Contact me to schedule lessons or training and connect more deeply with your horse!

 Riding Lessons Wilmington NC by certified riding instructor 

Contact me to sign up for lessons or training.


M.S., Equine Physiology, 1999 Clemson University, Clemson SC

B.S., Animal Science, 1995 University of North Carolina State, Raleigh NC

Minor, Ag Business Management, 1995  University of North Carolina State, Raleigh NC

Pre-Veterinary Curriculum, 1995 University of North Carolina State, Raleigh NC

Equine Emphasis Curriculum, 1995 University of North Carolina State, Raleigh NC

Connection Training Positive Reinforcement, all courses, 2016


Certification: American Riding Instructor Certification, 1999 Dressage, Hunt Seat, Western         



Endeavors include, but are not limited to:  American Riding Instructor's Association (ARIA) Certified Riding Instructor since 1999 in Dressage, Stock Seat and Hunt Seat; Freelance Riding Instructor and Clinician; Lucky Braids Grooming Products Sales; United States Refined Horsemanship Association (USRHA) Founding Board Member/Approved Judge/Clinician; Instructor at multiple College/Universities (mounted and un-mounted equine classes); Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Riding Team Coach; Collegiate Judging Team Coach; Professional Groom and Rider for former Olympian.



Often, we find that it is we who need the relationship with horses as much or as more than they need us. Sometimes, horses can be our strongest connection to our own soul.  Other times we find that they help us connect with the souls of other like minded people, our tribe, or perhaps I should say our herd?


I am grateful for relationships with horses and the people who love them.  They have taught me far more than I could have ever imagined and enriched this experience we call life beyond my greatest expectations.  So I express my gratitude not only to the those listed below, but also to every horse and person who has shared their journey with me.  For without them, I would have learned little and helped few.


The list below is certainly not all inclusive.  However, each person therein shared their knowledge and experience, and in doing so provided valuable insight.  For this, they have my respect, gratitude and admiration.



  • David De Wispeleare,  2016 to present
  • Shawna Karrasch, Connection Training-The Heart and Science of Positive Horse Training ~2013 -present
  • Jean Luc Cornille, Science or Motion, Le Cadre Noir de Saumur graduate was a working student and took lessons from him ~ 2009-2014
  • Linda Hoover, United States Refined Horsemanship (USRHA) Founder mentor and instructor 2007-2015
  • Robert Mayor, Classical Dressage Master, FN, BHSI ~2011 took lessons
  • Jessica Ransehousen, former U.S. Dressage Chef d' Equipe ~ employee and working student 2002-2003
  • Missy Ransehousen, FEI Rider and Paralympic Coach employee and working student 2002-2003
  • Eicke von Veltheim, German Master took lessons and audited extensively
  • Robert & Laura Hall, D. British Horse Society, Fulmer Int.~ 1994 working student
  • Tom Curtin, Triple T Quality Horsemanship auditing and participated in clinics and camp 2009-2012
  • Annette Margot Palasthy, German Bereiter mentor and instructor 98-99
  • Klaus and Sabine Halfter, German Master 2000 working student
  • Linda Symborski, of The Heritage - a past Hanoverian Society president 97-99 employee and working student
  • Harold Chopping, Canadian Equestrian employee 1995-96
  • Dr. Pat Evans, British Horse Society "I" Instructor, instructor and mentor 1990-1995
  • Dale Barnett, APHA Judge instructor 1990-1995

I have attended many short courses at NC State University such as those on forage, husbandry, farrier work, etc. 




We appreciate your interest in honoring your horse and thank you for taking the time to visit our site.  I strongly believe that the rider/handler is the person who makes a horse's life worth living, and I am dedicated to making sure that riders have the knowledge and skills they need to provide the quality of life that every horse deserves. Additionally, it is equally important that each of you experiences the trust and affection that is possible in your equine partnerships. Further, it is my privilege to be able to offer relationship building opportunities for women and their horses in low stress learning environments.  My passion for teaching, and riding, and my desire to learn so that I can help others is unquenchable!


If you are like minded in regards to developing yourself and your horse, I encourage you!  Keep seeking.  Keep listening to your horse and to those who produce the results that you seek in a manner that benefits the horse. You can learn how to determine and provide what your horse craves and become the source of his comfort to a degree that you may not have even imagined.


To learn optimally, it is often said that a mentor is the key.  It is my goal to be a mentor for thinking riders, who are keenly aware of their horse's every thought and feeling.  For it is you, dear rider, who must sit on your horse in the end, and you upon whom he depends daily for sound leadership.  So take heart, have faith in your abilities and take your relationship and your riding to new levels this day and every day.  And remember, every moment is an opportunity for victory.



"Honor your horse, live your passion."

Victory Land Dressage and Refined Riding, Melissa Deal, Wilmington NC Burgaw NC

Contact Us

Victory Land Dressage 

Burgaw, NC 28425


Email us to schedule your first session with Melissa at your farm or ours and experience how to bond more intimately with your horse (money back guarantee on your first session, if not completely satisfied). We can provide a horse at our facility for some learning experiences) depending on your goals. 


What's New?

The gatherings include meet and greet with tasty treats, heart felt discussions and demos and presentations by equine experts! You are warmly invited to the Coastal Carolina Compassionate Equestrian gatherings that are held the Wed evening of each month at 630 PM. Call or text 910-471-5445, or private message Melissa Deal on fb or request to join the group on fb.
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