Assistant Trainer Spotlight: Mandie House of Berryhill Quarter Horses
Twenty five year-old Mandie House of Talala, Oklahoma, is currently the assistant trainer to Leigh and Leonard Berryhill of Berryhill Quarter Horses. House currently resides on a small 5-acre property with her Australian Shepherd dog, Rustie, and her cat, Butters, along with her five horses.
Like any other day at the barn, Mandie is responsible for making sure horses are cared for and prepped for their customers. ”However, in this industry, you have to be willing to take on any task. I pride myself on being able to help in all aspects, from picking stalls to feeding and working on projects around the barn,” House told us. “We focus on the all-around events, but I tend to favor the ranch riding and English events.”
House grew up in Talala, OK, and attended Oologah-Talala High School. After graduating in 2012, she went to North-Eastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma, to ride for their IHSA equestrian team. Then, in 2014, she transferred to West Texas A&M College, located in Canyon, Texas, and finished out her bachelor’s degree in Equine Business while riding for their IHSA team. “Growing up, my mom and I have always had horses and would show anywhere we could squeeze in a horse show,” Mandie recalls.
House got her first pony when her mother, Melodie Kelso bought a 20-year-old P.O.A. named Dottie for her to start showing 4H until she was older and able to show her Quarter Horse named Heirefutable, aka Buddie. When Mandie had reached Dottie and Buddie’s full potential, her mother knew it was time to start looking for another horse. They looked for two years and found Absolute Chocolate, better known as Bennie. They purchased Bennie from Joe Whitt in November of 2007. Bennie continued to carry her through her AQHA youth and amateur career.
GoHorseShow talked to Mandie about her background and future goals.
Q: Hi, Mandie. Can you tell us what you like about showing horses?
A: I love being able to work towards a goal and then show off your product at the show. With that being said, horses can either make you feel on top of the world or humble you back down to earth. I love all the different personalities and finding what works best for each horse. They are like puzzles and always keep you thinking of new fresh ideas to try. But, what I love most is seeing clients happy with their horse and them reaching their goals. I know that I have done my job when my clients come out of the show pen happy, regardless of the placing.
Q: What are some of your favorite successes in the show arena?
A: I have been so very blessed to have the success that I have had. My most precious moments were in 2018 at my last World Show as an amateur with Absolute Chocolate. We managed to place sixth in the Level 3 Showmanship, along with placing in the western riding and horsemanship. Then, at my first world show as a professional, we scored a 231.5 to win the Level 2 Senior Ranch Riding aboard Miss Wrangler Lena.
Q: What famous horses have you enjoyed working with?
A: I have had the privilege of working with talented horses such as Miss Wrangler Lena, The Right Mechanic, Trump Card, and Kinetic Krymsun.
Q: What is the best advice you can give to young trainers?
A: Be hungry for success. It takes a lot of hard work for that 30 seconds of fame, but in the end, it is so worth it. Always keep a positive attitude. Be that person who is always smiling and brings words of encouragement.
Q: How did you come about working for the Berryhill’s?
A: So, this is a crazy story. For the past ten years, I have lived five minutes from the Berryhill’s. We saw each other at shows and would chat occasionally. In December of 2016, during the finals week of college, I received a call about my dad, Roy House. He had collapsed, and I was needed. I packed my stuff and headed home to be with him. God had a plan, and my dad was called to Heaven shortly after I returned home. I decided to show at the Tulsa Holiday Winter Circuit, where Leigh happened to overhear a conversation that I was not employed at the time, and she asked if I would like to start working part-time as the barn manager. Of course, I accepted. I stayed as an amateur, winning numerous circuits under their guidance with my horse, Absolute Chocolate. After the 2018 AQHA World Show, Leigh and Leonard approached me with the opportunity to become an assistant trainer. Once again, I accepted. Three years later…and here we are today.
Q: Who have been some of your mentors?
A: I have had so many people lead me to the person I am today, especially Leigh and Leonard Berryhill. They have taken me as apart of their family and have taught me the skill sets and given me the knowledge to grow into the trainer I have dreamed of being.
Q: What are some of your future goals?
A: Besides the obvious of winning a gold trophy, I want to try my hand in different events ranging from reining, working cow horse to maybe driving.
Q: What’s one thing people may not know about you?
A: This is embarrassing, but I cannot cook. I am the type of person to burn water. I can make Mac and Cheese, and that is the extent of my cooking skills.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: There are not enough words to express how blessed I am. I’m so thankful to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from the best. Thank you to my family for always being my number one fan, my barn family, and the Berryhill’s.