Melanie Rigdon, MNR Western Training (714) 864-8043
Western Trainer Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center
Melanie Rigdon began riding at age 4 when her family purchased their first horse, Ginny. She immediately began developing a real love for not only riding horses but in doing anything and everything associated with owning and caring for horses. Even at that young age, she was “all in” when it came to the myriad of duties associated with true horsemanship.
Melanie began showing in Western Pleasure at age 8 when her family purchased their second horse Lil Bit Sneaky, a Western Pleasure Show Horse, earning many championship titles in halter, equitation, pleasure, trail, and horsemanship classes until the age of 17. Horses remained her true passion and priority through her school years, which led to teaching lessons as her first job in high school. Aside from teaching lessons and schooling horses during the school year, on summer break she lived and worked on private ranches for Mary Behrens schooling horses, caring for livestock and assisting in minor property maintenance. After graduating from high school she began assisting western pleasure trainer Denise Schryer and within the 3 years of working with Denise, she began taking on her own clients to train for competition.
A new training path came Melanie’s way when the owner of an ex-racehorse was looking for help and solutions to the dangerous behavior the horse exhibited that essentially made the horse difficult to approach, let alone handle and ride. She chose to restart this horse with the consideration that it appeared vital this horse needed a new beginning. After 9 months of working with this horse, she found her niche in learning alongside this horse and creating new approaches, methods, and making the job fun. This horse eventually became a gentle lesson horse for her. This was the beginning of the journey that led her to where she is today.
Melanie enjoys working with any breed of horse, in any discipline, to help riders and their horse work through situations or experiences that have led to unsuitable partnerships or dangerous and unpleasant routines. With problem-solving and sensory training she is always learning and growing with her clients and enjoys finding what really works for each horse. She has been successful in turning around many horses with behavioral issues and seeing her clients and their horse(s) get a fresh start in a new partnership.
In 2014 the Huntington Beach Police Department started a Mounted Enforcement Unit (MEU) and selected Melanie as their trainer. She remains in that role today, training the police officers how to ride, and also works daily with the police horses training them in sensory situations that continue to benefit them when on duty.