Showing and Judging is Life to Beth Jones
Feb. 27, 2002
Manhattan, Kan. - Knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life is a gift and Beth Jones is lucky enough to recognize her gift.
"I would really love to show forever. I want to get my judging card from the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and judge professionally. There is just something about horses. They have always been fascinating to me," Jones said.
When asked about her hobbies outside the realm of horses she gave a shy giggle and explained that judging and riding horses is what she does and that is about it.
Jones, a transfer student from Lakeland College in Mattoon, Ill., works with horses at Kansas State University in two different aspects. She rides for the K-State western equestrian team and is an active member of the horse judging team. These two activities leave little time for other interests.
In the short time the junior has been a Wildcat, Jones has earned more than her fair share of points for the western equestrian team. She is third on the squad in points with 24 and has placed in one of the top five spots in six of the team's seven shows so far this season in intermediate horsemanship II. Although she has not been able to grab a first-place trophy, she has been a consistent placer with an average of 3.4 points per show.
"I came to K-State because of the equestrian team and the horse judging team," said Jones. A year and a half ago I came to visit and I knew Julie Wolf who is the Kansas State Horse Judging team coach. Her father had coached a horse judging team near where I grew up. Her coming to K-State was a deciding factor in me coming here. Being on the equestrian team just naturally fell into place."
Wolf is glad that Jones decided to come to Kansas State and participate on the horse judging team.
"I met her when she was a youth involved with 4H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). I spoke with her frequently at judging contests and coaxed her into coming to K-State. She is a very hard worker and we really enjoying having her around. She has been a real joy to have in class and she is very easy going," said Wolf.
Being a part of the K-State Judging team is not the first time that Jones has had the chance to judge horses.
"I had judged horses with 4H. I was on the state 4H team and we went to Congress," Jones explained. "K-State normally won or was up there at the top. My mom told me that is where I was going to go to school. I did not really have a choice, I knew that this is where I would end up."
Jones' love for horses began long before she even had her first horse. To get that first horse her grandmother had to step in and take action.
"My grandma did it. She told my dad, she is getting a horse and that is that. My dad was afraid we would come pulling it behind the car. So I think he finally realized that I was getting one regardless if he liked it or not," said Jones.
Jones' father, Gary, now takes care of the family's farm including their six horses and has begun to show horses at different events. Her mother, Brenda, has shown once before, but enjoys watching the horses being shown and encouraging her family in competitions.
Since getting that first horse, Jones family's love for horses has grown. The Jones family now buys, sells, and raises quarter horses for shows.
"Some we have brought and we have raised two," Jones commented. "With our show horses if we have one that we have raised that will work out, then we show that one. We have our own oats and hay and handle all of the daily tasks necessary to take care of them."
Showing her quarter horses in the summer time with AQHA is something Jones enjoys. One of her biggest accomplishments since then came this past summer at a show in Illinois.
"I got to ride the high-point two-year old gelding in the state of Illinois," Jones said with a proud smile on her face.
Although it is true that Jones has the true love and desire to show and work with horses for the rest of her life, this was not the way it started.
"In my high school, I judged in FFA and I hated it. I hated giving reasons for my scores. But I kept giving and judging and I started to like it," Jones said.
And after all that she has accomplished with horses, Jones cannot image doing anything different. She would like to earn her professional judging license through the AQHA once she has graduated and continue to ride and show horses for a living.