|A broken hackamore couldn't stop Wilton Porter from riding the only clear round in the $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Team event on Paloubet. Sportfot photo.|
Wilton Porter  headed in for Round 2 of the $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Team event on March 7 at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla., with something to prove. He was disappointed in his first round, where he logged three rails down, a foot in the water and a couple time faults on Paloubet. So he switched the bridle from a hackabit—which he’d been trying out—back to his regular hackamore before heading in for Round 2.
Things started out fine, until the chain under the hackamore snapped midway through course, just before a big plank fence.
“There was a piece of string that we’d tied under his throat that was basically holding the bridle on his face, otherwise it would have flown up with no bit in his mount,” said Porter, 19. “I decided to keep going because it was a team event, and especially after I had such a lousy first round. The less interference with his mouth, the better he jumps, and I can’t really control him too much anyway. I probably got a little lucky in a couple places, and it ended up working out.”
Watch Paloubet's round below. The hackamore breaks just before the FTI fence, and you can see Porter check his bridle after they land:
That round turned out to be the only clear of the day, boosting him and teammates Chloe Reid (Damascus), Eugenio Garza (Bariano) and Catherine Pasmore (Freddy Star) to the top of the podium.
Porter, 19, trains with John Roche out of his family’s Sleepy P Farm in Bartonville, Texas. His mother rode ponies growing up in her native England, and his father rode polo interscholastically at Stanford (Calif.). Porter and his brother, Lucas, got their start riding western, dabbling in roping. After sneaking in a few improvised jumps over buckets and sticks they swapped to show jumping and haven’t looked back.
This circuit Wilton’s focused on excelling in the Artisan Farms Young Rider series, and he currently sits second. After circuit he’ll head to the Kentucky Horse Park for the spring, then Spruce Meadows (Alberta.) He hopes to head to Europe to compete over the summer before heading to Vanderbilt University (Tenn.).
This article will appear in the March 25 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse, as part of Mollie Bailey's coverage of Week 9 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Check the issue out  to read all about what little extra bit of luck helped Daniel Deusser win the $300,000 CSI-W and about some truly inspiring amateur riders. Also in that issue—coverage of the Red Hills CIC***, Gulf Coast Winter Series and Del Mar CDI-W.