Abby Ankles and Brian Jones were just two among many who spent their winter months in Wellington due to their passion and love for horses. Little did they know that their time at the winter horse show circuit would result in finding their soulmate.
Originally from South Florida, Abby started showing at a young age. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, she wasn’t sure of the career path she wanted to take. She wanted to stay in South Florida because of her devotion to riding and the equestrian community. She began her career through a friend for a commercial property appraising company in Fort Lauderdale.
Brian, on the other hand, started his horse show career after high school when he received a call from his aunt and uncle in Dallas asking him to house sit. His aunt managed horse shows in Texas. From that point forward, his horse career took off. Since then, he has judged the jumpers, was an announcer and ran multiple ingates. His knowledge and expertise grew under the guidance of Brandon King. He moved to the Kentucky circuit as well as the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.
Fast forward to 11 years ago. Abby was watching a horse show in the pre-greens with her trainer and her dog Poker. Brian happened to be walking by and saw a familiar face. Abby and Brian had crossed paths before through mutual friends but never got to know each other. Brian noticed that Abby had her dog on her lap. “Does your dog bite?” he asked. To which Abby responded, “Yes.” Poker’s affinity for biting did not deter Brian when, later that day, a mutual equestrian-lover friend officially introduced them. That evening they started talking, exchanged numbers and started dating.
Since the horse show circuit requires a lot of traveling, Brian was constantly on the road bouncing from one horse show circuit to the next, while Abby was stationed in Palm Beach working for the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser.
“Thankfully when I would visit Brian at a horse show, I could see the two things that I love the most: my boyfriend and horses,” said Abby.
Tying the Knot
After a year and a half of dating, they were ready to tie the knot. It only seemed fitting that Brian would propose in the county where it all began, Palm Beach. “I had gotten the ring from Abby’s mother to propose to her. It had been passed down for generations,” said Brian. A few holidays had passed and her mom was getting a little nervous because he hadn’t told her when he was going to propose and would ask him every holiday if he did. “I kept saying, ‘No, no, no, you will know when.’”
It was a brisk night in Palm Beach when the two decided to dine out in an old favorite sushi restaurant. “We aren’t big ocean people but after dinner I invited her to take a drive to the beach to take a walk,” said Brian. She was a little taken aback but agreed to the activity. As they were walking on the beach, while Abby’s back was turned, Brian pulled out the ring and was down on one knee.
“The first thing Abby said after I proposed was, ‘Did you ask my mom?’ I said, well of course I asked your mom, where do you think I got the ring from?”
Abby said yes and on their ride home, she was calling everyone in the car to tell them the story. The two were married on December 1, 2007, at The Colony in Palm Beach and are now living their happily ever after.
“I worked in property appraising and right after Brian and I got married, I started working the horse shows with Brian so that we could be together all of the time,” said Abby. “He was able to get me jobs doing ribbons or helping out in different ways at the horse show but I found myself with a lot of free time and felt like I could do more.”
A good friend of the Joneses introduced Abby to the franchise owners of the Sotheby’s in Wellington, who asked Abby to join their team. “I had never done anything with the sales part of real estate but they connected with a lot of people buying and selling real estate in Wellington,” said Abby. “From there, it grew.”
Kentucky to Wellington
Once Abby joined the real estate circle, Brian couldn’t bear to be working without his best friend. After Brian received his real estate license, the two started to divide their time between the two major horse capitals of the world: Kentucky and Wellington, working with Sotheby’s. They’ve become a powerful duo in the real estate arena, specifically within the equestrian community niche.
“We balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to work as a great team,” said Abby. “He’s really good working outside of the box and I’m very comfortable in the horse world with the horse properties in the Wellington and Lexington markets.”
From their first meeting to their profession as a team, Abby and Brian’s lives have been guided by their passion for horses. While the limits are endless for the equestrian power couple, one thing is certain: They’ll continue to share that love with — and for — each other.