Monday, June 28, 2010

Our First ACTHA Ride!

Last Saturday, several friends and I participated in our first American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) ride. It was held on the grounds of the amazing Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va.

Alyssa and I decided to travel together and to use my truck to pull her Brenderup trailer, since it has dividers installed (I've removed mine). We met up on Friday morning at the barn where she boards, and swapped trailers and packed in our stuff. We arrived at the horse center by around 2:00 pm.

When we got there, we were assigned stalls in the barn reserved for ACTHA riders. The coolest thing about this barn was the small, lighted covered arena in the middle of it! We got the horses settled in and took a look around. Five other friends arrived later.

Also on the grounds that weekend were a Morgan show, the Virginia Gaited Jubilee show (more on that in another post), and a dressage show. And the facilities weren't even full..

Later that evening, we played with and rode our horses around the grounds to get them used to things. The only thing that disturbed Guinness was the sight of the Morgan horses, both under saddle and in harness. The Morgans must have looked so bizarre in their padded shoes and were so distressed that Guinness seemed torn between rushing in to help them and running away! He stared and jumped and stared some more. The odd thing was that the other horses that we were with weren't bothered at all..

Alyssa and I both spent Friday night on cots in the back of separate Brenderup trailers. :-)

The next morning, we attended a rider briefing and then went back to get our horses tacked up. Four of us signed up to ride in a group - Diane, Alyssa, Shannon & me. All of us, except Alyssa, were riding "green" horses, but they all did GREAT.

We rode 7 miles and we tackled the following judged obstacles: a downhill/uphill slope with logs, a gate, moving a slicker, a mailbox, trot-dismount-mount, and a bridge. Unjudged obstacles that we encountered included: crossing a road (with assistance), a small river, and eating popsicles while riding.

We ended the ride hot and tired, then untacked to trot a final soundness vet check. Afterward, we hosed off our horses and ourselves, then ate lunch. Then we went back to the pavilion for the award ceremony where we learned that Alyssa had won 6th in the Pleasure division!

We left the Horse Center around 5:00 pm and headed home. On the way, we visited the Pink Cadillac Diner and had a little picnic in the shade of the trailer while the horses dozed.

Guinness was a champ through out the entire adventure. He "gaited" for me much of the ride and cantered with me at least 3 times. Nothing phased him. He even did well in his stall.

There is another ride planned for September and we plan to be there. But next time we will be competing!


Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Wow, Clare, this is awesome! Congrats (and congrats to Guiness too).

livingwaterfarm said...

Hey there!!
I'm glad you had a great time. When is the Sept ride and where?? I would like to get in on this too!!

Naturally Gaited said...

The next one that I know of for sure in VA will be held September 18 at Reba Farm ( I sent a note out to the PPG with details. I'm planning to attend! :-)