Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Riding on Halloween

Walkin N Circles equine rescue ranch has been holding several ACTHA rides As a way to earn money to help support their rescued horse population. These ACTHA have two benefits, they give organizations a way to earn money and they give people like me a place to bring my horses to compete and have fun.

ACTHA rides are set up to be a one day one competition ride. So when an organization hosts two days of rides, that means it will be two separate competitions with two separate chances to have fun and attempt to bring home some money.

So Saturday was the first competition of the weekend. The weather was beautiful with a fairly light wind and sunny.

Our first obstacle was a water crossing. Instead of a nice clear stream, they found an old, stinky cattle stock pond being fed by a really creaky noisy wind mill. Quite a few horses weren't to fond of that stinky stock pond and the deep mud on the edges. Even Ladybug was thinking something along the lines of "ARE you CRAZY" but after a few seconds of convincing, she stepped right on off into that pond and on to the other side. It quite surprised me that she'd do that since she's pretty much refused to do it here at home several times. She scored a 7 mostly for the hesitation and I got a rider score of 9. That was a pretty good start to our ride.

The second obstacle was a weave trot through a set of cones. But to make it a bit harder, the ride management found these little scarecrows on sticks to place in each cone. Ladybug didn't even bat an eye at this one. We started out and smoothly went through the whole course of cones with no problem. We each got a perfect 10 on this with a plus each. It was our best obstacle of the day.

The third obstacle was to open a gate and ride through. Pretty simple and easy, Ladybug did hesitate for a second as we approached the gate, but she still scored a 9 and I got a rider score of 10.

The next two obstacles we didn't do good at all on. But I guess when you don't practice, you can't expect good results. I"d only seen obstacle 4 on the website but hadn't developed an obstacle at home yet. It's called a pinwheel. You need two barrels and one 2x4 board with a rope handle on one end. You set up the two barrels so that the board lays across both of them. Then you ride your horse up to the rope handle on the board and pick up that end of the board and walk all the way around the two barrels without dropping the board off the barrel. Once you make a full circle, you place the handle end back on the barrel you took it off of. Definately not an easy obstacle. I dropped the board off the barrel almost as soon as I picked up the rope end. So we ended up with zeros on that obstacle.

Obstacle #5 was also one of my bad obstacles. We had to drag a bag of cans from one barrel to the other barrel. My biggest problem was actually reaching the rope on the barrel in the first place. Once I got a hold of the rope, I managed to drag the bag to the second barrel, but we ran out of time and didn't get the obstacle completely finished. another set of complete zeros.

Obstacle #6 was the Slicker and Hat pick up. You had to ride your horse to the first post where the Slicker was hanging, take the slicker off the post and lay it across your horses neck. once you have the slicker, the judges assistant hands you a stick to use to pick up the hat from the ground. Ladybug and I completed this all quite well and we started to ride off to the second post to place the hat and slicker back on. Almost to the second post the slicker starts to fall off the horses neck so I reach to grab it to prevent it from falling and disqualifying me. Seems that must have been some sign of weakness to the judge because the slicker was falling off the side away from him. I was able to complete this obstacle in the time frame and based on the full ride scores, I was one of only 11 riders out of the 31 in my division who was able to complete it. No one else in my group was able to complete it. My only issue with the obstacle was the judges score. Ladybug got a 5 and I got a 4 on the rider score. Based on our performance and the fact that only 1/3 of all riders at the event were even able to complete this obstacle I don't agree at all with the judges score. Ladybug and I were not even able to touch the slicker at our first event in July and at this one we were able to complete both the slicker pick up and the hat pick up. I can't protest the score, but I do know we were better than the below average score we were given.

Obstacle #7 our last obstacle was a trot into a box and stop at the flag and turn around and trot back out. I think I rode past the marker a little bit, but we completed the obstacle and got 7's each. So it was a fairly good job for us.

Our overall placing was 19th out of 31 riders for this days competition. Still not to bad considering we blew two obstacles completely. After the ride at the awards ceremony, they also help a raffle for a pair of donated easy boots and a container of hoof supplement. I bought three tickets at $10.00 each and won! So at least I won something.

I'm still waiting on some ride photos and will post them as soon as I get them 


  1. Sounds like some of the obstacles were quite challenging. Good job overall!!

  2. Sounds like you and Ladybug did very well, all things considered. I agree that the slicker score does not really accurately reflect your success but ,you know you did well so...

  3. I'm sorry you weren't happy with some of the obstacles or judging.
    You just never know what a judge might see that you can't see from the saddle. I felt similarily when I rode Apache at the last 3 ACTHA events and got lower than expeced scores.
    After working as a judge now I can understand what the other judges probably saw when Apache and I tried completing the obstacles.
    The weekend's rides we're very challenging for many riders and horses because of the fierce winds.
    Sounds like Lady Bug did a nice job for you and that's all that matters....and that you had a fun time.

    I just sent you the photo I took of you and Carolyn on Sunday at my Noise Control obstacle.


  4. Normally I wouldn't complain about any score because usually I get what I think is reasonable. This one time on this one obstacle, I honestly didn't think it was reasonable. I know Ladybug and I made a few mistakes on the obstacle. I wasn't expecting perfect 10's, but I certainly wasn't expecting to get such a low score and I was also upset by the judges comments. I worked hard practicing on that obstacle and I was confident we could complete it because I'd practiced it at home multiple times. To be told that I lacked confidence on an obstacle that I knew we could do and that we did better than anyone else in my group, was pretty much a slap in the face in my opinion.

    I won't complain about obstacles that I screw up on or didn't train or practice for, but I think if I've practiced and trained and completed an obstacle, I have the right to decide if the score was fair.

  5. Ps Lisa thank you for the photo it was very nice.

  6. Sure you do, Anna. But unfortunately, as you know, judging is mostly subjective. Who knows what the judge saw.
    I was pretty frustrated after the last ACTHA CTC Apache and I did together. We had practiced and honed our skills for weeks and I felt we should have gotten straight 10s for the mailbox, slicker and water because we did everything we were supposed to do without any "bumps or stalls"....but we sure didn't. Our so-so scores were not expected at all.
    And we didn't get comments to cue us into why we didn't get straight 10s either.

    I'm still happy with Apache's and my performance and know we did the best we could, and just left it at that. Of course, I don't participate in the CTCs for score and points, but just for fun and for something to work on together with my horse as a team.

    I'm glad you liked the photo. I like how alert Bug is to Scary Dude with her neck curved and ears pointed forward.