Monday, September 28, 2015

ACTHA Arena Obstacle Challenge Results 26 Sept 2015

This past weekend saw us hosting an Arena Obstacle Challenge (AOC) under the sponsorship and guidelines of the American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA). We had 14 riders sign up to compete, relatively small by national ACTHA standards, but par for ACTHA participation in the West Texas/Southern New Mexico area.  This event was a benefit for the Perfect Harmony Horse Rescue and Sanctuary.

Division Winners (see photo below).  Open Division: Luanne Santiago, Competitive Pleasure Division: Marianne Bailey tied with her daughter Jessica Bailey, but had more pluses, so Marianne took home the Blue Ribbon and the first place Plaque.  Competitive Novice Division: Terri Rutter. Scout Division: Angela Beltran-Flores.   Additionally, each of my judges, Vicki Maly and Arden Evans each gave out a custom hoof pick to the rider who made the biggest positive impression on them.  Luanne Santiago and Dan Bailey, riding a huge Percheron, won the hoof picks.

We obtained great national and local level prize support from sponsors including Smart Pak, Hoof Wraps, Camel Bak, Noble Outfitters, Eclectic Horseman magazine, and Sanctuary Leather, while we had great local sponsorship including Alamo Automotive, Riders Tack and Feed, Diamond Bar V Horseshoeing, Leonard Benally and Chaff Haye. The donated prizes allowed us to put $1,300 worth of prizes back into the hands of competitors.   

The obstacle course consisted of the following obstacles:

Trot Weave - weave between six cones placed 7.5 feet apart, turn and repeat.

Stop and Back - stop your horse on a spot and back in a straight line for a distance determine by your competitive division.

Drag - retrieve a rope off the fence and drag an orange bag of cans about 25 fee.  Open Division had to also back their horse while dragging the bag.

360 Degree Turn - riders entered a 6' x 6' square box and executed a 360 degree turn; Open had to also turn 360 in the opposite direction as well.

Slicker - riders had to retrieve a slicker from the fence and run their horses necks and hips with the slicker.

Gate - open, go through and re-latch a 10' gate.

Cowboy Curtain - or what ACTHA calls the Vine Simulator. Riders rode through the rope curtain and Open Division had to back their horses through it.

Circle Trot - riders trotted around a 35 foot circle, enter the circle and exit at the trot going the opposite direction.

ACTHA competitors and their horses are judged per obstacle on a 10 point per rider and 10 point per horse system.  The bottom line on ACTHA competitions, be they Competitive Trail Challenges or AOC's is that you expose your horse to more training opportunities, some of which you may not think of, continuing to build that brave, safe trail horse.  And as it is with horses, some were great at dragging a loud, clanking bag but fearful of a yellow slicker handing on the fence, and vice versa. 

My objective for the chosen obstacles was to balance the pure horsemanship tasks with prop related obstacles. In the video below, I am doing the Rider's Brief explaining the negotiation of each obstacle.

Prior to the AOC, I held a short clinic on backing your horse in an arc and extending that to a circle and figure 8. As well as a competitive strategy on jogging into the obstacle, stopping and immediatley backing to get momentum for the backing in an arc as most ACTHA obstacles give you 60 seconds to complete an obstacle and time can be ate up pretty quick on the Figure 8 Backing when you are in deep sand or with traffic cones placed far apart.

The competitors and their horses also had 30 minutes or so to warmup on my fixed obstacle course which included single and two level Bridges, Cones for backing in arcs, Two Step platform, Narrow Figure Z path, Nerf Bar obstacles and a heavy Rope Curtain.

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