About Us

Melissa with her horse Lacey

Melissa Givner grew up in the upper Ojai Valley on a 6-acre ranch.  It was the perfect environment for a young girl to begin her journey into the equine world.  Training horses was a passion Melissa’s mother, Patti, did professionally.  Patti worked for and trained with long time reining, cutting, and pleasure trainer Danny Lopez.  Early on, Patti could see in Melissa the same intensity and passion for horses and began teaching her.  Working side by side with her mother, Melissa learned how to feed, supplement, trim, worm, and keep records on routine veterinary care – all the aspects of the maintenance of a horse. With Melissa’s keen intuition (and she has had quite a few teacher’s (the horses) along the way) she has increased the depth of her knowledge about the health and wellness of horses.

Melissa with her first show horse Foxy

Patti had trained a beautiful young Arabian with plenty of talent Ibn Driffon (Foxy). With Melissa’s natural gifts, they were a perfect match.  They competed together at ETI, Ventura County Saddle Club (VCSC), and on the Arabian Circuit.  Mother and daughter travelled throughout California showing and competing on the A Circuit and qualified Ibn Driffon for the Nationals.

Teaching came easy to Melissa having a natural ability to ride. Being a 4H member from the age of 8 to 19 helped her to relate to kids and their experience with horses.  Working with her mom, her responsibilities included giving lessons, training horses, breaking colts, finishing horses and ranch management.

Melissa doing a trail course with her horse Lacey

Melissa showed and rode in Western Pleasure for many years and then decided to try reining and cutting.  After a year of riding reiners and cutters, she realized her true love was the Western Pleasure horse and, shortly after, Natural Horsemanship.  Showing her current horse This Gal’s a Chip (Lacey) at VCSC in 2005, she took the Open Western Pleasure Champion, Western 18 & Over Champion, 1st & 2nd Year Green Western Pleasure Champion, Reserve Super Horse and Reserve Senior Horse All Around.  These accomplishments took place in Lacey’s first year of Natural Horsemanship training as well. 

Melissa had already been researching the horse world for several years, but after the 2005 show season she decided to expand her knowledge and began attending more clinics – studying top people in the industry – Troy Compton, Doug Carpenter, Cleve Wells, Chris Cox and Clinton Anderson. Melissa’s passion for horses has never wavered.  She continues to do research and study natural methods of training and holistic ways of healing.

Melissa crusing around the arena with her horse Lacey

Since launching Rhinestar Performance Horses in 2010 Melissa has had a successful and thriving business. She has changed horse’s (and their owner’s) lives. She has also taken them to a level they never thought they could reach. She strives for each owner to learn how to be part of the training process and earning their horse’s respect. Melissa has had great success with her students competing in the show ring. Many have won high point and end of the year championships in Western and English. She has also expanded the business into rehabbing horses physically and mentally. She has found so many horses end up having mental, body and joint issues at such a young age, especially in the horse show world. She has rehabbed body and joint issues with several horses that end up going back to do the upper-level work without injecting or specialized shoeing and care.

Melissa moving out with Jete a horse in trainingThere are many elements that sets Rhinestar Performance Horses apart: Melissa’s ability to teach, her undeniable connection to each individual horse and her holistic approach to equine wellness.  From working with top holistic veterinarians in the country to her natural training methods, time and again the results speak for themselves.  By bringing balance and wholeness, it allows a place for you to develop a willing partnership with your horse.

Rhinestar Performance Horses is located in Southern California at a beautiful and serene facility. Melissa would love to meet you and your horse.

Melissa working training horse Jet in the arena

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