Suzanne Norton Jones Dies
American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member Suzanne Norton Jones, 91, died December 5.
December 6, 2015
The American Quarter Horse Association
American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member Suzanne Norton Jones, 91, died December 5, 2015.
Services will be at 1:30 p.m. December 14 at the New Mexico Military Chapel in Roswell, New Mexico.
Jones was involved in nearly every aspect of the horse industry, from breeding to showing to riding in international competition and more. Her most recent competition was at the 2014 Adequan Select World Championship Show, where she was honored as the Nutrena Senior Athlete.
Jones 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.
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.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Chapel, P.O. Box 449, Ruidoso Downs NM 88346 or to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, P.O. Box 32111, Amarillo TX 79120.