Sunday, October 19, 2014

ACTHA

Yesterday I went on my first ACTHA ride.  I had a ton of fun.  The weather proved to be a "bit" of a challenge.  The horses were fresh, hot, and spooky and the trails in the woods were wet and leaf covered.

ACTHA, or the American Competitive Trail Horse Association, is a casual trail ride competition over 6 - 8 miles with judged obstacles along the way.  Each obstacle has its own judge and the obstacle is timed but the entire ride is not.  When you come to the obstacle and judge you perform the obstacle one at a time.  You can compete in ACTHA in one of several divisions

What are the divisions?
Open
Our highest challenge of obstacles for the seasoned horse and rider team (Example:  Gate- side pass to gate, open & close gate).  Reap all of the membership benefits including event awards, retail discounts, and points towards the Medals program and the Yearend awards.  
Pleasure
Same great fun with less challenging obstacles for the horse and rider team (Example:  Gate- walk to gate, open, walk through gate).  Reap all of the membership benefits including event awards, retail discounts, and points towards the Medals program and the Yearend awards.  Not available once your horse has placed in the Open Division. 
Scout 
Looking to try out the sport at a reduced cost?  Same FUN, less benefits! Enjoy retail discounts, no event awards, 1 participation point but no placement points towards the medals program or the yearend awards.  Challenge of the obstacles is the same as the Pleasure division.  Not available once your horse has placed in the Open/Pleasure Division.
Scout (non-member) 
Looking to try out the sport at a reduced cost and not have to be a member? Same FUN, no benefits!  Challenge of the obstacles is the same as the Pleasure division.  Not available once your horse has placed in the Open/Pleasure Division.
Junior 
Open to riders 7-15 years of age.  Challenge of the obstacles is the same as the Pleasure division.   Reap all of the membership benefits including event awards, retail discounts, and points towards the Medals program and the Year-end awards.  Don’t forget! Helmet required.
Buddy 
Looking to just get out and ride the countryside?  Same FUN trail, no obstacles!  Reap the membership benefits including the retail discounts and 1 participation point while enjoying the trail!
Buddy (non-member) 
Looking to just get out and ride the countryside and not have to be a member? Same FUN trail, no obstacles, no benefits!

There are several different Obstacles that can be used, in your ride meeting you get a list of the obstacles.  

At this ride we had the

Dismount:  Pretty easy to do, but you had to do it one handed!  Not as easy as you think!

Downhill:  You and your horse's way of going down a steep hill are judged.  Easy right?  Maybe not if your horse is herd bound and realizes that her bestest friend is now at the top of the hill!  The trails were very wet so we slid down this hill.  

Spanish Pole:  Harder than you think as it requires lifting and dragging the scary pole and pivoting your horse around to put the pole back.  I ended up dropping this pole for safety reasons and took a "zero" here.  

Wildlife Box:  The "wounded wildlife" was a giant inflatable spider that moved and hissed while you walked a circle around it.  I did a good job at this one, it was close to my horse's best friend and she was so focused on the spider that we made a pretty circle around it.

Wagon Wheel:  Not spooky, but difficult to get your horse to not step on the spokes when she's used to stepping on all sorts of things on the trail.  

Slicker:  Ride up to a slicker blowing in the wind, touch your horse front and behind, declare the weather, and put slicker back on hook.  

Prizes!  We got both ribbons and a wrapped mystery prize.  Plus I got best obstacle for the wounded animal!  


I think that practicing some of the obstacles ahead of time would really benefit you as a competitive member, it's one of thing to have a good trail horse, it's another to ask them to do unusual things by themselves.  

3 comments:

  1. this sounds like so much fun! It might be fun to do around here!

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  2. This sounds like so much fun!

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  3. If you go to the ACTHA website and punch in your zipcode you'll find a list of the rides near you. I liked that you don't have to join if you don't want to.

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