Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Putting Trail Class Back Into Trail Riding

Excitement. Determination. Camaraderie. Recreational and horse back riders alike love to trail ride. It's in our genes- jeans.

Lawrence (Chuck) Cannon
Riding in the rain.... Aah. Isn't this fun!?!  Are you one of those people that just loves trail riding no matter if it's rain or shine?  I know. I saw you at the 1st ACTHA Canada ride 2012 at Rabbit Run Farm in Flesherton, On.

Back in the early spring, I was working my booth at Markdale Greenhawk when Chuck and Jane Cannon approached me, looking unusually keen to talk.  I thought it was Chuck's usual interest in horse training.  In hindsight, it turned out to be an interesting turn of events for me.
  I was pleasantly surprised when he asked if I would be a judge for the 1st ACTHA Canada ride for 2012.  He went on to explain that he had started ACTHA Canada - American Competitive Trail Horse Association of Canada in January. Contestants are judged on how well they deal with obstacles while on a long trail ride. The parent association also tests the judges for approval.

You could just feel the passion Chuck has for bringing competitive trail riding to Canada.  (For more information please see the ACTHA Canada page on Facebook or call 519-373-9912). It's like putting the trail class at a show back into trail riding.

 I think it's a great idea.  I've built an obstacle course on my trails for conditioning.

 The day had arrived. June 3rd. You would love this place! It's the home of many of the endurance rides in this area.  Just gorgeous scenery!

  But it's a grey day in Grey county. No matter.

Picture this... I'm all set with my judge's sheets and assistant Kelly Looby, being escorted to my designated area. 6 judges are placed throughout the 6 mile trail course.  I'm covered in a yellow slicker. I'm standing under a wild apple tree waiting what seems like hours in the rain for the 1st contestant.  Luckily Kelly had brought chairs.
  I judged the Side Pass. On the trail, riders will occasionally have to by-pass a huge log if they think their horse cannot safely jump over it. It didn't matter if you rode english, western or trail rider (a hybrid of both- typically english under western tack), everyone was judged according to set criteria established by the parent association ACTHA.

   By the time I was done judging the 51 riders, my score sheets were soaked. I was soaked. Kelly was soaked. But it was a great time. I can't wait to do it again!

Bonfire. Prizes. Laughter. Food. What a better way to dry your clothes out.

There is just something about the feeling of satisfaction when you've had a great time, accomplished something great with your horse and had fun doing it with your friends.

  I just heard from Chuck that he is planning on organizing practise nights and more rides. I'm looking forward to more judging. I really enjoyed seeing people have fun on the trail with their horse while being challenged to become a better rider.

It gives you one more opportunity to trail ride with your horse and meet like minded people.

Putting my spin on Fun On The Trail
@KISS Reiners
Photos courtesy Chuck Cannon. 

1 comment:

  1. Next ACTHA ride is Oct. 28th at Windsong Ranch in Bognor.