Raised in Francestown, New Hampshire on her family owned farm, Kingsbury Hill, Melissa developed a fearless love of riding from her mother a former 2* level event rider. Growing up living every little girls dream amongst the 35-plus school ponies, her family housed a girls riding camp and usea event for over 35 years. Ultimately Melissa organized the camp school program and managed the farms 40 horses. An avid Pony Clubber, Melissa began competing in USEA recognized events at the age of 11. She has competed to the Preliminary level of eventing with many wins along the way. Melissa had her first taste of Aiken in 2000, as a working student for her trainer, Suzi Gornall, an Advanced level event rider. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 2003 with a degree in Advertising she chose to pursue her dream of running a premiere, high-class facility that encompassed quality training, sales and lessons. Melissa has managed The Stable on The Woods a 26 stall facility in the heart of Aiken. Since 2005 Melissa has helped owner Mike Rubin over see daily organization and facility management. In addition to the teaching and training of clients and management of horses. In 2014 Melissa and husband Darrell purchased their own farm in Aiken to be able to further their business and upper level ambitions. The new business Vaughn Equestrian has helped expand their sales and import program.
Through her many years of horse experience, Melissa understands that in order for a horse to succeed at its job, it must receive impeccable care. Training young horses is a true passion as she allows them both the time and the care to excel in the competition world. Many of her sale horses have gone on to be very successful event and dressage horses. Melissa tailors her students programs to meet both the need of both horse and riders. Her students currently compete through the Preliminary level eventing and FEI PSG. .
Some of Her previous mounts include a homebred gelding, Multiplicity, whom she backed and trained herself to the Preliminary level. She also had success with her mare Nandina through Training level as well as at the prestigious Aiken Horse Show in the Woods. Nandina went on to be a successful junior jumper and prelim event horse.
A renewed passion for dressage found Melissa with the lovely Papillion, a horse given to her by Mike Rubin and Abbey Farmer. After a great introduction into upper level dressage, Papillion has returned to Ocala, Florida, to be retired. This prompted Melissa to search for a new partner. She found Kazio, an imported Danish Warmblood and brought him along from Prix St. George to Grand Prix.
Melissa purchased young horse, Standing Ovation, an imported 6 year old Trakehner gelding as a future FEI horse. Cole has done extremely well at 1st and 2nd level with scores in the 70′s and his elastic gaits have impressed many judges. Unfortunately due to colic surgery for a displaced colon the decision was made to sell him to a less demanding lower level home.
More recently Melissa has had the opportunity to have some lovely imported sale horses after partnering with a breeder in Belgium. These horses have ranged from young talented KWPN geldings to horses changing careers such as Zander who transitioned from Show Hunter to 4th level dressage horse in a year under Melissa's program. Currently Melissa has three PSG horses in the barn that she is competing and training and several other quality imports and client horses that will be for sale and campaigning in the spring 2016.