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UPHA Helen Crabtree Equitation Instructor of the Year – Liz McBride Jones


Editor's Note: The following speech was read by Sarah Byers, Friday, Jan. 6, 2006 at the UPHA/AHHS Convention in St. Louis, Mo.

I am particularly honored tonight to present the Helen Crabtree Equitation Instructor of the Year Award. First, because I think our honoree is the epitome of the type of person the award was meant for, and secondly, because I know Mrs. Crabtree would be so pleased because our honoree tonight is a “Crabtree girl.”

Liz McBride Jones began riding at the Rock Creek Riding Club in Louisville, Ky., at the age of six with Jim B. Robertson and Jack Nevitt. Jimmy says Liz was his first girlfriend, probably explains why at the age of eight, Liz began riding with Helen Crabtree.

That same year, Liz won the 8 and Under Open Equitation World Championship aboard Treasure Hunt. For all those who argue with me that kids today are just too tiny to canter, this tiny eight-year-old cantered to that first World's Championship.

Liz had great success as a Crabtree rider, showing both pleasure and equitation throughout her juvenile years to numerous world's championships.

Liz began a love of teaching at the Blue Star Riding Camp in Irvington, Ky. where she spent summers as both a camper and a counselor, and made lifelong friends like Barby Templeton Thorton and Jerri Lynn Holdran Monroe.

Liz graduated from William Woods College where she was an outstanding student in the Equitation Studies Department. Surprisingly, the one incident Gayle Lampe remembers most about Liz being at William Woods was one day when Gayle walked into the barn proudly wearing a new pair of purple shoes. Unlike most students who were a little intimidated by Ms. Lampe, Liz walked right up to her and told Ms. Lampe those were the ugliest shoes she's ever seen. No one ever said Liz isn't opinionated!

In Liz's defense, Gayle admitted that at Louisville that same year, Jane Bennett stole those same shoes and threw them in the bushes in center ring!

Liz has been a teacher at three different colleges. She taught at Morehead State University for four years, where she brought Saddle Horses and saddle seat to the forefront of the University's program. Liz also spent four years teaching at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., where she mentored such students and future teachers as Ellen Beard, Renae van Zomeren, Kelly Hulse, Joy Lazarus, Paula Jo Briney, Mindy Partee and Marjorie Judd. In Fayetteville, N.C., Liz established the Equine Management and Horsemanship program for Methodist College.

Liz has meant so much to all of us who have had the opportunity to work with her. In addition to Rob and myself, others include Frank and Nancy McConnell, Marilyn Macfarlane, Cecile Hetzel-Dunn, Martha Murdock, and Raymond and Lillian Shively. Lillian said Liz's attention to detail is one thing she appreciated so much about Liz and that without Liz's help we might not have the Shively MMX Saddle today!

Liz was an integral part of the DeLovely family, helping coach such great riders as Erin Swope, Susan Cole, and Kate Nichols to world and national titles.    


Liz might still be at DeLovely today if Raymond hadn't wanted a new barn. A handsome young barn builder named Ron Jones from North Carolina was hired to do the job. Raymond got a beautiful barn, but lost his best sports buddy! North Carolina gained a treasure.

Named after the Randy Travis song, “Forever,” Forever Farm began as a dream sketched on a napkin over dinner. Ron built the barn from the sketch, and the dream became a reality in Raeford, N.C.

Liz has trained and instructed world and national champion riders in Saddle Horses, Morgans, Arabians, and National Show Horses.

I hesitate to mention riders or horses for fear of omission, but a few of Liz's riders are Nancy Orscheln, Ashley and Heather Thompson, Sarah-Ann Howell, Katie McNeil, Sarah Dees, Jane and Patricia McLaurin, Brenda Pulis, Laura Byrd, Emma Nichols, and Allison Gann.

Liz is also known for her training and care of some great horses. Among them are, Glenbrook's Rare Penny, Champagne's Call Girl, Supreme Roman, Fashionaire, Epcot Center, Royal Gigi, Great Day's Token, Texas Fiesta, Cajun Magic, Spirited Wing, and What A Memory.

When word got out about Liz winning this award, I received so many e-mails from her riders, both former and present, and her friends and colleagues that my computer literally crashed. Thanks to you Liz, I got a new Dell computer from Santa last week.

I received so many beautiful sentiments that I couldn't possibly include in this speech that I've started you a book I know you'll enjoy reading.

The overall sentiment is, Liz, you have and continue to touch so many lives through your teaching. For all of us who have had the opportunity to work with you, ride with you, or just be your friend, we are all better people because of you. Eight-year-old Allison Gann may have said it best, “I love her and can't imagine my life without her!”

You have some special people who have come to be with you tonight and I'd like to ask them to come up and join me in this presentation of the Helen Crabtree Instructors Award to a true “Crabtree girl”- Liz McBride Jones.

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