Whether you are a mounted shooter, team roper, barrel racer or a pleasure rider, your horse will benefit from time away from the stress and routine of an arena. Keeping a horse mentally fresh is a key part of success inside the arena, and the American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) is a great way to do just that.
Co-founder Carrie Scrima formed the Texas-originated ACTHA as a way for families and friends to get together and demonstrate their horsemanship skills out on the trail. This is not a speed, ‘extreme -type’ or endurance event, it’s a safe casual pace which covers an average of six miles and has a minimum of six judged obstacles. Judged obstacles are as natural as possible and can range from crossing water, stepping over logs, opening gates to going up and down embankments. Rides take around two to two and a half hours. Rides start with a briefing before trail riders head out, followed by lunch and awards.
Any breed of horse is welcome and any style of riding is welcome, whether it is English or western. Various divisions ensure the riders are correctly classed according to their abilities. Pleasure Division riders complete less difficult obstacles. Open Division riders complete the same obstacles but with a slightly greater degree of difficulty. Junior Division riders are between seven and 15 years of age, and they must be accompanied by a guardian. The Buddy Division, is open to any rider, over the age of seven, who would like to ride the trail, say the friend of a competitor, but they do not want to partake in the obstacles because they are either seasoning a young horse, or simply gaining experience out on the trail. Finally, the Scout division permits ACTHA non-members to join any ACTHA Competitive Trail Challenge.
ACTHA’s newest format is the ‘ACTHA Obstacle Challenge’ or ‘AOC’. Riders perform eight obstacles in a covered or open arena, pasture or field. Riders enjoy an opportunity to further their horsemanship skills in an enclosed setting by completing a set of eight obstacles along an obstacle course. Riders can bring multiple horses. Enjoy lunch and awards following completion.
Interested in becoming a Ride Host? Anyone can host a ride. You will need access to six miles of trail on public or private land. You will also need enough space to park approximately 20-25 trailers and some willing volunteers to help you coordinate and judge your event. ACTHA will assist you every step of the way, providing insurance for your event and a personal ACTHA Trailboss to guide you through the process. ACTHA will also provide training for you and your judges and access to our comprehensive website that handles all administrative tasks. Funds are donated to charity from every ride.
For more information about the American Competitive Trail Horse Association, visit our website at www.actha.us. You can also reach us by phone at 877/992-2842. Come visit with us at www.facebook.com/actha.