Hillsborough ACTHA Ride

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Tucker and I had fabulous weekend of trails.  We headed out on Saturday with one of our best riding partners and hit a trail system that was conveniently on the way to our Sunday’s ACTHA ride destination.  We rode for a couple of hours, drove the rest of the way to the ACTHA ride, tucked the horses in their stalls for the night and headed out to great dinner.  Sunday morning we were up early and in the first group of riders out.

It was such a fun ride with eight creative obstacles.  They were a great mix of challenging but doable.  I was pretty proud of my my guy who offered a lot and tried hard on all of them.  We had some really lovely communication moments and over all at the end I felt like we had a pretty solid ride.

We did struggle with the last obstacle which was a cantering challenge.  They had 4 cones set up in a wide open field on a nice little incline.  You were supposed to start trotting at the first cone, canter on the left lead to the second, trot at the third and stop at the fourth.  Keep in mind that typically when I have that much runway in a wide open field that goes on and on, it is time for us to use up that space.  Downward transitions after just a few strides in a wide open field….not likely….let alone caring what lead we are on.  Well as you can imagine my boy did exactly what I have taught him to do.  We started the obstacle solid…trot to the second cone and he transitioned nicely into the canter, on the right (but incorrect) lead 😦 We then blew past the third cone, blew past the fourth cone, blew past our riding partner standing at the end of the obstacle waiting on us until finally I was able to bend him around to a stop, laughing the entire time.  At least the judge thought my horse was pretty!!!!!  It was still fun and I guess I need to start riding a few more transitions in the wide open spaces.

To my surprise we got 2nd place.  There were 11 other riders in my division and 40 total riders in the event.  Even more exciting was getting a “judge’s pick” award.  Each obstacle judge picks one rider that for some reason stands out to them.  We were picked for our back up through the “L”.  She said she was so impressed with how light and soft we performed the maneuver.  She said you could tell I had a plan, I knew how to communicate it to my horse and that when she watched us ride she hoped that she could look like that with horse someday.  That may be the nicest thing anyone has ever said about my riding.

Such a very fun weekend on two really beautiful sets of trails.  I’m feeling pretty blessed this Monday.

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