PDA

View Full Version : So what about NATRC do you like?



Risk-Averse Rider
Jan. 20, 2008, 01:21 AM
rivenoak and I took Prozac Pony and Mr. Blondie to a NATRC Competitive Trail Ride clinic today - and it was quite an interesting cross-cultural experience for us ;-)

I was trying to describe CTR to a fellow eventer, and I'm afraid I made it sound quite sedate and - sorry to say - rather unexciting.

But judging by the turnout at the clinic, and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the people who put on the clinic, there's got to be SOMETHING about it that draws people in.

So that's what I'm here to ask - and please don't take this to be in any way condescending to your sport. This is not meant to be, "What on EARTH can you possibly find to like about CTR?" Not at all. From my very brief exposure to it today, I can think of a few things that might draw people in - I'm curious to see how close I am to reality.

(The boys, by the way, said that they would just as soon have stayed home and watched TV - it went on FAR too long for them!)

pandorasboxx
Jan. 20, 2008, 03:27 AM
NATRC is far too sedate for my tastes.

If you want a little more pizzazz, try endurance.

However, with the screen name "risk averse" maybe sedate and slow is more your cuppa?

texasaggie1995
Jan. 20, 2008, 11:40 AM
I have almost 400 NATRC miles. I really enjoy the sport, but admit that it is not for everyone. Most Endurance horses would have trouble with the obsticles. They range from standing still while you mount to standing still while the group leaves him. You have to have a very well trained horse that is not of the race mentality. All the obsticles are horsemanship based. Equitation counts. You can't go bouncing down the trail in NATRC and expect to do well. Your horse has to know how to open a gate and sidepass a log and many other things that take patience and time to teach. I have 175 AERC miles and have heard many AERC people putting natrc down, but I don't take offense. I love both sports. My horse can do both. He is very well trained. I have spent years training him. Most people don't want to do that. Endurance is much easier. But they are both fun. They are both about enjoying your horse and the beautiful country that God has blessed us with. If you have never done NATRC or you have tried it and done poorly and given up, then you haven't experienced the sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing that your horse is so well trained that he can handle any number of things that come his way. That you are the best rider you can be. I have to admit that I am a bit of a snob when it comes to riding. After years of NATRC it is hard to go to an endurance ride and see people bouncing hard of their horses back, or riding two point the whole way, or posting the same diagional the whole trip. :confused:

Risk-Averse Rider
Jan. 20, 2008, 11:44 AM
NATRC is far too sedate for my tastes.

If you want a little more pizzazz, try endurance.

However, with the screen name "risk averse" maybe sedate and slow is more your cuppa?

Well... there's Risk-Averse, and there's Asleep. :lol:

Wait... take that back. I promised myself I would try not to be judgmental.

What I have done with my horses, when I had the motivation to drag my sorry self out of my funk and actually ride, was low level eventing and back-to-middle-of-the-pack field hunting. (Out here in Arizona, where we don't actually have things to jump, so don't be picturing Lucille Ball in "Auntie Mame" and get all excited ;-) A little 2'6" jumpers at schooling shows. But basically, I hate to show, so I really haven't pursued the competitive aspects this past year. But I do really enjoy going out with the beagle pack and bopping around in the desert, and I enjoy jumping up to about 2'6" - both in the ring and over cross country fences. And I actually like the challenge of dressage, too. But I don't want to spend all my time in the ring.

So the idea of shuffling along on a trail for hours on end just doesn't do much for me. And I'm a BIG fan of indoor plumbing, so the idea of camping - even in a trailer - also doesn't do much for me. I figure I did my 2 years in the Peace Corps - that was enough primitive sanitation to last me a lifetime. For me, the Motel 6 is rustic camping. :D

But as I said - there appear to be a lot of people really gung-ho about this. It's got to have something going for it. And all the emphasis on safety is great. In the lecture sessions, they talked a lot about things I'd never thought of related to tying your horse to the trailer (as I sat there, wondering if Prozac Pony & Mr. Blondie were wandering away, or pawing the valve stems off my tires...). It had never occurred to me that a horse might paw at my tire and break off the valve stem.

There were also some things, though, that struck me as being overly safe - if such a thing is possible. One of our "obstacles" was to do a turn on the forehand and then back between a couple bushes. I was riding in my jumping saddle because I haven't gotten around to shopping for a new dressage saddle yet (major Inverness problems with the old one - no WAY I was going to spend 2+ hours in it!). I knew that I didn't have a chance in H-E-double hockey sticks of getting Mr. Blondie to listen to my leg with it way up there in jumping position, so I dropped my stirrups, asked him to turn, and started the reinback. From the look on the judge's face, you would have thought I had reached down and removed my girth! "It's not SAFE to ride without stirrups!" she said. "You should never drop your stirrups."

Um... Well... Trying to be fair here, there's lots of conflicting stuff going on. She didn't know me or my horse. BUT - I'm an adult. She might have given me credit for knowing whether or not it was safe to drop my stirrups. I was in a jumping saddle. By dropping my stirrups, I actually lowered my center of mass and had more leg on my horse than when I had my feet in the stirrups. Arguably, in some ways I was more secure than when I had my feet in the stirrups. Mind you, I wouldn't have JUMPED that way, but I was perfectly comfortable doing what I did without stirrups, and I was perfectly comfortable the several other times on the trail when I dropped them, even sometimes when we went up & down small slopes. I'm used to riding without stirrups at WTC - it's NOT unsafe for me to drop my stirrups. I think to issue a blanket fiat that you should never drop your stirrups is going a bit overboard.

But... their game; their rules. You can't compete in dressage without stirrups, either.

I also found their attitude towards leg protection odd - but I'm willing to accept that maybe it's because I'm just never on my horses for really long periods of time. Unless we're just noodling around on the dirt roads in the neighborhood, I *ALWAYS* put some kind of galloping boots / brushing boots on my horses, as well as bell boots in front. I had a friend whose horse backed into a cactus and punctured a tendon sheath. He may never be ridable again. With a boot on, that wouldn't have happened. But NATRC doesn't allow leg protection. The woman running the clinic kept saying that sand gets in the boots and chafes the horses' legs. I put boots on my horses for hunting - we go through washes and we're out for 2 hours - no sand in them when we take the boots off. But maybe we're just not out long enough. Hard to say. But that just might be a deal breaker for me.

That and the fact that nothing seems to happen. :confused:

saratoga
Jan. 20, 2008, 11:55 AM
RAR- Are you going to do the NATRC ride in Wickenburg? I am considering it. I've done a few NATRCs, the last being about 7 years ago.

It is interesting to hear your comments about CTR because I manage a non-sanctioned CTR, (which is faster paced and no obstacles) and we allow leg protection for some points off, no horsemanship judging, and dont care how you keep your horse at the trailer. I read the CTR yahoo group and they are always discussing these issues- should they get rid of the seemingly arbitrary rules to attract more people. I say yes!

I personally agree about the splint boots- I use them on my endurance horse who interferes and needs them, hence I cant do CTR with him. He never has a problem with sand, heat build-up, or what have you, and I've had them on up to 11 hours for a 65 miler!

I think the horsemanship judging rules are a little silly too. I am hoping to do the one in March though, with my young mare who doesnt need boots. I havent done enough NATRC to say for sure if I really like it, so we will see.......and I definitely want to try to support any horse sport in AZ!!

saratoga
Jan. 20, 2008, 11:59 AM
Oh, and if you do the Open division, I believe you go faster- like mostly trotting. The issue I guess would be though that this upcoming ride, is a 2 day for the Open division, so you'd be doing 50-55 miles which is probably a lot for someone new to distance riding.

the 2 rides I did were Novice and wow, they were terrribly slow. My butt hurt so bad and I just wanted to trot and canter and get the dang thing over with!! I think one ride I did was 24 miles and we had over 8 hours to do it!!!!!!!! Even taking some time to do the obstacles, that was way too slow!

pandorasboxx
Jan. 20, 2008, 02:04 PM
I have almost 400 NATRC miles. I really enjoy the sport, but admit that it is not for everyone. Most Endurance horses would have trouble with the obsticles. They range from standing still while you mount to standing still while the group leaves him. You have to have a very well trained horse that is not of the race mentality. All the obsticles are horsemanship based. Equitation counts. You can't go bouncing down the trail in NATRC and expect to do well. Your horse has to know how to open a gate and sidepass a log and many other things that take patience and time to teach. I have 175 AERC miles and have heard many AERC people putting natrc down, but I don't take offense. I love both sports. My horse can do both. He is very well trained. I have spent years training him. Most people don't want to do that. Endurance is much easier. But they are both fun. They are both about enjoying your horse and the beautiful country that God has blessed us with. If you have never done NATRC or you have tried it and done poorly and given up, then you haven't experienced the sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing that your horse is so well trained that he can handle any number of things that come his way. That you are the best rider you can be. I have to admit that I am a bit of a snob when it comes to riding. After years of NATRC it is hard to go to an endurance ride and see people bouncing hard of their horses back, or riding two point the whole way, or posting the same diagional the whole trip. :confused:

Hey Aggie, I agree with you on much of this! NATRC is more about the horsemanship than the race. I salute those who do NATRC well. It takes a certain horse, patience and mindset for this sport.

However, its minutiae, detail and pace all are so far from what I look for in a sport. I like it less restriction, more excitement and figuring out my own strategy, riding my own ride. :)

Absolutely, my horse would not be able to do well in NATRC. She walks off while mounting, is a pain to open a gate from and when on the trail likes to move out. :lol: Hey but she does sidepass well......

I am probably one of those folks you've gasped about as far as equitation goes. Thats why I recently started dressage lessons to improve. The top endurance riders regularly school in dressage for a better partnership with their horses. While I do switch diagonals and avoid endless miles of two point, I am balance challenged and no equitation model. And I've seen worse at rides so I know just what mean LOL :eek:

Risk-Averse Rider
Jan. 20, 2008, 05:39 PM
I can see many benefits for the horse of the emphasis NATRC places on horsemanship - if it helps educate the folks who think they can just buy a horse and treat it like a bicycle, then more power to them! (Although my brother does triathlons, and some times, I think he treats his bikes better than I treat my horses!!! :lol:)

One of our obstacles involved walking over some "logs" (itty bitty branches) going up a hill. We had to stop while straddling the third log, count to 5, then continue. I could just hear Mr. Blondie saying to me, "Um, Mom... that's 20 penalty points! We're not supposed to STOP!!" He was clearly confused ;-) But he listened to me like the good boy he is.

I don't know - I guess I was expecting a higher obstacle to distance ratio. More like the Extreme Cowboy Race I recently watched. But I suppose if you only have one set of judges, and the judges have to haul a$$ from one obstacle to the next to catch all the horses, you have to have a lot of distance between obstacles.

Just not my thang...

saratoga
Jan. 20, 2008, 06:10 PM
I
I don't know - I guess I was expecting a higher obstacle to distance ratio. More like the Extreme Cowboy Race I recently watched. But I suppose if you only have one set of judges, and the judges have to haul a$$ from one obstacle to the next to catch all the horses, you have to have a lot of distance between obstacles.


Yes, and they are also judging on the condition of the horses-it is not just going out there doing obstacles. there are 2 scores- the horse and horsemanship.

matryoshka
Jan. 20, 2008, 07:24 PM
I did a 30-mile CTR last fall. The pace was fast enough (5 hours max to do 30 miles), the judging of the horse's condition was a bit puzzling. She mentioned stuff that I couldn't see or feel, and I was dumbfounded. However, I saw no point in arguing, because as somebody else posted, their game, their rules. My horse's back was not at all tender when we finished the ride, but we still somehow had had points deducted from the preride exam? I could be wrong about that, but it seemed very subjective to me.

At the pre-ride brief, I asked if they ever plan to allow hoof boots with gaiters, and they said that it is a source of contention. The person who was giving the brief is of the opinion that they cause chafing and should not be allowed. :no:

Again, I didn't argue with them. But I thought that the vets/judges should then be required to judge the shoeing of the horses who are competing, because I saw quite a few terribly contracted heels on horses ridden by serious competitors :o. If one is going to make judgments about whether boots cause problems, then they should look more closely at the feet of all the horses. My horse lost a boot and had to do the last 15 miles barefoot--she did beautifully. I don't think there were many shod horses who were sound for long after pulling a shoe--they are too accustomed to shoes to handle the course barefoot and could be lame within a few strides of pulling a shoe. One can forfiet one's standing in the ride and apply a boot with a gaiter to protect the hoof, but how many people are going to choose that option to save a hoof when it takes them out of the standing? And if your horse overreaches at all, the boots aren't going to stay on without a gaiter or glue.

Sorry for the harangue. This is a bit of a sore spot for me. I'd love to try CTR with my OTTB, but I don't want him in shoes and he needs the gaiters to keep the boots on. He'd pull shoes regularly since he overreaches. I liked the relaxed atmosphere of the CTR compared to endurance, and I liked how they started in groups of three rather than all at once. The only problem with starting in groups is if your horse gets herd bound, you are at the mercy of the other riders to ride a smart ride. It's hard to ride your own pace when you are in a small group.

I guess it is a matter of different strokes for different folks. My horse would not do well if judged on manners (yet), but it sure would be a good challenge for us to have to focus on that rather than heading down the trail simply looking for trail markers. And I liked that people weren't galloping madly around, yielded the trail for people passing, etc.

I'm sure there are good, fun folks in both disciplines, and there seem to be a number of people who compete in both. I'd like to be able to do both for different types of schooling for my horse. Not gonna happen because of the boots, though.

pandorasboxx
Jan. 20, 2008, 07:57 PM
I've never had a problem with anyone yielding trail on an endurance ride. For the most part people are very considerate.

I've attended an endurance ride a couple of times that had both an ECTRA and an AERC ride running on the same course, same management simultaneously. Now it wasn't anal NATRC so the pace for the CTR was pretty brisk. There seemed to be slightly different concerns for the participants but for the most part all was in harmony.

saratoga
Jan. 20, 2008, 08:03 PM
matry, yes the boots with gaiters is a whole nother issue for me. Finally have a distance horse who doesnt need splint boots but I've gone the whole barefoot route and am going to stay with that, its working well. SO if I do the upcoming NATRC ride, will have to foam regular easy boots on. Definitely not looking forward to that and it may be a deal killer.

I really think some of these rules should change!!

Risk-Averse Rider
Jan. 20, 2008, 10:14 PM
RAR- Are you going to do the NATRC ride in Wickenburg? I am considering it. I've done a few NATRCs, the last being about 7 years ago.

No... the no-boots issue is a deal-breaker for me, plus they were saying that Wickenburg is really rocky. I thought the Estrella Mtn trails were quite rocky (and my boys have pads in front), so I don't even want to think about what Wickenburg might look like.

There is some sort of trail trials thing coming up at McDowell Mtn Regional Park soon - I'm trying to find out about that. It's more expensive ($75) because it's a fundraiser, but the trails I've been on in that park have been quite good, and it's much closer for me than Estrella Mtn, so I might consider doing that, depending on what the requirements are and when it is.

LisaW-B
Jan. 21, 2008, 12:01 AM
My blonde horse asked me to put the Horses Help trail trials on his calendar, so I did. I saw it in Bridle & Bit. I'm happy that you saw it, too. It is 'spensive, but my whole worldview of 'spensive with horses has changed this past year, LOL.

I used to ride my previous Ayrab gelding in trail trials put on by the CA State Horsemen's Association, and they were basically walking trail rides, maybe 2-4 hours in length on average, with 10-12 obstacles along the way that you were judged at, similar to what you guys did yesterday. But there was no overnight camping or tying, no being judged at your trailer, and no restrictions on tack or equipment. They were basically a great excuse to go for a long, leisurely trail ride in a new park on new trails, with some obstacles thrown in along the way. If the one at McDowell Mountain is similar, and the trails aren't real rocky, I really want to go! The palominos need to be there to represent!

chicamuxen1
Jan. 21, 2008, 01:31 PM
For those of you who may get confused byt the seemingly different descriptions about CTRs, the entire NE secton of the US has ECTRA CTRs, not NATRC. For the Va rider who attended a ride that was both AERC and ECTRA, in reality it was an AERC endurance ride which had ECTRA sanctoning. What that means; in states where there are no ECTRA rides, an AERC ride manager can sanction with ECTRA so that any ECTRA member who enters the endurance ride can get mileage credit for their horse. They ride by AERC rules, it's an endurance ride. ECTRA rides are actually fairly fast paced. For instance you have 4 hours 10 min to 4 hours 40 min to complete a 25 mile ride. And that includes the 20 min hold at the mid point. AERC allows 6 hours from start to horse meeting the pulse requirement finish.

NATRC is often called a horse show in the woods. It would be largely about the training of your horse and your riding and your willingness to fit their mold. Lot's of folks love the judged trail rides also which are quite similar to NATRC, IMO.

chicamuxen

matryoshka
Jan. 21, 2008, 06:20 PM
Thanks for clearing that up Bonnie! I thought they were roughly the same thing, and that some ECTRA rides were judged. I found the pace of the 30 mile ride at Fair Hill to be brisk but not particularly fast. It was fun and people were very nice. There ware a lot of aspects I liked and some that I didn't like. Given the chance, I'd do another CTR for sure.

People were also very nice at the Foxcatcher Endurance ride last year. However, I was very conscious of the fact that people who wanted to pass might feel aggressive about it, since it is something of a race. On the contrary, people were very nice to me, especially considering that my horse didn't want to be passed and was a pain about it. I did hear complaining from others who were trying to win or top 10 about people not yielding to be passed, but perhaps those were regular trail riders who didn't understand or care that an endurance rider was trying win.

clanter
Jan. 21, 2008, 07:12 PM
Overall the care that one is taught in how to keep your horse alive while covering distance in the wilderness... you know the goal is both horse and rider to come back alive and uninjured.

You learn to recognize trouble signs in advance of dire consequences… also you learn what to do when the unexpected actually shows up.

We use our show horses, they have a combined mileage of about 4,000 miles on them now; they seem to enjoy the outings rather than doing arena work all the time. They have been both nationally ranked as show horses and NATRC horses

clanter
Jan. 21, 2008, 07:17 PM
NATRC is often called a horse show in the woods. It would be largely about the training of your horse and your riding and your willingness to fit their mold. Lot's of folks love the judged trail rides also which are quite similar to NATRC, IMO.

Not quite true but of course if you are back east on flat ground it may be considered such, you may need to try one in the Davis Mountains at 7,000ft

BEARCAT
Jan. 21, 2008, 07:31 PM
In short, it has made my horse a better horse, and me a better horseperson.

You might think you have a well trained horse until you ask him to stand still or sidepass over a W while all the Open riders are taking off at a brisk trot in front of him...

I also enjoy the camping aspect, and hanging out with the horses. It's a fairly good value too, with most rides under $100 for 3 days, most often including some meals.

It has also allowed me to ride in all different areas, most with beautiful scenery, spots to which I probably would not have gotten on my own.

That said, I would rather have shorter rides and more obstacles. Wish TREC was popular over here like it is in Europe!


I have over 650 miles in NATRC so far, but will probably fade it out this year. My horse is now sane enough (because af all his miles with other horses passing, running in the distance, etc..) that he actually behaves himself on the cross country course, which I love.

Risk-Averse Rider
Jan. 21, 2008, 07:57 PM
One of the things that has occurred to me - and it almost certainly doesn't apply to anyone here - is that NATRC would be of great benefit if it can attract and educate people who buy a horse and stick it in their backyards and just head out on the trails with it, with no formal training (or even any informal training ;-)

rivenoak
Jan. 22, 2008, 01:21 PM
I'm glad to see this thread; I had considered starting one!

I'm also glad we went to the seminar; I think branching out is good. However, I don't know think that sanctioned CTR is for me.

And for different reasons than R-A R. My main hang-up, beyond the pace, is that my natural tendency is to ride in a Forward Seat. Which the horsemanship judges really didn't appreciate in the hillwork. I'm not certain that I care to pay $ to be evaluated by people who won't factor that into the equation. I just don't sit like a stock seat rider. Never have, never will.

And the difference in equipment comes into play as well, as R-A R pointed out in her dropping stirrups example. But also in comments on use of things such as a running martingale, or leather tack rather than man-made.

Different strokes for different folks. A person could learn a lot doing this and have fun with a horse. Especially one who might not be suited for other sports; this is a way to still be competitive.

saratoga
Jan. 22, 2008, 01:38 PM
I've ridden those same Wickenburg trails at the endurance ride held there and I dont think they are super rocky. I mean, most of AZ is to some degree.

If I do the ride in March, I will report on it :) That is interesting about the forward seat part. I am from an English riding background, have done eventing and h/j, never any stock seat stuff and I remember from the 2 NATRCS I did back in the day, I got excellent scores on my equitation :) My points off were the "dumb stuff" about how tying my horse improperly to the trailer, how I kept the horse's hay and water, etc. I dont even remember what I did wrong or what the right way was!

rivenoak
Jan. 22, 2008, 03:40 PM
Saratoga,
I could've been clearer: when going uphill, because I ride in a forward seat, to get off the horse's back, all I need to do is close my hip angle a bit more. This lifts my rear off the saddle. (As you well know) I grab a little mane near where my hands normally are. Unless it's a really steep hill & then I adjust my balance points accordingly.

The judges apparently preferred me to stand up in my stirrups and grab mane near the horse's ears. On a relatively mild, IMO, climb.

Completely unnecessary technique in my case.

In a stock seat, grabbing mane might help the rider who isn't used to supporting her weight out of the saddle while going up hill standing in stirrups. Standing in the stirrups being necessary, presumably, because of the lengthened leg and build of the saddle.

Once again, different strokes, but didn't seem like the judging took into account the fundamental differences in seats/techniques/equipment.

YMMV! ;)

What was wrong w/ your trailer tying? We wondered if our technique would be counted down...

matryoshka
Jan. 22, 2008, 03:52 PM
Wow. I'm glad the CTR I went on didn't judge equitation! My equitation days are more than 20 years behind me. I was quite good back in the day, but now I just like to ride by feel and do what my horse seems to need. I've taken quite a bit of Centered Riding, and it may not always be pretty, but my horse's back doesn't get sore! And how to tie horses? I use a blocker tie ring...Heck, I guess I'm too much set in my own ways to go to a ride that expects me to do things their way. I also prefer to keep them in a portable electric pen than to keep them tied to the trailer. ECTRA sounds better for the likes of me.

I may have just acquired a CTR horse. I was given an Arabian today. She's coming 4 and has been a bit of a training problem. I suspect that initial difficulties were of the green horse/green rider type, and then the horse got sent to somebody who breaks TB's for the track. I'm hoping to give her some time to grow and mature, then go back to the ground work. I sure hope she has some good quality feet that can handle barefoot. That will be a refreshing change for me.

So, if she works out, I might have an endurance horse and a CTR horse next year. That would be cool if I can manage to keep them both fit! Heck, maybe my kids will take and interest and be able to ride with me. Okay, I've got to settle down--that's unlikely.

saratoga
Jan. 22, 2008, 05:04 PM
What was wrong w/ your trailer tying? We wondered if our technique would be counted down...

I dont think it was the technique so much as the proper height from the snap of the lead rope to the ground....think it was supposed to be a few inches and ours were a little longer. I have a Hi-Tie now and its at a set length so not sure how that will go over....Plus like someone else mentioned, they worried about horses hitting the valve of the tire, plus getting their legs caught in the tires or someway or another injured on the trailer. I remember putting duct tape over the trailer's license plate and some other places too. It was actually all kind of silly......but I'll give it another shot (maybe...)

I didnt get the impression that they were looking for any specific "form of equitation"...just basic good riding. I have to say that I do see some horrendous riding at endurance rides...hanging onto horses' mouths, stirrups really long, toes pointed down, just terribly unbalanced, crooked, etc. etc.
Not to say that everybody is like that!!!

Auventera Two
Jan. 22, 2008, 05:36 PM
CTR does not interest me one bit. The boots/gaiters thing is a huge turnoff also. As is the basic whole idea of being judged going down the trail. I didn't get out of the show ring just to be judged out on the trail!

The endurance vet checks is great with me. Those are real health issues. But being judged on how I attach my horse to the trailer or how I post over a log?? Please. Spare me.

If other people want to do it, and enjoy it, great. I'm happy there's something out there for you that you enjoy. I wouldn't want to see CTR go away just because I don't care for it. Being judged while going down the trail is a terd in the punchbowl for me. I mean, you have this gorgeous trail ahead of you, sitting on top a powerful equine, and you want to experience the freedom and the exhileration of the ride. Yes, you still have vet checks and rules, but at least 90% of the time it's just you, the horse, and the trail.

I met a woman last year who was absolutely RAVING on her accomplishment of having done a 25 mile CTR ride and getting whatever score. She went on and on about how 25 miles is absolutely greuling and asking a horse to traverse 25 miles while being JUDGED is such a feat. I kept my mouth shut (surprise surprise) but wanted to say that actually 25 miles is not that much.

BEARCAT
Jan. 22, 2008, 06:52 PM
You only asked for what we like, and there are a lot of things I don't like - the subjectivity of judges beeing one of them. I ride in my Pessoa Gen X saddle and certainly have never been asked to grab mane by my horse's ears, even here in the Rockies where we haver really steep hills...

On the other hand, to me, there is a reason for tying to the trailer a certain way. Maybe not something to worry about at a show or for short periods of times, but when the horse is tied to the trailer overnight, it can become a big safety issue. At my first Endurance ride, I saw at least 3 accidents at different trailers that could easily have been preventable, had the owners been made aware. One was a lead rope that was too long - horse got leg over it, panicked, pulled back. Another was water buckets on the ground, horse put foot in it, freaked out. Another was 2 horses tied too close, got in a fight over hay... Yes, those would have been "penalized" at most CTRs, but like any sport, learn the rules and you'll be fine. Everybody starts with 100 points and is mostly competing against one's self - it's our job to keep those points! ;)

So for me, CTRs have definitely taught me a lot, most of it directed at improving the welfare of my horse.

I've also had my share of negative experiences, most due to unfair judges, but I guess that happens in most equestrian sports, which are rather subjective by nature.

If anyone is interested in trying a CTR, I would highly recommend getting a mentor for your first ride. They will be able to give you tons of pointers about all those corky little things like the length of the lead rope, presenting your horse to the judges, etc, etc...

matryoshka
Jan. 23, 2008, 12:07 PM
I bet pony clubbers would be great at NATRC rides. They are real sticklers for safety. And, I do think it is mostly a good thing. It's just that I'm getting old and crotchedy, and I'm even more grumpy after a hard day of riding.

I was thrilled just to complete the 30 mile CTR on the little Arabian mare owned by Equihab. I wasn't looking for ribbons any more than I'd be looking for placing in the top 10 at an endurance ride. For me, it was the satisfaction of finding that the little mare was capable of going 30 miles, 15 of them barefoot, and finishing in good enough condition to complete within the allotted time. It was her first distance ride. I had not done the condition I would usually do for the distance, since it was a last-minute decision to compete her.

I think that being judged on the trail might adversely affect my riding, since I get self conscious. It's good to know it isn't exactly equitation they are looking for. I would like to do some judged trail rides for the obstacles this year with Butch. That will be good for teaching him manners. It sounds like the NATRC rides are like an ECTRA CTR and judged trail ride together? Do they give a certain amount of time for negotiating an obstacle? Can you bybass an obstacle and just take a hit on the points? There was a cameraderie on the CTR because of going in small groups. I was riding alone, so it was a great way to make friends on the trail.

If somebody wanted to ping me for my posting style on Butch, I'd have to put them in the saddle and let them figure out how to post low on him. I do end up doing two-point just to rest, but we alternate between two point and posting. That horse really bounces, especially when he's moving down the trail. It's one of the reasons why I think our distance might stay limited: he wastes a lot of energy bouncing up and down.

clanter
Jan. 23, 2008, 05:28 PM
Can you bybass an obstacle and just take a hit on the points?

yes every rider has that opition

paint hunter
Jan. 30, 2008, 06:39 PM
NATRC is a great program for teaching a rider how to ferry a horse cross country safely. Your horse gets multiple veterinary exams throughout the ride and the vet judge is very attuned to looking out for horses that may be tiring. Many times the vet judge notices something before the rider is aware of it. This is especially true in the novice division. I can't tell you how many times I see a horse who is sore on one side of his back, or has some girth scalding. I always turn to and ask the horsemanship judge if there is anything on her cards to reflect an unbalanced rider. Many times the horsemanship judge will tell me that the rider has been observed riding off to one side. Well, guess what. It shows up on your horse!

NATRC is designed with safety and good horsemanship in mind. No, it's not for everyone, but I think a year of NATRC with a young horse will give that horse an advantage in AERC. I am a big fan of NATRC, competed for many years. And yes, I know what I talk about above as I am a carded NATRC veterinary judge. See you on the trail!

matryoshka
Jan. 31, 2008, 09:04 AM
Many times the vet judge notices something before the rider is aware of it. This is especially true in the novice division. I can't tell you how many times I see a horse who is sore on one side of his back, or has some girth scalding. I always turn to and ask the horsemanship judge if there is anything on her cards to reflect an unbalanced rider. Many times the horsemanship judge will tell me that the rider has been observed riding off to one side. Well, guess what. It shows up on your horse!This is very helpful, especially for riders who haven't taken many riding lessons before launching into the sport. One would hope an instructor would pick up on such imbalances in a rider, but the quality of instruction varies widely. Heck, this would be good for me, too. I've been riding for over 30 years, but I have a bad hip. I wouldn't mind having somebody looking out for me riding too heavy on a side, either.

I just attended a "Connected Riding" clinic. She gave me a way to make sure that I sit evenly. That's what I've been looking for. Learned lots of good stuff. Also learned that my horse is too sore from weeks of lay-up from a bad hind-leg abscess, and I'll be missing the rides I had planned to attend this spring. Bummer for me, but my horse is more important!

CristyC
Jan. 31, 2008, 10:44 PM
If you'd like to see what Wickenburg Ride looks like, hit the link below.

The marked CTR trails are all on established trails, roads, 2-tracks or in a wash. Unless you get off trail there is not that much rock at all. :-)

http://cristyc.smugmug.com/gallery/2615669#249499102

LisaW-B
Feb. 1, 2008, 04:56 PM
Cristy--your pictures are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing them.

katarine
Feb. 1, 2008, 05:25 PM
I was at a horse camp last summer where they were holding a NATRC ride. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and taking it very seriously. I don't think it's quite my cup of tea...we do some fairly hairy stuff with our horses and I don't know what they'd think of us, LOL...nor I of their rules and regs. to each their own, I can definitely see the attraction to it, truly I do, though it's not for me...you get to compete and demo your very trail-broke horse, good horsemanship, etc,without the training and hours and joint wear of endurance. Something for everyone :)

CristyC
Feb. 1, 2008, 10:17 PM
...you get to compete and demo your very trail-broke horse, good horsemanship, etc,without the training and hours and joint wear of endurance. Something for everyone :)

Don't be fooled! There is all levels of horse and rider combinations possible at these things so not all riders are long established and perfect. In fact, most are not but like the challenge to trying to become fully rounded. CTR's can be a pretty good challenge. Either terrain-wise, speed wise, or obstacle-wise. Much of it depends on the individual ride managers, judges and trail masters. Every one is different with varying levels of fun and challenge. Horses in the Open division need to be every bit as fit as a 50 mile+ endurance horse and have good trail/obstcle skills to seriously compete.

Regarding the no leg protection rule, one of the original philosophies of NATRC was to promote the breeding and training of horses that are fit to do it. This includes taking care to avoid breeding or buying horses with conformation flaws that create interferences. (sound legs/feet) That said lots of interference issues can be solved by a farrier with good hoof balance skills...... one that looks at the whole horse and not just the hoof.

(nothing in here intended to start any debates, just attempting to be helpful!) :-)

and thank you, LisaW-B!

matryoshka
Feb. 2, 2008, 09:25 AM
Sorry CristyC, I know you said no debates, but...

Hoof boots are akin to using shoes. Unless the CTR people think we should select horses that can only do the mileage barefoot, boots should be allowed. And I know they are allowed, as long as they don't go above the coronet. These types are very hard to keep on, especially if your horse lands close enough to grab the heel of the boot.

Gaiters are only to keep the boots on and not to protect the pastern. Yes, they do protect the pastern, but only as an accidental by-product. The argument against them because they rub would be easy enough for the vets and judges to check at a ride. Heck, they check everything else. But again, If they are going to ban boots based on such an argument, then they should also judge the quality of the overall hoof and the farrier work. In this case, horses with contracted heels would be penalized, because that is avoidable with good farrier work. Riders whose horses exhibit thrush should also be penalized.

Let's look at it from another angle. Those of us who choose barefoot and boots generally have educated ourselved on proper hoof form and hoof health. Our horse's feet are likely to be examples of good husbandry. It wouldn't be a bad thing if the vets and judges had to extend their knowledge base to include hoof health issues, and to evaluate good form and balance when they judge an entrant for a ride. In fact, it would benefit everybody who enters a ride.

Neither the judge nor the vet ever picked up one of my horse's feet. Too bad, because her feet were looking awesome after 15 miles of barefoot!

CristyC
Feb. 2, 2008, 03:32 PM
Lots of horses go barefoot or with EZ boots with no problems. This argument will continue to come up over and over until the end of time. (A much loved, dearly departed horsemanship judge pointed that out many many years ago to me)

I'm a NATRC long-timer..... you should have seen the arguments that came up when there were shoeing rules! (as in how wide the shoe could be at the breakover, WHERE the breakover even was. Etc., etc. blah blah blah.) When they decided on the coronet band rule there weren't very many hoof boots to choose from. Now there are. It is the current rule and I'm glad to see it take a step in the right direction. The only way to make a dent in the current rule is to become a member and address the BOD. Arguing about it here won't be helpful. And besides, this was supposed to be a thread about what we LIKE about NATRC, not how to change their point of view.

As a personal note: if the hoof conditions were judged, there would be many many barefoot horse owners that would be mighty unhappy to learn that their trims are resulting in long toes and underrun and contracted heels and medial/lateral imbalances just as bad as many that are shod. Might be a really good thing for horses all over the country if they were to judge the workmanship of the riders' chosen farriers. Heck, horse show judges should grade that too. I know, I look, there are a lot of horses out there in unnecessary pain from hoof imbalances. But that is another thread and many owners don't have a clue what a good sound hoof should look like. I wish I could teach all horse owners about feet but but only a few of the few I have bothered to listen. They love their farrier and don't relate suspensory pain, muscle pain, back pain or navicular area pain to the shape of their horses hoof. (regardless of bare or shod). I don't spread propaganda for either bare or shod it better than the other.... each horse is it's own being and and shape and should get the trim or shoe job IT needs for the truest flight pattern and to keep the entire hoof capsule working efficiently as one single unit. I'll be happy to share a PDF article that my farrier and vet wrote on hoof balance via email for those that are interested. I won't debate on it in this particular thread. cristy@horse-photography.com

I like NATRC and what I have learned. It has helped me over the years become a better horsewoman. All the different judges with all their different points of view and the and the different things they look and all the things they make me question and research has helped me become fuller in my knowledge about horses and I am thankful. (and I'm not saying it's the only place you can do this.... it's just where I started) They do really try to continually learn what is best for the horse. They also are malleable and change their POV as they go within parameters of the original philosophies of the founders. I would not have learned what I have about the hoof without it. It even helped launch my career as a horse photographer so I get to see (and ride) all kinds of disciplines all the time and I still like NATRC. I'm thankful it was my base from which to launch.

saratoga
Feb. 3, 2008, 11:55 AM
Nice pics ChristyC!

I did the endurance ride in Wickenburg last weekend and talked to someone who's also done that NATRC ride. She said that A LOT of it was in the wash and much less on the trails that the AERC ride uses, which were quite rocky at times.

If I do this ride, I think I will foam regular easy boots on (oh joy!) If I just did the Novice (1 day, 24 miles, very slow) I figure I could do barefoot, especially if it was a lot of wash, but 55 miles over 2 days at a faster pace, I dont want to take a chance on. I really do wish they would change the boot rule. I think it makes the most sense for them too because I do believe that boot / barefoot is only going to grow especially with improvements to boots happening all the time.

matryoshka
Feb. 3, 2008, 12:41 PM
As a personal note: if the hoof conditions were judged, there would be many many barefoot horse owners that would be mighty unhappy to learn that their trims are resulting in long toes and underrun and contracted heels and medial/lateral imbalances just as bad as many that are shod. Might be a really good thing for horses all over the country if they were to judge the workmanship of the riders' chosen farriers. Heck, horse show judges should grade that too. I know, I look, there are a lot of horses out there in unnecessary pain from hoof imbalances. But that is another thread and many owners don't have a clue what a good sound hoof should look like. I wish I could teach all horse owners about feet but but only a few of the few I have bothered to listen. They love their farrier and don't relate suspensory pain, muscle pain, back pain or navicular area pain to the shape of their horses hoof. (regardless of bare or shod). I don't spread propaganda for either bare or shod it better than the other.... each horse is it's own being and and shape and should get the trim or shoe job IT needs for the truest flight pattern and to keep the entire hoof capsule working efficiently as one single unit. I'll be happy to share a PDF article that my farrier and vet wrote on hoof balance via email for those that are interested. I won't debate on it in this particular thread. cristy@horse-photography.com
This is the same thing I noticed. If hoof quality were judged and marked along with other issues, then perhaps riders would take more time learn about proper hoof balance and be better advocates for their horses with farriers and trimmers. I've seen "natural" trimmers who charge big bucks leave too long a toe and refuse to bring it back even though the horse stumbles and has pink in the white line. I'm not saying trimmers do a better job at hoof balance than farriers. I just think that if hoof health and rubbing of gaiters is used for an argument against boots, then the argument should go both ways and include poor shoeing and the harm it causes. If they were reviewing feet in general, then bad trims would also be noted and points deducted where appropriate. I do think that those of us who use boots learn our horses' feet pretty well and get more of an education about good hoof balance. I could be wrong, but that is the sense I get from others.

I'm not trying to sway the CTR people here but rather include food for thought. Including hoof condition into the equation seems to be a natural extension to the goals set out for the program. Healthy feet = sounder horse.

I'm also not going to join a group that does not allow me to compete my horse using our current booting situation in the hopes that I can sway them to allow it. If I can't play by their rules, I'll stick with endurance rather than try to change their organization to suit myself. Besides, they really wouldn't want me on the BOD, because I can be a real pain in the butt. :D

KC La Pierre's new product may allow me to compete my current horse in CTR anyway. It does not go over the coronet. It will be a pricey option, depending on how long it lasts, but hoof health should be more important than the costs involved. If this is the case and there is a viable option for those of us who usually have to employ gaiters, then I'll stop raising the point. There will then be a booting option for those of us who have round feet and don't want to put shoes on our horses (my guy has soft walls, and I don't want to weaken the bottom edge further by driving nails into them). BTW, I trim professionally and did learn to shoe, so I could apply the shoes myself if I wanted to.

The reason I don't just glue the boots on is because Easyboots do not fit the shape of my horse's feet, and I have to combine two different sizes to get them to fit. I've asked Easycare if they plan to make a rounder version of the Easyboot, and they say NO. Bummer. :no: