Melanie Leavey (Mel)
1971 — Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England (emigrated to Canada in 1980)
Mum, wife, writer, gardener.
I had my first riding lesson at the age of 7 on a fat, hairy pony named Bramble. Best. Day. Ever. I didn’t give old Bramble the credit he was due until I was much older but truly, he was the start of it all.
I rode throughout my childhood and into my teens, hunter/jumper mostly. But I quickly figured out that riding was for people with lots of money and we didn’t have any. That made me a little (okay, a lot!) bitter at the time but then I eventually just went mercenary and decided to get people to pay me to ride their fast, expensive horses.
Which is to say, I ran away and joined the racetrack.
For several years B.C (Before Children), I worked as an exercise rider at Woodbine Racetrack (Toronto, ON) and, in the winter, at Payson Park in Florida. Yes, I managed to successfully avoid Canadian winters for a few years. #dreamjob #gofastturnleft
I also had a brief, not-illustrious stint as an apprentice jockey.
I rode ten races and no, I didn’t win any of them. Mostly, I was last.
And then I got tired of being hungry and having to deal with people, so I hung up my tack and went back to the joys of being a gallop girl.
I then took about 10 years off riding to dote on my children.
And then came Buzz.
The rest, as they say, is history-in-the-making.
Isn’t this supposed to be fun?
She who rides then gets off and calls it a day, lives to ride another day
….my current riding philosophy.