By Jan Westmark
When Jennifer Glass hands out ribbons at shows, her smile is as big as the riders’ receiving their awards. “I have the best job at the horse show,” she said. “I love the smiles of the riders when they’re accepting their ribbons.” While Jen is primarily the awards and sponsor relations director at horse shows, she wears different hats at shows throughout the country including Capital Challenge, the Vermont Summer Festival, Washington International, Pin Oak, Saratoga, the Winter Equestrian Festival and the USHJA National Championships. Jen is married to Billy Glass, a successful horse show manager who founded Capital Challenge with Oliver Kennedy. Jen met Billy at Howard Community College, where she worked and produced the Columbia Classic Grand Prix with Oliver. Jen married Billy in November 1998, graduated with an MBA from the University of Baltimore and moved to Florida where her first job on the road with Billy was ribbon girl at HITS Ocala. She’s been on the road and in the show ring ever since. In addition to her life in the show world, Jen has an equally interesting life as a competitive tournament fisherman.
How did your horse career start?
I grew up in Catonsville, Maryland, “small town USA.” When I was 10, I had a Quarter Horse named Lady McCue. My dad and my uncles built her a barn at our five-acre home and I took lessons and did a lot of trail riding.
What’s your favorite thing about being part of the horse world?
I love the production side of the shows. Horse show personnel travel to hundreds of different shows throughout the year. It’s always fun to reconnect with fellow staff and work as a team to produce the best shows.
Any favorite horse show experiences over the years?
I love judging the lead line class at Vermont Summer Festival. The children are precious and I love the answers they give during the Q&A part of the class. They steal my heart.
If you weren’t involved with the horse world, what career do you think you would have picked?
I would have chosen the travel industry. I love to see the world.
If you had a week off, what would you do?
Travel to some far-flung country and enjoy its most beautiful beach
Who inspires you?
Strong, intelligent, professional women — my mom, Susan Goodwin, a practicing nurse for 52 years; Ellen Veitch, who taught me everything I know about the horse show business; Vicki Lowell, Tracey Weinberg, Kim Tudor, Adele Einhorn, Brett Waters, Sue Harada, Michele Markward and Val Garza.
Where do you live in Florida?
Billy and I have lived on Pine Island for the past 22 years. It’s a beautiful old Florida island with palm tree farms and commercial fishing. We have wonderful friends who are third- and fourth-generation commercial fishermen raised on the island whom we consider family. A few of our horse show friends who have visited us over the years have moved there too.
What type of competitive tournament fishing do you do?
We fish inshore tournaments for snook, redfish, trout and tarpon. It’s thrilling to pull up to the weigh station with our fish in hopes of winning the tournament. Billy and I won a tournament and received a 17’ Hewes Redfisher boat as grand prize.
How do fishing tournaments compare to horse shows?
I really enjoy experiencing event production. When I’m at fishing tournaments, I’m interested in seeing how the event coordinators produce the tournaments.
What is your happy place?
I go to the beach as often as I can when I’m not on the road or working on the horse shows. It gives me solace and brings me back to the salt water.
What talents do you feel you have?
I think I’m a great listener, confidant and friend.
Do you have a personal motto or catch phrase?
I’ve been called a Swiss Army knife with a smile: always prepared and always happy.
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
A bikini – it means I’m on a beach
What three items can usually be found in your refrigerator?
Wine, cheese and yogurt
What’s your favorite meal?
Favorite type of pizza?
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
The power to cure cancer and disease
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
How would you like people to remember you?
As a kind girl with a huge heart