Featured Pro: Jennifer Bliss - Harris Hill Farm
Featured Pro: Jennifer Bliss - Harris Hill Farm
The bright lights looming over the large natural fences set in the Rolex Arena kindle the electric atmosphere of the final round of the 2014 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships. The presence of the top professional hunter riders and horses in the U.S., including Liza Boyd, Jen Alfano and John French enhance the intensity. For most young professionals this scene would be intimidating, but not for Jennifer Bliss. Her demeanor is calm and collected and reflects the name of her second year green horse that she is piloting, Poker Face. She lays down a confident and smooth round to finish with a coveted spot in the top ten of this elite set of competitors.
Jennifer and Poker Face competing in the first round at the 2014 International Hunter Derby Finals. Photo Credit: Shawn McMillen
FROM THE GROUND UP
The confidence Ms. Bliss radiated at the Hunter Derby Finals is totally authentic. Incredibly humble, her personality is a reflection of her hands on experience that has made her a horsewoman in the purest sense. One of the first notable accomplishments Jennifer accrued occurred in 1999 when she was awarded both Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion at the Pony Finals riding the Medium Pony Champion, Believe In Magic, and the Large Pony Champion, Hillcrest Blue Wishes. This was important because it was the first time a rider had ever earned both the Grand and Reserve Grand in the same year. Explains Bliss, “Those were both ponies that I purchased as green ponies and made them up to be top contenders. That is just how I did it growing up, and it really sparked my love for developing young hunters. I kept my horses at home, did everything myself with the help of my mother, who had a pretty big hunter/jumper career before having kids. I met my trainers at shows.”
Jennifer and her mother, Robin Berol Bliss, with the Grand and Reserve Champion at Pony Finals 1999
As Jennifer stepped up to the junior hunter division, she garnered many championships at the most prestigious shows in the Northeast and catch rode for top professionals including Scott Stewart, Tim Goguen, Tom Wright, and Charlie Weaver. Additionally, she honed her forward riding skills with the legendary Missy Clark who coached her to multiple top finishes at the indoor equitation finals. In 2006, the Chronicle of the Horse documented Jennifer’s assessment of these classes. Bliss commented, “The finals provide an opportunity to learn how to deal with pressure and focus within an intense environment. In the end, the skills gained from the process are so much more valuable than the ribbons themselves. These are essential tools, not only in the show ring but also in all walks of life.” Over 8 years later, her solid principles remain the same.
Small Junior Hunter Circuit Champion at WEF in 2001
PERFECTION THROUGH PARTNERSHIP
Harris Hill Farm, llc was established in 2008 and is based out of Westchester County, New York and Wellington, Florida. In a relatively short time, it has evolved into one of the finest full service boutique barns with a reputation for developing exceptional young hunters for the show ring. Jennifer and her fiancé, Deywi Rodriguez, work in complete tandem to ensure that the care and development of each horse in their program is held to the utmost standards. While Deywi concentrates on the intricacies of stable management, Jennifer focuses on training and riding. Additionally, she has sought to finite her teaching skills and in 2011 she earned her USHJA trainer certification. The team has currently expanded their operation to not only develop young prospects and promote developed hunters for sale, but also to assist junior and amateur riders of all levels achieve their goals.
Deywi and Jennifer “commuting” to work
2014 was an impressive year for Harris Hill as the farm earned many top placings, starting at WEF and lasting through the indoor season. The pinnacle was Jennifer being named the WCHR Developing Pro National Champion. Methodic and realistic in planning, the team is focused on continuing to build on last year’s accolades. Jennifer explains, “ …the WCHR Hunter Spectacular class that takes place WCHR week at WEF is an important class that I think a lot of hunter riders gear their winter around. I look forward to competing in this class in February.” You can follow Jennifer as she documents the trials and triumphs of Harris Hill as it travels to the pinnacle of show hunter competitions, including WEF, in her regular Chronicle of the Horse blog column.
Jennifer and Deywi during the WCHR Developing Pro National Champion Presentation 2014 at Capital Challenge. . Photo Credit: Shawn McMillen
Jennifer and Poker Face, High Score Developing Professional Award during WCHR week in Palm Beach- February 2014 (photo credit: Lexey Hall)
For contact information, program overview and current horses offered for your consideration, please visit the HARRIS HILL PROEQUEST PROFILE.