Exclusive Interview: How Does Mandy Porter of ACP Enterprises Pick Her Next Grand Prix Horse?

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Exclusive Interview: How Does Mandy Porter of ACP Enterprises Pick Her Next Grand Prix Horse?

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Mar. 12,2015
Shannon Wright/ProEquest

We know Mandy Porter as one of the top Grand Prix riders on the West Coast. Her soft style and impeccable leg (that never moves!) impresses us every time as she continues to win and add top placing’s to her impressive resume. With this experience in mind, we picked Mandy to be our next interviewee and asked her to share some of her expertise with us when it comes to training and finding her next top horse.

Mandy Porter. Photo Credit: Gail Halford Morey

PE - What characteristics must the horse have in order for you to consider purchasing? 

MP - When I’m looking at horses to purchase I like them to be very confident. Sometimes confident horses can be a bit cheeky but as long as they are not hard to handle or rude I’m ok with a little spunk. You always want to make sure the horse has the scope and cattiness that you need in the jumpers. I like them to have a competitive attitude and have “heart” meaning that they will fight for you and try no matter what.

PE - Do you have a specific type of horse that you prefer or that you've found to have the most success with? 

MP - Being a smaller woman I usually go for the smaller horses. I like them to have some automatic blood and an engine of their own. Even if they are super scopey I try to stay away from horses that are too big or dull. It is a lot to keep together and maintain throughout the course. 

Mandy and Con Capilot at Thermal. Photo Credit: Abby Jorgenson

PE - Do you try to stay within a specific age range when trying horses? 

MP - It really depends on the horse and the horse’s training and history. I don’t shy away from younger horses that I can bring along. In fact, throughout my career those are usually the horses that I’ve had the most success with. I’m also open to a little older horse that may have had a late start. Perhaps it has had a foal or two but shows a lot of potential. Those are fun to bring a long as well. I would say usually the grand prix horses peak around 9 or 10 years old but it definitely varies depending on the horse. Some may peak later in life or just have the stamina and physical ability to keep competing for an extended amount of time.

PE - Do you think the horses physical capability or mental attitude are more important in the jumpers?

MP - Within reason, I believe that physical capability and mental attitude are equally important. If the horse really doesn’t have the physical ability no matter how hard they may try then you can’t always make it happen. However, with that being said, I’ve always had success with horses that have significant physical ability but an even bigger heart. They have to want it and you have to give that horse enough confidence to believe they can do it. You have to make them feel like rockstars!

Mandy Porter and Lamarque at Del Mar. Photo Credit: Barbara Ellison - Wild Turkey Farm

PE - What are some of the questions that you ask the horses previous owners or whoever you are purchasing the horse from?

MP - I usually ask about the horse’s history. What have they done? Where have they competed and to what level? I also like to know about their temperament in the stable and at shows. What does it take to prepare them? One question that I always like to ask the horse’s previous owner is what they think the horse’s perfect job is and where it’s comfort level is.

PE - Does the size of the horse play a role in your decision to purchase?

MP - If I’m looking for myself I like to stay on the smaller side as long as they have enough scope to get across the wide oxers and enough stride to get the distances.

PE - Do you prefer to bring along a green horse yourself or a horse that already has experience and training? 

MP - I prefer a green horse. I like to build them from the ground up and this allows you to really bond with the horse. If you spend enough time with them you really know everything there is to know about them and that is really rewarding in the end. 

Mandy and Con Capilot - taken by Bethany Unwin

A special thank you to Mandy Porter for taking the time to sit down with us and share some of her insights into the equestrian world. To see the current horses that Mandy Porter has listed for sale be sure to visit her ProEquest profile!