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ACTHA rides? Anyone been on one?

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  • ACTHA rides? Anyone been on one?

    I just signed up for the American Competitve Trail Ride Association, and will be doing my first ride this spring with them. It sounds like fun, a 6 mile ride with 6 judged obstacles.
    (actha.us) Has anyone done one of these yet?

    I like the idea of having a goal for my trail horse, namely working through the various obstacles and mastering all of them. (they have a list online that a ride organizer can chooe from) I understand this group is new, in fact I did a search here and didn't find a lot.

    So for anyone who has participated already, what was your overall take on it? Were the events well organized, the rides good, etc? I signed up for the pleasure group rather than open. It said the obstacles were not as difficult. Anyone know what sort of things they might choose for that class as opposed to open?


  • #2
    I have not- too spendy and from my experience in trail horse competitions/obstacle courses, vibrant horses fail against dull horses. Guess which kind I'm riding


    • Original Poster

      "dull horses"?
      Wow. Thanks.


      • #4
        Look it's like anything- does the judge like a bright arab with personality or a super quiet mild mannered appy? The ideal trail horse in a judged competition is maybe not 'dull' looking but a whole different animal compared to the average wide eyed but brave ASB, the looky but honest Arab, etc...

        The really quiet and mild ones with auto on/off will score much better than a horse with 51% go/49% whoa. If your horse fits the picture, go for it. My DH's SSH would do great, say whoa and he grows roots. My own TWH stands but is ready to move this second. It looks different and is scored accordingly.


        • #5
          We hope you enjoy the ride!
          We're growing like mad...and would love to hear about your experiences with us, good and bad!
          We're pretty proud of what's happening, alot of horses are getting fed and a lot of reders are enjoying the "casual" competitions.
          The post about being pricey surprised me...$25 membership comes with $50 of credit to our sponsors stores. Rides cost $58 and over $1200 of prizes...sure don't see how we could do it for less.

          Originally posted by Lady Counselor View Post
          I just signed up for the American Competitve Trail Ride Association, and will be doing my first ride this spring with them. It sounds like fun, a 6 mile ride with 6 judged obstacles.
          (actha.us) Has anyone done one of these yet?

          I like the idea of having a goal for my trail horse, namely working through the various obstacles and mastering all of them. (they have a list online that a ride organizer can chooe from) I understand this group is new, in fact I did a search here and didn't find a lot.

          So for anyone who has participated already, what was your overall take on it? Were the events well organized, the rides good, etc? I signed up for the pleasure group rather than open. It said the obstacles were not as difficult. Anyone know what sort of things they might choose for that class as opposed to open?



          • #6
            I'm interested in hearing from participants too. The price is very reasonable and it looks like alot of fun.

            The fact that the rides are shorter both in length and time is appealing to riders who don't want to dedicate their entire weekend to the competition, but rather a few hours of competition out of a weekend of horse camping. Sounds perfect.

            My husband and I are going to try one this summer, there are several close by and we are looking forward to it but would really like to hear from others who have actually participated in the event.


            • #7
              I enjoyed the one I did last fall - except for the awful, awful weather (and you can't blame anyone for that!). The only negative for me was that there wasn't enough signage - our entire group missed a turn at one point, and even the floaters who came along couldn't find the right trail. I didn't find that "dull" horses placed well. It seemed like the horses with the best handles won - good sidepasses and such. I plan to do another ride next month.


              • #8
                I havent done any, but it sounds like it would be fun.

                The only gripe I have about that organization is the name! It is much different than the usual "competitive trail" in that the distance is much shorter and fitness of the horse has nothing to do with it. There were already so many different CTR orgs out there that it gets confusing. All of them are judged on the horses' condition / fitnesss although NATRC also has obstacles as well. But the ACTHA seems to be a completely different deal altogether so I wish it wasnt lumped in with Competitive Trail!


                • #9
                  I participated in an ACTHA ride in November. We did not have the best weather, but who can control that. I thought it was well organized, and I enjoyed it. ACTHA has guidelines for the organizers, but I imagine that there will be quite a bit of variety in different rides depending on the people organizing each ride. I placed third and went home with a five gallon bucket full of neat prizes and gift certificates. First and second places got even more neat stuff, and everyone who competed went home with prizes. I don't know if that is true of every ACTHA ride or just the one I did. I'm a slow trail rider. I enjoy moseying along, taking in the scenery and talking to friends. I would never consider a NATRC ride, but this was very different. I hope it takes off with several rides in my area.


                  • #10
                    Interesting points...allow me to offer the following;
                    1-Anyone wishing to speak to more members of ACTHA in your general area just write me and we will forward some names and emails at random.
                    2. ACTHA is indeed our name a "Competitive Trail" is indeed our game! We find a shorter one day venue (6-10 miles) open up the sport to more people who don't have time to leg up their horses for a longer more demanding venue. There are wonderful venues for those with the time and desire for multi day longer and more demanding events. Our venue allows for free time for the "other" day of the week end if desired.
                    One other diff is Buddy Riders. We find a fair number wish to come, check it out or have no desire in competiting. (Although most compete on their very next ride when they see the prizes and that the obstacles, while demanding, are not dangerous etc.). As far as I know we are unique in this division.
                    3. Winners? With the Cause being foremost...we are trying for $1 million to rescues in 2010, everyone is a winner. But our statistically weighted judging system (SWJS) the horse and rider who communicate and execute best will place high. We are really proud of our system and feel for the most part the best teams win. 6 judges, one for each obstacle...impartiality...some like it hot, some like it cold...we just like horses.
                    Enjoy y'all


                    • #11
                      ACTHA ride

                      I just went on my first ACTHA ride. The affiliate that had the ride were very nice and the organization of the ride was spot on.
                      My horse was in fairly good shape as I have been able to ride all winter for the most part. The trail at this ride was over 6 miles probably closer to 9 and extremely rough, up and down ravines and climbing to the top of high mesas. The majority of the obstacles were at the bottom prior to the heavy climbing. One obstacle was at the top of this huge climb then the trail consisted of a big loop and another mile or so of flat terrain then down a very steep hill about 200 yards long with the last obstacle at the bottom. Being in the first bunch to leave out everyone stayed on the marked trail and got way out of sight of me, however I followed the hoofprints so I know they completed the loop. Keep in mind this loop was also steep and up and down hill with alot of climbing and ascending down hills. As I was coming back down I was running into riders in the second and third bunch. They asked me if there were any more obstacles on the loop and I told them no. They began turning around, not completing the trail as the rest of us had. I think this could be an issue that should be addressed by ACTHA. Do these horses that did not ride the whole trail have an advantage at the last obstacle that maybe the first group would not? Are they not as tired? Is it fair to the other riders who finish the trail? Should they be disqualified? Without extra spotters on the trail how does the affiliate know this is happening? Just an observation, not a complaint. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.


                      • #12
                        There are quite a few of these rides coming up near our area, so I am happy to hear folks that have done the rides!!


                        • #13
                          I'd be very interested in trying some of these rides and am curious about the "obstacles." Are they like a judged test in a specific spot? Jumping a log, ducking under something, crossing a stream?

                          Inquiring minds and all. . .
                          Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for the input from folks who have been. Jollybadger, if you go to the website (actha.us) there is a rule book that lists all the obstacles and how they want them done.

                            On a rather funny side note, I was working with my horse the other day and decided to practice the drag the-log exercise.

                            Well, I didn't have a log, so I used a tire. Wondered briefly if that would spook him. Tied it on a lungeline, dragged it behind him ok, although he watched it like a hawk. I then dismounted and walked away dragging it behind me.

                            He started chasing after it, trying to stick his nose in the tire.
                            I proceeded to twist and turn and play catch the tire with him. He eventually got it with his nose and started shoving it around. It was pretty funny.
                            It was then that I remembered that I am using one of those paddock feeders....that fits inside of a tire...


                            • #15
                              I might try one this summer - although watching the obstacle videos on the website, the judging is soooo subjective. Some of them I would have scored very differently....
                              "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                              • #16
                                I have thought about participating in one of the rides but decided against it. I don't need to pay someone to tell me I have a fantastic trail horse. It IS expensive. Add the cost of membership, fees for the ride, camping and associated expenses and it's less costly for me to participate in the cowboy challenges and judged trail rides locally.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by tomscrima View Post
                                  2. ACTHA is indeed our name a "Competitive Trail" is indeed our game! We find a shorter one day venue (6-10 miles) open up the sport to more people who don't have time to leg up their horses for a longer more demanding venue.
                                  "Competitive Trail" has always been a test of the horse's fitness and condition (although NATRC has obstacles as well so you get two scores) so I wish this group had picked another name to differentiate itself, since it is a completely different venue. I manage a 25 mile CTR and some people contacting me in the past few years think that it is more of an ACTHA type ride- just mosey along for a few hours and do some obstacles and its not. So it does kind of bug me. I guess it would be like if someone decided to start a sport that they called "dressage" where you rode around on the trail bareback.


                                  • #18
                                    You certainly have a point Sunshine Acres. I will go on a couple of more rides then I'm done. You are awarded ACHTA "bucks" for money unless there is a jackpot involved in the Open. You only have 2 weeks to spend the "bucks" with one of ACTHA's sponsors which is fine but I think they need to give you at least 30 days to redeem them. Also I've found you usually always have to add money along with it to get the product. This is a new organization and there are probably alot of bugs that still need to be worked out as I have mentioned above in an earlier posts. They advertise 6 miles with 6 obstacles. That was one thing that attracted me. I'm finding the rides are sometimes over 6 miles and for someone my age and physical condition another 2,3 or 4 miles can really make you miserable. I wish they would stick to the 6 mile rule but it probably won't happen. That's ok they won't get me back next year.


                                    • #19
                                      I did one back in Oct/Nov (Bouse Ranch in Angleton TX), but we just rode for the experience we weren't being judged, but they let us attempt the obstacles just the same. It was a one day, no camping one for me... It was lots of fun, relaxed, good food, and all the prizes were fun...

                                      I thought everyone was very helpful and it was well run/ organized. It seemed that those folks who won their division had horses of all different types and sizes, they just completed the obstacles the best/ with the least amount of penalties. Some of the obstacles were: 1)walking while mounted through a pool noodle curtain (my guy didn't like that one!), 2) backing up a small natural incline, then doing a 180 and walking down the opposite side, 3) walking over a small bridge and stopping in the middle for 5 secs, 4) opening and closing a gate while mounted etc.

                                      I think my guy was the only TB there, lots of QHs, Paints, a few Saddlebreds, even a mule or two!
                                      View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com