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The Lure Of The Hamptons & Horses For Melissa Cohn
Business, Riding and Sponsorships Make a Good Match In the Hamptons

It began with Melissa Cohn, owner and founder of The Manhattan Mortgage Company, purchasing her home in the Hamptons. Shortly after that she and her daughters started riding. Then in 1996 she opened her first branch office in the Hamptons and three more followed. Before she knew it she was buying her own horses and building her own barn. Then five years ago Cohn decided matching up her company with the Hampton Classic Horse Show was a good fit. It's been a Hamptons whirlwind for Melissa. The Hamptons and Horses have figured out the key to Melissa's heart in more ways than one.

For many, Memorial Day marks the beginning of freedom. It's their getaway. The lure of the Hamptons was something that Cohn felt as well. Explains Melissa, "I went to the Hamptons because I got tired of commuting to Marthas Vineyard every weekend, which is where I summered as a child and my parents are there. The Hamptons was closer and as I was living in New York City and had a lot of friends in the Hamptons, I went there. I rented for two summers, and then bought."

In 1993, she purchased a home in Watermill, ideally located across from a stable. Adding time spent around horses to her Hamptons adventures made Melissa feel right at home on the East End. She had spent a lot of time with horses when she was younger but raising a family and managing a growing business soon made that a distant memory. Now, with the horses so close she decided she'd start her two daughters, Sarah (now 17) and Samantha (now 11), riding. And it wasnt long before she was also back in the saddle.

Aston ridden by Melissa Cohn

That was it. She was hooked again. In 1997 Melissa made the decision to build a barn, which she calls Rose Hill Farm. Here not only do she and her daughters ride, but the Farm offers riding lessons and boards horses. In the meantime, Melissa and her daughters have accumulated a total of nine horses and ponies between them.

Melissa, who trains with Scott Kemery and Patti Foster, rides Aston in the Adult Amateur division, Bulgari in Local Amateurs, and Parcival in Adult Amateur Hunters. Scott often refers to Aston as half landshark, half Labrador, a delightful combo. While Bulgari, nicknamed Gus, "thinks he is a person." Sarah competes the only mare in the group, Grace, and one of their newest acquisitions, Titleist in Small Junior Hunters and Navigator in Large Junior Hunters. Professional rider Scott Stewart has taken Grace and Titleist to many championships and reserves in the First (Titleist) and Second (Grace) Year Green divisions. Kemery refers to Grace as a "true princess!" Sarah also shows in the Children's Jumpers with Rollerball. Samantha rides Denmark and Just a Dream in the Pony Hunters.

Horses are her getaway on the weekends but during the week Melissa's focus is her company. She started her Manhattan Mortgage Company in 1985 and it was going quite well. As a result, the Hamptons seemed an ideal place to add new branches, not only because of her love of horses but because of the potential of customers on the East End. She first opened a branch office in Bridgehampton in 1997, then moved that branch to Watermill in 1998, and shortly after that opened branches in Westhampton, East Hampton and Amagansett. (There are 10 offices in all, with additional offices located in other parts of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Manhattan Mortgage is also licensed in Florida.)

Established in 1985, its originations "over $5 billion in 2002"again earned the company recognition as the #1 residential mortgage brokerage in metropolitan New York in 2003. This year Cohn, who founded Manhattan Mortgage 18 years ago, was named Top Mortgage Originator in the country for the seventh year in a row by the editors of "Mortgage Originator Magazine."

As if that were not enough recently Cohn received the Metro New York
Area Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) Award in the Financial Services category. The EOY award was created by Ernst & Young to recognize outstanding individuals on a regional, national and ultimately global level.

It was the horses that gave Melissa the idea that aligning her company with the Hampton Classic Horse Show was a perfect match, especially for Opening Day when the show consists of mostly Long Islanders. And so Manhattan Mortgage Opening Day at the Hampton Classic was started in 1998.

But the Hampton Classic is only one of many things that Melissa supports on the East End. She also sponsors the annual Hamptons Film Festival and the summer Polo Matches.

As much as Melissa enjoys all of these sponsorships, over the years she decided she wanted to do more than just sponsor wonderful events. She wanted to also help those in need. And so she looked for causes that have meaning to her and decided to support a number of Hamptons focused support groups. These include the CDCH (Child Development Center of the Hamptons), The Retreat Domestic Violence Services, and the Habitat for Humanity.

The match of horses, business and sponsorships has been good for Melissa. Riding is an excellent teacher. What you learn as a rider is something you can carry over to the corporate world.

Melissa explains, "Riding is a very humbling sport and it is a constant reminder that you have to work hard to succeed. It is also a good way to be reminded of the importance of partnership - all important in the business world. I consider my riding to be my therapy and use the sponsorships as a way to take my hobby and mix it with business and to spend time with my children. Riding is a unique sport and a good way to stay in people's minds."

During the week, Melissa spends her days in New York City, the headquarters of the Manhattan Mortgage Company, but every weekend she relishes the time she spends out on the East End of Long Island. The Hamptons has got her tight in its grip and truly has found the keys to her heart.

For more information about The Manhattan Mortgage Company call 888-593-4343 or visit their Web site at


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