Facility Manager & Thoroughbred Trainer
Appendix “Sierra” leading Lava Man to the track
Melissa grew up competing in Hunter/Jumpers in Houston, Texas, while always harboring the dream of becoming a jockey. From there, she went on to get her B.S. in Equine Sports Therapy from Midway College in 2005. During college, she competed on the Intercollegiate riding team until she found her way to the racetrack. Melissa began galloping racehorses in 2002 and upon completion of her degree program, proceeded to travel the racing circuit around the US.
Melissa decided she was better suited nurturing the horse’s progress in their daily training rather than riding them in races. She was fortunate to ride for some of the top trainers and farms in the country, also becoming familiar with managing and rehabilitating injuries while practicing sports therapy. Now she has transitioned from the gypsy lifestyle of the racetrack and has settled in Kentucky, where she has begun helping the horses at New Vocations make the same transition in to their new lives.
Melissa purchased her appendix mare, Sierra, in 1996 as a green broke 2 year old and they are still together 18 years later. They progressed from baby green to low junior hunters before heading off to college together. Once Melissa began galloping racehorses, Sierra became a pleasure horse and traveled the country with Melissa, occasionally “earning her keep” as one of the few mares to pony racehorses on the track. One of whom was Lava Man, earner of $5.35 million in his career. Now, she is still living the good life here in Kentucky, trail riding and occasionally foxhunting.