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We will never accuse ourselves of knowing a great deal about horses, though we’ve ridden when much younger. But we can tell when folks are having fun with their horses and thus when 50 riders from Texas and Louisiana took part in the American Competitive Trail Horse Association’s event at the nature preserve in Mineola, we could tell they enjoyed their event and the surroundings.
They left behind comments such as “the best” they’d ever been to.
“This place is now on their list of the top places that host the ACTHA CTC trail rides,” said one of the planners.
And to think, she said, “Most riders did not know this place existed.”
For those not familiar with the organization, their rides include obstacles with names like “under the rainbow” and “bump on the road.” The first involves walking your horse through artificial vines” or in the case of the open class, backing your horse through the same obstacle. It’s not as easy at it sounds and each rider and horse are timed and a score given by judges.
The other obstacle was actually a large white plastic pipe and the horse is urged to stop over the pipe and then side pass right to the end of the pipe. Again, it wasn’t that easy for some horses.
Connie Woodhouse was a good example of the difficulties involved. With the sun coming out from behind a cloud, her horse was already showing signs of not wanting to step over the object even as the horse before them was doing so.
It took Woodhouse several attempts to do so, but as suddenly as the glare arrived, the sun slid behind another cloud and the horse went over the “bump on the road” obstacle.
Other obstacles to overcome were “London Bridge” … “The Roller Coaster” … “What a Drag” and “Zig Zag.”
They involved walking over a bridge within 45 seconds, walking down a narrow trail with a rather steep incline and stepping over a log and then proceeding up hill within a 60 second time limit and dragging a log behind the horse. The final obstacle involved trotting and weaving through barrels.
Quite honestly we weren’t concerned with who won or lost but how much fun they appeared to have.