the human body.  Ruth’s team consists of speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and many other key personnel to make the child’s progress into their daily lives a better quality for them and their families.  “Using therapy horses in the therapy settings is likened to a performance event – just like in the show pen or rodeo arena.  We are very diligent in terms of conditioning, schooling, training and maintenance.” 

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Rusty Cook

2012 Horseperson of the Year Award

Rusty Cook has always loved horses and has owned, bred, raised and showed them since 1973.  She has ridden in many local and regional shows, and her horses have winning records in many disciplines.  Horses she raised have won honors at local, regional and national levels.  After retiring from her first career (as a high school biology teacher), she embarked on a second career as a US Equestrian Federation Licensed Official.  She is a Steward for many breeds and disciplines, a Dressage Technical Delegate and an FEI Dressage Steward.  She has officiated at horse shows from coast to coast.

Rusty has been show manager for the Zia Classic and Spring Fever Arabian horse shows in Albuquerque and has served as a volunteer in many capacities at local, regional and national shows.  Affiliations include the US Equestrian Federation, the US Dressage Association, the US Hunter Jumper Association, the American Horse Council, the Spanish Arabian Horse Society, the Rocky Mountain Dressage Association and the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association.  She also has been an officer and committee chair for the Arabian Horse Association of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Arabian Horse Alliance, the New Mexico Dressage Association and is an officer of Region 8 of the Arabian Horse Association.

Rusty has worked on Horse Council projects for many years, beginning with her creation of the NMHC web site when the Board needed to move into the modern era.  Directors elected her President in 2007. As President, Rusty has participated fully in Board projects and guided events beginning with a “Horses in Action” day in 2008, the annual state fair booth, lobbying during the NM legislative session, and doing outreach with other groups, all of which increase the stature of the Council and help horses in general.  She has also shaped fundraisers (since the Council’s sources of income are fundraisers, member dues, and donations) to help the treasury.  

For years, horse owners nationally have grappled with a declining economy and increasing numbers of “unwanted” horses and what to do about them.  The NMHC Board, again facilitated by Rusty Cook, moved ahead with a survey of membership and has successfully weathered the results.  The results reached the national press, including several interviews with reporters in the print and television media.  It is a measure of her success that the Council’s views were accurately quoted.

Rusty Cook has worked behind the scenes and in subtle ways on many issues that are important to horse owners – even if they don’t know it!  She has forged relationships with facilities such as Expo New Mexico, governmental agencies such as the City of Albuquerque, state agencies, and other horse breeds and disciplines.  She has given the Council much more visibility through the website. 

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Sally Pennybacker

2011 Special Lifetime Achievement Award (awarded posthumously)

In appreciation of her activities with New Mexico horse groups, including helping to found the New Mexico Horse Council and serving often as director and officer; forming New Mexico Horseways, a trails advocacy group; publishing The Horsemen’s Voice beginning in 1982 and continuing for seventeen years; supporting and promoting the Rio Grande Horse Association and the New Mexico Hunter Jumper Association; helping to manage the Lions’ Club and Saddlebred Charity Horse Shows; and providing a home for the Albuquerque Vaulters and the Cloud Dancers Therapeutic Riding Program. She truly cared for the horses and riders of New Mexico.

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Dr. Leonard Blach

2011 Lifetime Achievement Award

In recognition of a lifetime of dedication to horses and to the New Mexico horse industry. An original founder of the New Mexico Horse Council, he advocates uniting horse owners for the benefit of all equine interests. He has greatly advanced equine surgery and reproduction as a veterinarian and horse breeder. His induction into the Race Horse Hall of Fame, and his Triple Crown campaign with Mine That Bird in 2009, brought New Mexico horse racing to national attention. His involvement with 4-H groups and fairs shows his dedication to youth and their horses. He is a true asset to New Mexico.

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John Collins

2010 Horseperson of the Year

As a boy, John helped at his grandfather’s farm in all aspects of caring for and, later, training and exercising horses.  Although he had spent thirty years away from the horse world, after marrying DJ in 1993 they both purchased horses.  DJ specialized in jumping, dressage and English riding; John did competitive trail and endurance.  Army duties filled a large part of his life after 2001, but they found time to build Cherry Tree Farm and manage 20+ horses.  John also found time to take many clinics to improve his riding and ground handling skills.

He joined NM Dressage Association in 2004 and has helped that group gain members and grow far more active.  He and DJ have volunteered to host several shows and clinics each year since then, bringing in national experts.  He assumed the office of President of NMDA in 2011. John Collins joined the Horse Council in 2008 and is a lifetime individual member.  He became one of the reliable go-to people, organizing the Annual Meeting dinner including extensive research choosing the venue, more extensive investigation of awards, and soliciting donations.  

He and DJ also managed the Horse Emporium for the Council in 2010.  He donated Cherry Tree Farm as the event location, solicited items for the silent auction, created signage, created and distributed flyers, and visited every horse merchant in the central part of the state to publicize the event.  (And the Emporium was a very successful fund raiser for the Horse Council.) John is known for going out of his way to help any individual with a horse problem.  In 2010 purchased a new horse, and with his retirement from the Army, became an active competitor.

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Dick Hensleigh

2009 Lifetime Achievement Award

Dick Hensleigh was born in 1938 in Manhattan, Kansas, where his father was completing a degree in Animal Husbandry at Kansas State University.  After graduation, he moved back to the family farm in Winchester, where Dick belongs to the fourth generation to live on the family farm (still owned and operated by the Hensleigh family).  Dick started riding behind, and driving beside, his father at the age of four.  At 13, Dick began working for Hall of Fame breeders and trainers of American Saddlebreds Lee and Jane Fahey.  While there, he also met and learned from many other nationally famous trainers and horses.


Hensleigh’s riding and driving experience spans nearly 68 years to date.  He has had the good fortune to compete for and receive top awards in breed shows at all levels for Saddlebreds, Morgans, Welsh Cobs, Quarter Horses and mules.  His long showing career includes countless horses from the 1956 National 4-H Grand Champion Weanling, “Mr. Personality”, to the 2009 American Royal Champion Open 5-Gaited mare, “Our Sweet Addison”.

Eldon Reyer
Eldon Reyer

2009 Lifetime Achievement Award

Eldon was instrumental in forming the Santa Fe chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of America to help preserve “traditional and historic” stock use on federal lands.  He was also the National Park Service liaison helping to manage the legislation that created the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and still works  and lobbies for this project.


He organized and presided over the Santa Fe County Happy Trails Horse Coalition, a group that mapped trails in Santa Fe County and produced the first defensible horse census in the state.  Armed with this data, he lobbied the state legislature and obtained funding for an underpass suitable for equestrians when Highway 285 was reconstructed.  He also served on the Santa Fe Executive Trail Committee, and represented equestrians on the Governor’s Bicycle, Pedestrian and Equestrian Committee. 

In July 1991 Eldon and his wife Karen joined the staff of the New Mexico Boys and Girls Ranches (now “The Ranches”) as Livestock Education Specialists.  The Ranches serve children at risk and Eldon was the “cowboy” in charge of the twelve Girls Ranch horses, becoming a farrier so he could shoe the horses as well.  The equine program included equine assisted psychotherapy under the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).  After 14 years of service, both Eldon and Karen retired from The Ranches in 2006.

Eldon and Karen are both life members of the New Mexico Horse Council, and Eldon has served on the Board for many years.  He participated in all the NMHC sponsored Horse Fairs with booths and demonstrations, and has also been involved with the State Fair booth and tent.

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Carolyn Bader

2008 Horseperson of the Year

When we started training in New Mexico, Appaloosa horses were becoming popular.  We started with that breed and with quarter horses.  We also trained and showed Arabians, Morgans, Buckskins, English, cutting, roping – a little bit of everything.  We found over time we needed to concentrate on one breed when it came to showing and that was quarter horses. Our sons showed in Hunter Jumper youth classes and Quarter Horse youth activities.  Later in high school they enjoyed High School Rodeo where they entered the team roping events.  Both have competed through their junior years at all levels including the world shows.

Trained 7 American Quarter Horse Association Champions, earning all points for those championships.  Trained one World Champion, one Youth World Champion, one Reserve Amateur World Champion.  Numerous other high placing horses and riders at World competitions.  Numerous New Mexico State Champions in Open, Youth and Amateur Divisions of competitions.

Conducted and instructed Amateur and 4-H Horsemanship Clinics.  Also gave two clinics in Germany.
Continuous program of private instruction in most phases of A.Q.H.A. competition and horsemanship. Writer and subject of articles on horse training in several publications.


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Val Cole

2007 Lifetime Achievement Award

Val has represented equestrians on the Greater Albuquerque Recreational Trails Committee for three terms beginning in 1998.  She was appointed to Governor’s Bicycle, Pedestrian and Equestrian Committee by NM State Highway & Transportation. Val has represented equestrians on the Greater Albuquerque Recreational Trails Committee for three terms beginning in 1998.  She was appointed to Governor’s Bicycle, Pedestrian and Equestrian Committee by NM State Highway & Transportation Department Secretary Pete Rahn in 1998, and the two-year appointment has been renewed as it expired, most recently in February, 2006 by NM Department of Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught.  She has served as the New Mexico delegate to the American Horse Council State Horse Council Advisory Committee (at her own expense), and served as chair from 2004 to 2006.  She represented State Horse Councils at the national Unwanted Horse Summit in 2005, and has remained actively involved in the Unwanted Horse Coalition that evolved from that summit.

Val has been a member of New Mexico Horse Council for more than 25 years,  was the Newsletter editor for 17 years, has worked on the Horse Fair every year, has actively lobbied on behalf of the equestrian community as a NM Horse Council member for the limited liability for trails legislation, funding for a State trails coordinator, and has been contracted to work at horse shows as paddock master and announcer in New Mexico and nationally.

Val is a thoughtful and informed equine supporter. She attends public meetings to serve as a voice for the equestrian community and then keeps everyone informed through the newsletter, or by telephone or email if immediate action is required.  Through it all she has been supported by her husband who has also dedicated time, expertise, and a sense of humor to her passionate involvement.

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Blair Darnell

2006 Lifetime Achievement Award

Blair has been involved with horses since she was a very small child.  For over fifty years, many horse owners, their children and their horses have benefited from Casey and Blair Darnell’s time and expertise.  She has helped the Rio Grande Horse Association, Bernalillo County 4-H Horse Program, New Mexico Quarter Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse Association (where she has been appointed director emeritus), horse racing and breeding (including a runner in the 1994 Kentucky Derby), and of course has been involved with the New Mexico Horse Council since 1970.  After Casey’s death in 2001, she promised to slow down a bit – and there are fewer horses in residence at Alamo Farm in Corrales.  But in presenting the award, Elsie Shollenbarger spoke of her “imprint” on every part of the horse community.  And she also said people kept finding Blair involved in many other activities – art, archaeology, music, education, travel.  In all these areas Blair has made a difference. 

Several members of Blair’s family were present to see her receive the award. 

Blair Darnell passed away on November 18, 2015.  She was a lifetime supporter of equestrian organizations and their activities, and was the recipient of the NMHC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.  She will be greatly missed.  See her obituary here.

At their December 28, 2015 meeting AQHA recognized Blair's contributions with a Proclamation.  See that Proclamation here.

Suzanne Norton Jones
Suzanne Norton Jones

2005 Horsewoman of the Year

Suzanne is “an icon” who brought up the standard of teaching in New Mexico and sent students to compete successfully in national events in every discipline.  She trained Nautical, the palomino show jumper ridden by Hugh Wiley for the U.S. Equestrian team and immortalized in the Disney movie The Horse With the Flying Tail. She is the “parent” of the week long 4-H Horse School held annually since 1984.  She has written books and articles about horses and people, bred, bought and sold many over the years, and is still always looking for that perfect match of horse and rider.  

The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame named Suzanne an Honoree in 1999.  The biography posted on their website says, “Suzanne is one of the most influential trainers, breeders and judges in the equestrian world. The daughter of an army cavalryman, she began showing horses at four. Her career saw her win virtually every major horse show in North America and become one of the top quarter horse breeders. Suzanne acquired judging cards in several breed associations and served on the AQHA International Committee. She is also an author and columnist for a major horse journal.”

Jones was involved in nearly every aspect of the horse industry, from breeding to showing to riding in international competition and more.  She was the daughter of an Army colonel who was skilled in horsemanship. She first sat horseback at the age of one and by five, was competing in horse shows. At 10, she defeated 15 skilled riders in a stakes race.

Under her father’s guidance, Jones developed expert training and riding abilities. Her father organized the polo team at the New Mexico Military Institute and was responsible for establishing hunt seat riding within the state. Jones’ career as a trainer took off after she graduated from the University of Arizona, where she was on both the rodeo team and in the show ring. Four of her personally trained mounts were certified as Olympic prospects, one of which was sent to the final tryouts. In 1953, Jones qualified for the United States Equestrian Team, which was to compete in Canada, the United States and Mexico. A revolution in Mexico cancelled the shows south of the border, ending her international show career.

Jones and her husband, New Mexico rancher and AQHA Director R. C. “Punch” Jones, were successful breeders. The couple received the Association’s 30-year continuous breeder award and the 40-year cumulative breeder award. Their ranch has produced 351 registered foals, 131 of which have earned nearly $2 million at the racetrack and 26 have earned 2,061 points in the show ring.

Jones became involved in 4-H through her children. She became a 4-H judge and clinician in New Mexico, and became involved with the New Mexico 4-H Horse School, renamed the Suzanne Norton Jones 4-H Horse School in 1992. Jones has judged horses and taught clinics on a national and international basis and held cards for the Palomino, Paint and Appaloosa Associations, as well as the American Horse Shows Association. She served as an AQHA judge for 31 years, from 1962 to 1993.

To read about Suzanne's life in her own words, click here.

Update: Jones was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in 1999, the same year she was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. Punch Jones was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Hall of Fame in 2008. The two were inducted into the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame in 2014.  Her most recent competition was at the 2014 Adequan Select World Championship Show, where she was honored as the Nutrena Senior Athlete.


Suzanne Norton Jones passed away December 5, 2015, at the age of 91.  She was involved in nearly every aspect of the horse industry, from breeding to showing to riding in international competition and more.

2017 - Bon Bagley
2016 - Nancy Freshour
2015 - Max Evans
2014 - Steve Komadina
2013 - Ruth Dismuke-Blakely
2012 - Rusty Cook
2011 - Sally Pennybacker
2011 - Dr. Leonard Blach
2010 - John Collins
2009 - Dick Hensleigh
2009 - Eldon Reyer
2008 - Carolyn Bader
2007 - Val Cole
2006 - Blair Darnell
2005 - Suzanne Jones
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