Melissa Heres of Aragon, Georgia has been selected by the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) as their nominee to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) for their USEF Youth Sportsman’s Award.
This award focuses on identifying potential leaders in the equine industry from all breeds and disciplines. This is an opportunity for USEF to give back to outstanding youth members and recognize them for their achievements. Applicants must be active members of both USEF and their Recognized National Affiliate. They must demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the promotion of equestrian sports, serve as a positive role model for their peers, and exhibit characteristics that exemplify positive sportsmanship principles.
Melissa is currently a senior at Rome High School and member of the National Honor Society. Melissa lived in Germany the first seven years of her life and was riding Saddlebreds with her mother (Lisa Rosenberger Jones) before she could walk. She moved to the United States at age 8 and continued riding at her mother’s training facility, Creekside Farm in Rome, Georgia. She has had a successful show career beginning with Academy, to Walk and Trot, and now Juvenile Five-Gaited at major shows including the World’s Championship Horse Show. Melissa trained her five-gaited horse, Highland's Surprise, who is now 25 to be a Hunter. She and "Surprise" have become a very successful team on both the Saddlebred and Hunter circuits. Surprise has been showing successfully over fences now for five years and has been “High Point Hunter” for 3’3 and 3’6 in the Rivermont Series. They recently competed in the 2014 St. Louis Charity Horse Show in the Saddle & Bridle Hunter Classic Finals where they finished fourth and were named Reserve Champions in the first ever Saddle & Bridle Working Hunter Classic Finals. Her newest mount is the former Junior Five-Gaited World's Champion, CH It’s All About Me. They successfully ribboned at this year’s 2014 World's Championship Horse Show in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Pleasure division.
Melissa is very active in different equestrian organizations and has worked hard to achieve some of the industry’s most distinguished awards. She is a lifetime member of ASHA, a longtime USEF member, and has been a USEF High School Athlete her entire high school career. In 2013, she received both the prestigious ASHA Frank Ogletree Award and the Dewey Henderson Youth Scholarship Award. She earned The American Saddlebred Horse Association of Georgia's Pride of Georgia Award in both 2012 and 2013. In 2011, she received the UPHA Chapter 17 Junior Exhibitor Sportsmanship Award.
Melissa Heres has been devoted to horses her entire life and used her dedication and talent to promote the versatility of the American Saddlebred. She dared to be different and was a trailblazer marrying two disciplines within our breed. She is a great role model to all her peers and exhibits excellent sportsmanship. The ASHA is proud to submit Melissa as their nomination for this award.