Melissa's equestrian background began in South Africa where she started riding at a young age. She soon began competing in dressage, show jumping, eventing and working equitation. 

Along the way she discovered her passion for teaching....

Lessons & Coaching

Melissa works with students including adults, returning riders, active competitors, college age students, those riding for trail and pleasure, first time students, and younger riders.

Lessons are located between Centreville and Front Royal VA, and scheduled based on availability. Please contact Melissa to discuss your individual interests.


“I started lessons with Melissa 10 years ago because I liked how she taught jumping both in the arena and cross-country.  She is very positive and supportive, with a knack for knowing when to push you harder.  Her flat lessons include a lot of theory which helps you when practicing on your own.  And she's been great helping me learn to relax and be confident so my new OTTB can learn to be the same!"

-J. Whited

"Melissa has been working with me and my rescue TWH since he arrived at the barn two years ago. She wisely began with basics that work with every discipline and the success we have experienced continues to be apparent as we head to the Working Equitation realm."


~ M. Small


"I got a new mare and began working with Melissa to help me switch from hunter/jumpers to dressage and working equitation. Melissa's coaching was invaluable at every stage, from finding a good saddle (after many tries), to improving my groundwork and confidence with a young horse. She designs wonderful obstacles and exercises that put our focus exactly where it needs to be."

- J. Masterson
"I work with Melissa Smith on horsemanship for mounted archery. She has been a great teacher; very patient. And she always has another way to explain something if I don't get it the first time. I'm an adult student with some physical limitations; I was a bit nervous about taking lessons, but Ms. Smith has been very careful to adapt the training to my limits."

- M. Wallace

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Melissa Smith:

SmartAlex Equestrian