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Liz and Simply Magic 2008

Between the two of them, John and Liz have a lifetime of experiences with horses.

Liz was born in Cheyenne, WY.  Her father, Jay Bliss was a rancher who homesteaded his ranch in the early 1900’s.  Jay raised and trained horses for the Calvary in his youth and cattle as he neared retirement.  Horses played an integral part of Jay’s life.  Instilling a love and appreciation for horses in his daughter, Liz, he purchased her first pony, Yankee Doodle, when she was 2 years old.  Beginning with Yankee, Liz has owned and lived with horses most of her life.  Liz and her husband, John have lived at Jake's Flat,  small farm in the foothills of North Carolina with their horses for more than 30 years.                

Liz is a professional educator and a Licensed Professional Counselor.  Liz has taught in the public schools since 1984 in a variety of positions.  Beginning as a vocational teacher, Liz was able to learn the value of experiential learning.  Later in her career, Liz worked with mothers and small children, teaching parenting, child development, and vocational skills while developing services necessary for these young parents to complete their education while raising their families.         
 In 2000 Liz began to work specifically with students who have developmental delays and other disabilities as an Special Education Teacher.  She is interested in multiple intelligences and the use of experiential learning as a modality with her students.          

In 2000, Liz began work on a Master of Arts in Counseling at Appalachian State University, specializing in addressing special needs such as autism and developmental delays.  While completing this degree, Liz became interested in animal assisted therapy especially the use of horses. In 2004 she became certified by EAGALA as a mental health professional or horse specialist. Liz completed her degree in counseling in 2004, along with licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).  In 2008, Liz achieved National Board Certification in Special Education.(NBCT) Liz continues to explore and experience this exciting field on both a professional and personal level on a daily basis.

Although Liz has provided  psychotherapy in the traditional office setting,she particularly enjoyed working with clients using horses whether the modality is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy or Equine Assisted Learning (EAGALA).  

 As a life long rider, Liz learned practical riding skills as a child from her father and "the school of hard knocks".  She spent much of her childhood and adolescence in the fields and woods near Valle Crucis, North Carolina riding and playing with horses and ponies on the trails and back roads.  It's hard to beat experience for a teacher.  As an adult she began to hone her riding skills with more formal instruction and research after she purchased Galace Araby, her first Arabian gelding in 1990.  She learned a great deal about the finer points of horsemanship from  him and Heidi Congdon-Stubbs who also trained ARK Firecon and Venture's Legend.  Since that time, Liz has continued to improve her personal skills as well as develop skill as an instructor, pairing her educator training and love of horses.  

Liz is active in the community  acting as the Executive Director for Carolina HoofPrints.

John grew up Caldwell County, North Carolina.  His father worked in the logging camps driving the draft teams who pulled logs into the mill.  Later in his life as he raised his family he owned saddle horses and birddogs.  John hunted with his father, rode and helped to care for his horses as youngster.