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View Full Version : America's Favorite Trail Horse - Yeah or nay?



BEARCAT
Feb. 23, 2011, 02:16 PM
Has anyone signed up for "America's Favorite Trail Horse?"
http://www.actha.us/index.php?option=com_association&view=guest&area=afth

Does it make sense?

Basically you pay $150 for a 3 minute audition - you don't know where or when yet, then I think 100 move up to finals in TX.

pintosrock
Feb. 23, 2011, 04:49 PM
I'd like to do it, but the closest audition location to us is 6+ hours away. I can't justify that to my husband, for 3 min for $150. Sounds like they may have some rides (like their regular competitions) at some audition sites over the same weekend, but I'm sure you'd have to pay the usual $58 fee.

Especially since the audition is going to be set up like an arena trail class. Sorry, those are offered locally (with more than 3 obstacles) for $20 a pop (plus some for fees, and you could add on other classes...) It makes the AFTH not a good option.

Nizzina
Feb. 23, 2011, 08:09 PM
I was checking it out too. The $149 fee gets you the arena audition, the interview, and if you move on to the next level there's no additional fee. Looks like you can request financial assistance in getting to the finals as well. There is the opportunity to work with some of the "big name" clinicians to help you along the way. I think if you have a horse with great personality and reasonable trail sense, the opportunity exists for this to pay off big time.

Looks like they are adding locations all the time and that there are locations within 200 miles of anyone. There's a location here in VA now, not far from Charlottesville. I'm thinking of participating seeing as how its so close.

pintosrock
Feb. 24, 2011, 02:14 PM
Looks like they are adding locations all the time and that there are locations within 200 miles of anyone.

Just checked. Nearest one to me is 330 miles. Google says that's 5.5 hours away, and I always add time for the horse trailer. Too far to travel for a very short audition!

I checked out the map on the ACTHA page. It looks like I really am in a hole without nearby rides!

tiggger
Feb. 24, 2011, 03:04 PM
my trainer/instructor and her fjord are registered!! Im so excited for them!

tiggger
Feb. 24, 2011, 03:10 PM
Just checked. Nearest one to me is 330 miles. Google says that's 5.5 hours away, and I always add time for the horse trailer. Too far to travel for a very short audition!

I checked out the map on the ACTHA page. It looks like I really am in a hole without nearby rides!


my friend got them to put up an audition site close to us. All she did was email them to tell them she was interested but there wasnt a site close enough ( the closest was 8 hours away in NY.) they emailed her back and asked her if she could give them any places that had the required site requirements
1. Covered arena
2. Parking for 60-100 trailers
3. Close proximity to major highways
Ideal… but not a requirement – These are where the location can make some money!
1. Stalls available for overnight stays
2. Camping available or hotels nearby
3. Concessions
4. Access to a trailhead or trails on property

She emailed them a list and within a week, there is a site less than 2 hours from here, so if you are interested give them an email!

BEARCAT
Feb. 26, 2011, 10:52 AM
I signed up for it way back when, because I think my horse would be a great candidate for it, but I think I will bail out (they do offer a full refund before March 15, which is nice).
Just doesn't make sense for me to travel 300 miles for a 3 minute audition. You do 3 obstacles but cannot do any "tricks" and that hardly seem long enough to showcase your horse. (Though I do understand the time limit if they have a lot of applicants.) Maybe in the future, they will let people send in video auditions that would really showcase their horse?

NC Trail Girl
Feb. 27, 2011, 06:20 PM
Any idea what the 3 obstacles are?

Nizzina
Feb. 28, 2011, 07:27 AM
They're being posted today on Facebook! they've added to it so there is a fourth obstacle, and there is an interview section to showcase what makes your horse special, so it can be personal.

spookhorse
Feb. 28, 2011, 08:06 PM
Belle and I are totally throwing in for it!

Belle now has a Facebook page and could use friends- we'll update stuff as it goes on.

If you want to add Belle just do a search for "Belle Breezing" and you should find her pretty easy :D

katyb
Feb. 28, 2011, 10:13 PM
I'm not an ACTHA fan, so no.

First, they have an HSUS connection.

Second, I can't compete in a riding halter - which I have to say, if my horse can do in a halter what "America's Favorite Trail Horse" can do in a bit, then I think my horse wins!

Third, ACTHA hasn't done a great job organizing their trail challenges, so I can't imagine this will be a lot better. I think they are an organization with good intentions, but they aren't quite together enough to make it work.

Nizzina
Mar. 1, 2011, 05:13 PM
They are not associated with HSUS but made a contribution in 2010. They choose a charity annually to donate an amount to - the 2011 charity is the Mustang Heritage Foundation, then yet another one for 2012.

Have you actually contacted ACTHA about riding in your riding halter as opposed to a bridle and explained why? I've found that education and making sure all of the facts are known usually provides a satisfactory outcome for everyone. I'm sure they would listen to valid reasons..

katyb
Mar. 1, 2011, 08:15 PM
Yes, I've discussed the issue with ACTHA. I cleared it before I joined. Then, in an email loop, I heard that someone had been disqualified for riding in headgear that was both bitless and without leverage. There was a lot of back and forth with ACTHA at that point, and we were told that hackamores with leverage were okay, but riding halters were not. Recently, I received a phone call from someone in my area who was promoting a ride. I told her why I wouldn't ride, but she didn't think I understood the rule correctly. She has a conference call with ACTHA that night, and she called me back the next day and said that I could not ride an ATCHA ride in a riding halter. She did say she would be lobbying for the rule to be changed.

While Tom said ACTHA isn't giving a donation to HSUS as their primary charity this year, he hasn't stated clearly enough for me that the association has ended. When questioned about HSUS before the world record attempt last year, he stated that he was a huge HSUS fan and that he was proud of the association. There was, again, a lot of discussion on the email loop, and Tom was a passionate supporter of HSUS throughout the discussion.

SpottedTApps
Mar. 2, 2011, 12:35 PM
I joined on impulse even though I'd never done competitive trail riding, just recreational. I attended my first ACTHA in January and had a blast!

Nizzina, can you tell me where to find the obstacle list? I looked on FB, but couldn't find it. Granted, my FB skills are limited.

pintosrock
Mar. 2, 2011, 02:55 PM
It's posted on the main ACTHA page now. You have to stop, back, sidepass, and trot over deadfall (cavaletti). I was extremely disappointed. That is IT?! Any trail horse worth their salt can do THAT! I have no clue how they're going to judge that. I was hoping for more obscure, interesting obstacles! So, definitely not paying $150 for THAT!

sonata
Mar. 3, 2011, 09:23 AM
Katyb

What does your riding halter look like and where did you purchase it. I ride my mare in an english hackamore. I have for years, but if I could find something she may like better, I'm all for it. I did an ACTHA ride and had fun. The judging was pretty good, but for the money, I prefer the judged trail rides. Less money, more obstacles and good causes.

SpottedTApps
Mar. 3, 2011, 11:36 AM
Definately bummed by the 4 obstacles. Here we've been boning up on our trail skills, and it turns out it's just arena work. :(

katyb
Mar. 3, 2011, 12:12 PM
Here it is -

http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i334/jula4me/IMG_4497.jpg

JollyBadger
Mar. 3, 2011, 01:15 PM
$150 is a little steep - especially JUST for a brief audition, not to mention expenses of travel with gas/diesel prices the way they are!:eek:

For that amount, I could pay for a long weekend of camping and riding closer to home.:yes:

Trakehner
Mar. 3, 2011, 01:46 PM
Too expensive for not much.

I've looked at one of their rides...3+ hours each way for a 6 mile ride...and not cheap to partake.

Plus, anyone who has a horse and gives money, no matter how deserving the sales-patter is, to the likes of Peta-Pachenko/HSUS doesn't get anything from me.

tomscrima
Mar. 3, 2011, 02:20 PM
for those of you more adventurous type willing to try something new consider this...while the 4 obstacles chosen for the audition may "seem" simple please realize that while safe they are indeed challenging. Sure anyone can trott dead fall...but cleanly? Anyone can stop but at the exact spot they want? Anyone can back and side pass...but do really think we'd make it that simple?

Doing anything is easy...do it well takes talent and communications skills.

Our members renew at a 95%+ rate...we must be doing something fun and right.

Enjoy...we are trying to add to our 21 audition locations but logistics are tough.
Enjoy and ride on! And ride with a purpose, ride with ACTHA, over $400,000 given to charities and the cause...full equine employment in loving homes! They deserve it!
Tom

SpottedTApps
Mar. 4, 2011, 10:53 AM
I personally enjoyed the ACTHA ride I attended in January. The $58 fee was quite a bit less than entering a breed show for the day. If I had gone to the same facility to trail ride, there would have been a $15 facility use fee. So in actuality the ride cost me $43. I met a ton of new people, I got to do some new challenges and it was all fun.

I camp and trail ride often with no purpose in mind besides that, so this was fun for something a little different. Of course, I have the personality that I like to compete though and a lot of people don't. If you don't like any form of competition I can see why you wouldn't want to do competitive trail riding. That doesn't make it right or wrong, just a personal preference.

While I am bummed that this audition isn't on a trail ride as I originally believed (part of the reason I signed up for it), it is what it is and we go forward from here. I do hope this doesn't turn into a search for a western pleasure type trail horse, because there are competitions for that everywhere.

My fiance described it best this morning. This isn't a trail competition, it is a casting call. OK, I get that. I'm just used to the horse world not the screen world.

Onward and upward!

Nizzina
Mar. 4, 2011, 11:17 AM
Some sites are incorporating a ride on the trails the day of the audition and are allowing camping and a ride the next day. (VA is)

BEARCAT
Mar. 4, 2011, 11:48 AM
While I can see the reasonning behind those "simple" obstacles from the management's point of view, I don't think they make that much sense from the contestants'.
With $150 audition fee (do people usually pay for "casting calls?) plus I would guess an average of $100 for fuel, another $20-$50 if you have to stay overnight, it's a bit steep for not being able to really showcase your horse.
I originally signed up because I have a Mustang (and they are supporting the mustang foundation this year) who is a wonderful trail horse - will go through anything, can fetch your glove if you drop it on the trail, and also does other "tricks" (Spanish Walk, bow) as well as dressage and eventing.
But the venue they want me to go to is close to 150 miles away 1 way, and they want me to be there at 9:00 am - for my 3 minute audition. I would love to go to the finals as I have friends in Austin and I think we would have a pretty good chance at making it to the top. Then again, hard to decipher what the criteria are. I ride English, so is that a strike against me? They ask if your horse is a rescue when you sign up - what constitutes a "rescue" and does that count in my favor or not?
At least they will offer a full refund, which is great.
Maybe next year they will be more organized and have other activities offered on that day to make it worthwhile.

Best of luck to those staying in the game - I'll be rooting for you! :)

SpottedTApps
Mar. 4, 2011, 02:16 PM
So far I haven't seen anything about incorporating a ride during auditions in my area. That would be nice.

I understand Bearcat. I too wonder what they are judging on. Like I say, I just hope it doesn't turn into a pleasure type show. I can respect the serious skill needed to accomplish those classes, but I am hoping this is something different.

SpottedTApps
Mar. 14, 2011, 01:00 PM
So they have also added on 45 seconds for "freestyle" after you complete your pattern.

OK. Now what to do for the freestyle portion?

Kyzteke
Mar. 20, 2011, 12:09 PM
for those of you more adventurous type willing to try something new consider this...while the 4 obstacles chosen for the audition may "seem" simple please realize that while safe they are indeed challenging. Sure anyone can trott dead fall...but cleanly? Anyone can stop but at the exact spot they want? Anyone can back and side pass...but do really think we'd make it that simple?


Geeze, it sounds like "America's Favorite Trail Horse" is a lower level eventer or Hunter. They can do all those things VERY easily....;)