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Our Instructors

Melissa Barden, Owner/Instructor

Melissa began riding at the age of 7 at what is now Friendship Field Farm. At the age of 14, she began teaching riding lessons. By 18, she was co-managing the barn, directing the residential horsemanship camp program, and teaching a full string of lessons. She continued to do so while attending Keene State College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science with a specialization in Psychology.   In 1996, Melissa started her own business, and thus began Friendship Field Farm.


Over the years, Melissa has had a wide variety of horse show experience. In addition to competing as a youth, she has coached many students at local, regional, and national A-rated shows. She has been managing her own horse shows for over two decades, and is currently show manager for the NH Hunter Jumper Association horse show series. She loves the energy and excitement of horse shows, and enjoys the camaraderie that develops among participants, as well as the many learning opportunities horse shows provide.

Melissa is also a USEF licensed course designer, and course designs at numerous shows throughout New England. She enjoys both the mental and physical aspects of course designing, and finds great satisfaction in the creating and building of courses that are safe, fun to ride, and give each horse and rider the chance to show their talents. 


Melissa is the current president of the New Hampshire Hunter Jumper Association. Prior to this position, she also served as the Vice President for four years, was the Point Scoring Secretary for thirteen years, and has been a member of the Rules Committee since 1996.

In addition to her teaching of riding lessons, Melissa is also a part time math teacher at Mountain Shadows School. She began teaching at Mountain Shadow while in college, and has remained there, in a variety of capacities, ever since. Melissa has a passion for teaching, and loves to watch growth and development both in and out of the saddle! And, of course, she has a undying passion for horses, which she loves to share with others. She is still fascinated by all

horses have to teach, not just about riding, but about human nature, and life in general!

Kara Quigley, Instructor


Kara began riding at the age of 7, under the instruction of Melissa.  Kara rode with Melissa through her junior years, in the hunter, equitation, and the jumpers.  Kara then went on to ride for 2 years on the Mount Ida College varsity IHSA team, coached by Carl Catani.  At the age of 20, Kara turned professional, and has had the privilege of continuing her education both in and out of the saddle with well known professionals such as Carl Catani, Monty Kelly, Jeff Cook, and Norman Dello Joio. 

Kara managed and taught out of Trident Farms on the NH Seacoast for 7 years, developing young horses and teaching riders of all ages, from walk trot to larger equitation finals.  Upon leaving Trident, Kara accepted a position in Wellington,  Florida to work for Olympic Grand Prix rider Norman Dello Joio, as a groom for his Grand Prix horses as well as an exercise rider.  While Kara learned an incredible skill set and was fortunate to ride truly spectacular horses, she realized that she her true passion was in teaching and developing horse and rider on a smaller level.  At this time she also met and married her husband.

Upon leaving Florida, Kara returned to school at UNC Wilmington where she obtained her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, with a focus on cognitive disabilities in children and adults. 

Kara then moved with her husband to Seattle, Washington where she accepted the position of instructor and schooling and handling coordinator at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center.  Kara is a PATH registered therapeutic riding instructor, and spent 4 years teaching  and long lining for both children and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities.  After 4 years, it was again time for Kara and her husband to relocate, and as luck would have it, this final move has brought her back to her start, working and teaching alongside her first coach and mentor, Melissa.

Kara continues to work and teach with Melissa and is also currently the show secretary and treasurer for the New Hampshire Hunter Jumper Association.

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