Melissa began riding at the age of 12 going on 13. She was instantly in love with the craft and wanted to do more than just ride. As years went by she lost chances to possibly own her own horse a couple times, once where she was supposed to lease a horse she had worked with for a year. The horse was sold right before she could own her, she was devastated, through training and hard work she truly believed the horse was hers. The next horse that she was supposed to lease to own deal ended up having to be put down due to an emergency vet reason. Again, she was devastated, for a while she gave up hope of finding true horse love. Her first and favorite trainer moved out of town, to far for her to visit. Melissa felt as though she was losing hope in the horse world, that's when her family made the deicision to move down to Punta Gorda Florida in 2011 and she never looked back. That year was when she she finally bought the horse of her dreams, Foxy, our mascot. A gentle motherly type she definitely needed some TLC, Melissa took kindly to that and began pampering and grooming the mare to perfection.
Foxy then ended up having a back injury that set training back to the utter beginning. Melissa had to start from scratch, from beginning of trot without bucks all the way back up to what she was hoping for, jumping. That year was hard, not only being forced to having all the training done by herself she also had constant comments of others trying to convince her to just sell her beloved mare and buy a new horse. Melissa wouldn't give up, she knew there was a way to get Foxy back to the way she was before, pure determination. In the summer of 2012was when FTFEC first opened its doors as the formerlly named Quart Horse Hearts. It was a success, proper training and her passion of mentoring kids she began growing her very own businss! Although it was small she was content with the clientell she had.
However by the spring of 2013 Melissa felt the need to continue to grow in herself as a rider, not jsut for herself but for her students as well. She made the painful decision to temporarily shut down QHH to train herself and her horse. In the spring of 2014 She moved her and her horse up to the orlando Florida area where she hoped to get some real training done. Unfortunately the beginning was rough, she met people that she thought had the best interest in her and Foxy. In turn her horse had become pregnant and during the first four months she had come to find out that her horse had been starved! She was heart broken, this mare that had trusted her was being starved by the boarding facility she boarded at. Melissa felt so guilty, blaming herself, telling herself she should have noticed something, anything. She was out there everyday, so much so that she never noticed the weight loss.
Melissa packed up her horse immediatly and took her to a ranch named Dunleo who took her in and began training her as a barnhand/groomer. Some after a while called her the barn manager, Melissa however, didn't see it that way. She was there to learn and to provide for her horse. By the end of the summer of 2014 Melissa got the all clear from the vet to begin riding and training again. Happy and healthy now, in March of 2015 Foxy gives birth to a healthy baby girl who Melissa named Leona. Leona wasn't the first name she would've picked, however something just spoke to her, telling her this foal's name was Leona. She then realized the reason for this, the woman who took her and her horse in, Jessica June owner of Dunleo, had lost her beloved champion gelding Leonardo in the year 2004! Melissa realized then she named the foal after the gelding as a thanks for everything she's done for her. She wants Leona to grow up and become a champion jumper like Leonardo and as her name is Leona she also gave her the show name. "Leona's own Legacy." In the beginning of the summer of 2015 Melissa, with the training under her belt she needed, moved back to Punta Gorda Florida where she now resides. She opened back up her doors to be known as Fox Trot Farms Equestrian Center to be a place where all alike can train and pursue the understanding of horses.