Hello there! My name’s Mel and I’ll be one of the Equestrian directors at Augusta this summer!
I hail from jolly ol’ England, more precisely a little village called Orrell in the North-West. I spent most my childhood with my dad either exploring the outdoors or curled up inside watching cheesy old spy movies and spaghetti westerns (maybe a few too many if others’ accounts are to be believed). We moved around a little bit when I was younger – actually living in a pub when I was about 4; this is where my love of horses began. We had just moved in to the old-timey pub in the countryside where across the road was a quaint little stable.
I was very fortunate to be encouraged to take up extra activities outside of school and this included a rather extensive riding education. I became very involved in my riding school and as I got older I spent more and more of my free time there. I was a ‘helper’ or rather a volunteer who would help younger riders by leading them around the arena up to 6 hours a day, and then mucking out stalls, cleaning the yard and maintaining the horses. I even took on paid work to be able to save up and buy my own horse when I was 15. I bought him from that riding school I’d attended for the 10 years prior; his name was William. I always thought it was funny we were the same age and he was my horse of a life time. I learned so much with him and he was my best friend. Sadly when I went off to University I had to let him go. It broke my heart. I guess I had some luck because he ended up going to a lovely farm which do riding lessons for disabled children and use their other livestock as therapy animals. He was very happy there and he made a huge difference in so many children’s lives!
I’ll be turning 22 just before the main season kicks in!
This is my first year at Camp Augusta; however, I have worked at another summer camp previously. I was a counsellor in a girl scouts camp in sunny Conroe, Texas, where I was often found in the barn teaching English, or learning Western styles of riding.
I will have just finished my undergraduate degree in Zoology when I arrive at Augusta (I fly out a day after my final exam!). I chose to study zoology when my grand plans of becoming a veterinarian didn’t pan out. However, it’s true what they say: “when one door closes another opens.” Thanks to my change of career path I have met so many wonderful and inspiring people and they’ve given me a plethora of new goals.
I plan to study Parasitology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) in the coming September and I’m unbelievably excited to have gotten in. It was the first school of tropical medicine in the world and they have some of the most advanced and innovative research happening right now. I hope to find a place on one of these illustrious research teams or, if I’m lucky, spear-head my own one day. I want to help the people who are suffering from diseases (caused at least in part by parasites) which theoretically could be cured in our life time and increase their quality of life infinitely.