Call or Text Melissa at +1.865.603.4846

Melissa McKenzie - Head Trainer

Melissa McKenzie is a USDF Bronze Medalist, Centered Riding Instructor, and Graduate of Otterbein University with a B.A. in Equine Facility Management. She is a long-time student of classical dressage, and counts JJ Tate as her most influential instructor and personal mentor. Melissa offers dressage instruction with a focus on the classical seat and an effective, centered position for riders of all levels. She offers comprehensive dressage training for horses and ponies of all breeds, ages, and levels; from the correct development of youngsters as they are started under saddle, to working with "problem" horses and re-training horses from other disciplines through the FEI levels of dressage. At Runaway Farms, Melissa can meet you and your horse where you are, and help you get to where you want to be!


Melissa is a huge believer in continuing education, and works closely with her mentor in classical dressage, JJ Tate, on yearly training trips. She has participated in clinics with such notables as Jeremy Steinberg, Charles De Kunffy, Michael Barisone, Jim Koford, Scott Hassler, Debbie Hill, Gigi Nutter, Julio Mendoza, Janet Foy, Yvonne Barteau, and many others. Although her primary goal always remains the correct and classical training of the dressage horse, Melissa has had plenty of show-ring successes with horses she has trained or re-trained for dressage. From a FHANA Reserve World Championship in 2013, to a 9th place finish at the huge and highly competitive 2014 Region 2 Regional Championships, a American Quarter Pony Breed Championship at the 2014 Pony Cup, to earning her USDF Bronze Medal in 2015, Melissa is an accomplished competitor who understands both the training and competition aspects of modern dressage.


Whether your goals include showing, or just learning to correctly work with and enjoy a harmonious partnership with your horse, Melissa McKenzie can help you reach your goals!