About Us

Charlotte & Lake Norman Equestrian Facility

Melanie Dortschy

Beginner/Intermediate Western & English Instructor

Melanie is the owner and manager of Horse Shadow Run. She grew up around horses and has 40 years of experience boarding horses and giving lessons. As a CHA certified instructor in both english and western riding, Melanie not only teaches lessons daily, she is also the main instructor for the summer camps and has lifeguard and CPR/First Aid certification. Known at the barn as “Ms. Melanie”, she’s a kind and patient instructor for her students, especially with the young riders. In her spare time, she loves to spend it with her family and, of course, riding!

Stacey Venditti

Beginner/Intermediate Western, English, and Trial Ride Instructor

Stacey is a CHA certified instructor in both english and western disciplines. She teaches beginner and intermediate riders the fundamentals of a balanced and independent seat in walk, trot and canter. Stacey has been a beloved teacher at HSR for 10 years, partnering with Melanie in teaching little ones as well as adults in both lessons and summer camps. In addition to teaching lessons, she is also a certified trail ride instructor for the barn. When not teaching, Stacey loves working with and riding her mare, Rose.

Emily McDonald

Dressage & Intermediate Instructor

Emily has over 20 years of experience with horses. She began riding and showing at age eight, and had trained her own horse to Level Three Dressage by age 18. In college, she worked for Dolorosa Arabians, one of the nation’s largest and most successful breeding, training and show barns. At Dolorosa, Emily was a professional groom who studied under and assisted Rob Bick and Caralyn Schroter, two of the nation’s top and most successful trainers. Emily has been a part of the Horse Shadow Run family since 2008. She enjoys teaching our intermediate and advanced adults and children in equitation, dressage and low level jumping. Emily continues to further her education today through dressage and has begun to ride with Danielle Akin Sintoni on her self-trained warmblood, Za Za Zoo.

Savannah Sheldon

Drill Team Instructor

Savannah has been a part of the Horse Shadow Run family since 2012 as an instructor, boarder, student and member of the HSR staff. She now serves as the annual HSR Drill Team coach and assists at most horse shows throughout the season. She has 19 years of experience as a rider/competitor with a background in dressage and eventing. She was a member of the Penn State IHSA Equestrian team, and is continuing her dressage education with her new horse Cash.

Kimberly Buff

Beginner/Intermediate Western and English

Kimberly is CHA certified in the Western and English disciplines, and has been with Horse Shadow Run since 2011. She has been riding since she was 10 years old, and owned horses for most of her life. She was a part of the Biltmore Estate Equestrian Team growing up, competing the in the hunters. However, now she is working towards her Three-Day eventing goals. She has been a working student for several well-known trainers and riders including Elaine Hayes, who has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold medals. Kimberly is currently training with Deanna Corby who is a judge for the USEF. She believes in constantly going to clinics, shows and lesson weekly to further your education. Kimberly does an amazing job teaching beginner and intermediate children and adults at HSR. She puts a strong emphasis on not only correct riding, but also teaching how to properly take care of your horse and their overall health. When not at HSR, she spends time with her own two horses, Joe and Smoak.

Shawn Conneff

Hunter/Jumper & IEA Coach

Shawn Conneff is USHJA Certified with over 40 years of experience. She has competed in hunters, eventing, fox hunt, and dressage. Her education includes riding under the direction of George Morris, Sue Bender, Ian Miller, Sinead Halpin, David and Karen O'Conner, and Lucinda Green. She also has completed her 2nd Level Certification with Pat Perelli. Shawn believes in continuing her education as there is always something new to learn when training students and working with horses. She focuses on teaching all students in the basis of dressage. She instructs riders and horses in balance, communication, working as a team of two. She emphasizes the health and well being of both horse and rider.

Jordan Bishop

Working Student

Jordan Bishop has been a part of the Horse Shadow Run family since 2002. She started at HSR when she was 5 years old, and knows the ins and outs on how our facility runs along with each program. Jordan helps in assisting all instructors with lessons, summer camps and horse showing. Jordan has honestly done it all from local barrel races to showing on the hunter/jumper circuit at the local, C and a few A rated shows. She currently owns and boards her horse Mr. Candy at HSR, while attending college at CPCC. We are happy to have had Jordan with us for so long, and couldn't have our program running as smoothly without her.

Victor Rodriguez

Barn Manager

Victor, also known as the “Balloon Man” has been with Horse Shadow Run since 2008. He always goes above and beyond to ensure our horses are cared for as if they were his own. He works on just about everything, from training new employees, to cleaning pastures and stalls as well as maintenance, feeding and turnout. We could not keep our facility at top quality and our horses happy and healthy without Victor. Be sure to keep an eye out for Victor in the local area, as well as at our annual HSR show making balloon animals!

More About HSR

Our large facility has been serves the Charlotte, Huntersville, Myers Park, Dillworth, and Lake Norman Areas of Mooresville, Cornelius, Davidson, Denver and surrounding communities.


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