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Tribute to Bib Jones

(Editor’s note: The following was written and submitted by long-time friend Don Scott.)

On June 6, the Saddle Horse industry lost one of its long-time and most loved trainers in Bib Jones. Jones grew up in Piney Flats,
Tenn., loving and showing horses as a young child with her family.

Her professional career began as the first lady hired as a groom by Redd Crabtree, Crabtree Farms,
Simpsonville, Ky. Crabtree will be the first to tell you that in his long association with Jones, she was probably the most dependable employee he ever knew. During her tenure at Crabtree’s, she was responsible for taking care of some of the greatest horses ever showing, including World Grand Champion Cora’s Time, World Champion Summer Melody, World Champion Popular Time and many others.

Upon leaving Crabtree’s, she moved to Missouri to work for a period of time for Betty Weldon at Callaway’s Hills Farm. During that time she worked with the breeding program and this prestigious farm’s World Grand Champion Will Shriver. She also broke and trained many of Mrs. Weldon’s colts that went on to be champions in their own right.

Upon leaving Missouri, Jones began her own operation in Evansville, Ind. Two if her customer who went on to make history in the Saddlebred industry were the Stephens and Chancellor families. Two of the horses Jones loved were the Odds Maker and Bonheir’s Entertainer, both shown successfully by Sherri Stephens. Bonheir’s Entertainer went on in later life to be the dam of New York Entertainer, Viola Madden and Holy Fruit Salad.

In the mid-1980s, Victoria MacDonald, MacDonald Farm, Lawrenceville, Ga., decided to open the breeding of her stallions Time Willing, sire of World Champion A Step Of Time, and The New York Times, sire of World Champion Wall Street Week, World Champion Best Of Times, World Champion Kiwi and World Champion Times Best, to the public. It was at this time that Jones came to work for MacDonald as breeding manager and trainer of her young stock.

It was also during this time that the Breeders’ Association voted to permit transported semen and The New York Times bred mares for owners from across the entire United States. Many of these get went on to become champions of their own. To mention a few: World Champion Clark Gable, World Champion The L.A. Times, Reserve World Champion Comic Strip, Coconut Grove, Fit To Print, World Champion Sarah Katherine, World Champion New York Rebel, World Champion That’s My Story, Princess Stephanie and World Champion Undulata’s Time To Shine. As a matter of fact, one year in the 1990s horses bred by either Times Best or The New York Times won one class after another at the World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville. All of this was attributed to the fine job Jones did with the breeding operation at MacDonald Farm.

Upon the untimely death of The New York Times, Jones moved to Madison, Ga., as assistant trainer under Redd Crabtree at Dupree Farms. She assisted Crabtree in preparing, training and showing the many Dupree champions and had the thrill of being present when Zovoorbij Commander In Chief was crowned the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion with Redd Crabtree in the irons.

When Dupree Farms decided to cease operations, Jones went to work for Kalarama Farms in Springfield, Ky., where she assisted trainer Larry Hodge and owner Joan Hamilton with many of the champions showing under their colors. In speaking of Jones, Joan Hamilton said, “Bib was a woman of many talents and a great asset to any horseman. Whether she was asked to jog a horse or drive a horse trailer, Bib was ready and willing to do the job and she did it well.”

Jones spent the remaining period of her life back in Georgia where she worked for Sam Webster, who had purchased Zovoorbij Commander In Chief. She was his breeding manager and trainer for some of his young stock once again at MacDonald Farm.

In early 2005, Vickie MacDonald sold her farm in Lawrenceville, Ga., and relocated to her dream farm; a 160-acre farm in Ila, Ga., and once again Jones was employed by MacDonald to help her restart her operation in Ila. It was shortly thereafter that Jones was diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2005, but not before she purchased a lovely home in the town of Jefferson, Ga., where she resided with her husband, Eduardo Lopez and 15-year-old son, David Jones.

Jones will be remembered for many things. Although she was somewhat quiet, she had a winsome personality and as far as we know she did not have an enemy in the world. Everyone who met her loved and respected her for who she was and her dependability.

She had the ability of taking a rider to a show who was about to have a nervous breakdown and in her quiet way get that rider in and out of the ring and most of the time in the ribbons. She was extremely talented in working with young stock and was known for her patience. She was a devoted wife and mother, as well as her many animals and friends.

Another of the greatest horses Jones was associated with was Times Best. MacDonald sold him to Sam Webster as a two-year-old. Jones broke him and he was sent to Redd Crabtree for finishing. Jones had the thrill of being named Reserve World’s Champion in the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding Stake at Louisville in 1992. Shortly before Jones’ death, Times Best passed away in late May. One of her many friends mentioned that Times Best was probably waiting at the entrance gate for Jones to welcome her home.

Jones is survived by her husband Eduardo Lopez, son David Jones, mother Pauline Jones of Piney Flats, Tenn., and brother Robert Jones of Washington D.C.

A trust fund has been set up in David’s name. Jones, in her unassuming way, asked for a small graveside burial in her hometown with no flowers. As the Apostle Paul said, she fought the good fight, she ran the race and she finished the course. Contributions may be sent to her son’s trust at: The David Robert Jones Trust, 1266 New Hampshire Way N.W., Washington D.C. 20036.

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