Champion trainers use their love of horses to benefit others

October 04, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO - On a recent, hot, fall afternoon, David and Charleen Jones were out in the barn checking on more than a dozen horses ? some their own and others belonging to their boarders.

It's a job they do and enjoy every day.

"This is a boarding business," Charleen Jones said of their 35-acre farm. "We've been here since 1978."

In earlier years, the couple spent a lot of time showing their horses all over the country. And they have been quite successful in those endeavors.

A large display wall in the center of their huge horse barn is covered with plaques, ribbons and citations from those shows.

The Coppersmith was one of their most successful horses, and at the age of 29 still displays many of the qualities that made him a top competitor.


"In Alabama in 1985, The Coppersmith was world champion in the trail pleasure category," Charleen Jones said, noting she has owned him since he was 18 months old.

Tramp's Gypsy, a 28-year-old, has won several titles in national competitions. He has been David Jones' pride and joy for 26 years.

"We are founding members of the Tri-State Walking Horse Association," David Jones said. He teaches, demonstrates and judges.

Over the years, the Joneses have used the natural horsemanship technique of training horses. Some of their methods were learned from noted horse whisperers who replace traditional and often violent methods of "breaking" horses with calmer approaches involving trust and body language.

While the couple has cut back on showing horses, they have continued to be active in 4-H activities as well as with the Ranger Foundation, which provides homes and support for retired service horses.

They also are committed to several charities, including Breast Cancer Awareness. On Sept. 29, the Joneses helped organize a trail ride at Gettysburg National Battlefield in Pennsylvania. Riders solicited pledges ahead of time for the charity.

"This year, more than $20,000 was raised with more than 70 riders involved," Charleen Jones said Monday. "The money will be split between chapters in Maryland and Pennsylvania."

The idea came last year when Charleen Jones learned that one of her friends in Greencastle, Pa., had breast cancer and was organizing a trail ride to benefit the fight for a cure.

Last year, $10,400 was raised.

"We were high money-raisers last year," she said. The ride last year involved 72 riders in the Mont Alto, Pa., area.

Mark Miller, who works at Fort Detrick in Frederick, boards two horses with the Joneses. As of mid-September, Miller had raised more than $700 and was still taking in pledges.

Charleen Jones said she and her husband went into the business for the love of horses, admitting that it's certainly not for the money.

"I can't imagine life without our horses," she said.

David Jones said he grew up around horses and also would have a hard time doing anything else in his life.

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