We missed a few of the ACTHA rides in KY earlier this year, but we are planning on going back full force. Mid-Summer’s Night and Rising Wind will be competing – with myself (Lisa) on Mid-Summer’s Night, and my father on Rising Wind.
For anyone who has not competed in an ACTHA Ride, let me just say how much fun they are! We have been competing with ACTHA since 2009.
The ride is between 4-6 miles, with predetermined obstacles staged throughout the ride. They can be interspersed as the ride host desires – all at the beginning, at the end, or equally distributed throughout the miles. It generally takes a few hours. All riders, be it open, pleasure, junior, or buddy, can ride together as they please. Generally they are separated into small groups and are given ride times. Group 1 goes out at 11:00, group 2 at 11:30, etc to make sure that there is no backup. The rides are clearly marked and obstacles are given the morning of the ride.
It’s gorgeous out at the Kentucky Equestrian Center. Pilot Knob, a high point of the Mountain Range nearby, is clearly visible and provides a breathtaking backdrop to the show ring and trails. There are plenty of natural water obstacles on the course. Each obstacle is numbered 1-6, and a judge and scribe will be waiting for you at that point. All competitors go one at a time when they reach the designated obstacle. After everyone in your group goes, you can continue down the trail to the next point.
When everyone is done, there is a vet check to make sure your horse is sound and the heart rate is not abnormally elevated. Then, you get to hang out and wait for scores to be tabulated. It’s a great way to get to know quite a few people with the same passion! There are riders that compete for national high points as well as others who just love to trail ride. There will be different breeds and disciplines – it is so neat to see everyone come together to enjoy the friendly competition and fun.
Anyone can compete – this is not just for upper level riders! There are different levels of obstacles for the different groups.
If you are interested, join www.actha.us and sign up for the ride! There are a few days left, and you can see some very gorgeous scenery the foothills of the Appalachians has to offer.