Long before Davy Jones became a Monkee, he was a horseman.
It was in the company of racehorses that he sought to make a career as a young jockey. Until, that is, his trainer lovingly kicked him out of the racing stables for his own good, with the admonishment that he shouldn’t have to be picking up after horses his whole life, says Jones’ daughter Jessica Cramer Jones.
“My father was a broken boy when he first discovered horses,” Jones says in a telephone interview with Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com. “He was 12 when he lost his mother, and he turned to horses in his grief. They are what gave him his confidence back … horses kept him together his whole life.”
In a similar way, horses pulled together Jones’ four daughters, his friends, family, and so many fans of the 60’s era pop group, after the 66-year-old entertainer died suddenly and unexpectedly last February.
“The horses were his family,” Jones explains. “And when my father passed away, there was a resounding grief that everyone felt because it was so unexpected. There was a huge shock amongst everybody in the family, and the first words on everybody’s lips were, ‘Oh my God,’ and then the second thing we said was, ‘What are we going to do about the horses?’ ”
A month after Jones’ death in February, Jones and her sisters organized a benefit concert at BB King’s in New York City, where former members of The Monkees and other celebrities raised money for the fallen singer’s herd of 15.
Setting aside their grief, the daughters used the proceeds raised at the concert to carefully transport the horses, some in their 20s, others with physical issues, from Florida to California and establish the The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation.
Situated near two California-based daughters, the sanctuary was created to keep safe what his father held so dear, explains Jones, of England.
In the nearly two years since Jones’ death, the foundation and its horses have reaped astounding support from fans, who have generously donated to their support and have even created fan clubs for individual horses.
These clubs are comprised of between 10 and 20 people who help support the animal on a monthly basis, she says, noting that the fans have been “incredible.”
“My father wasn’t one of these celebrities who hides behind sunglasses and a cap. He was accessible. And he was kind to people,” she says. “Now that kindness has come back to us, to help his horses.”
The plan is to keep the horses with the Davy Jones Foundation—most can’t be ridden or are not suitable to be re-homed, she says, and to let the herd who meant so much to a young horseman from Britain live their lives out in happy contentment.
This is how Davy Jones would have wanted it.
The animals who kept him grounded throughout his life, who made him “feel human” after grueling months of travel and entertaining are now living out their lives “just being horses.”