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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

August 27, 2011

Desensitizing to the Obstacles

Whew!  This ACTHA stuff is going to be much harder than it looks.  I got the board obstacle, the brush pulling obstacle, and the weaving pattern set up yesterday.  Currently I'm having trouble walking the board around the barrels on foot let alone under saddle!  Definitely this sport, though low key; requires a lot of handle on your horse.  Phebes and I worked with some of the new stuff with me on foot just getting her used to the new "stuff" out in the paddock.  She was pretty spooky at first but soon realized she wasn't going to be eaten by any of it except the hoola-hoop.  I could get her front feet in and still, but not her hinds.  The cones went well except for the pied piper effect.  I didn't shut the other two horses out and it was quite an interesting scene as I started dragging the brush with Phebes (me still on foot).  There was Phebes, and me, the rope, the branches, Journey, and Big Cree like a slow locomotive going around the paddock.  Phebes was pretty calm about this, and Journey and Cree were doing their best to EAT THE FREAKING obstacle!  Same with weaving obstacle.  Phebes and I would wind our way through, and Journey would follow behind knocking over the buckets with her nose.  Back to the board / barrel thing and Journey was right in the middle of that too...guess who is getting locked out next time?  *LOL*

I'm hoping to have some friends over in October for a campout, weanie roast, and we will practice ACTHA obstacles and then do a ten mile trail ride in the evening.  That should be fun, and Journey will get to visit with Teri (her previous "mom").  Still have a few more obstacles to put together (bridge, tarp, mailbox, slicker), maybe I can combine them into one.

Lida if you happen to read this I'd like to invite you and Doc over for the women's camp out in October, I'll let you know a date, haven't settled on one yet.  Also there is a wagon train going on down here Labor Day weekend at the Comer farm in case you are interested.                  ~ E.G.


  1. Sounds like fun! Wish I could come, too!

    My mare and Apache and I have competed in 5 ACTHA CTC's now. And we have two back-to-back ones coming up in September.
    We have spent lots of time practicing many of the obstacles at home and I have a permanent obstacle course set up in one of our paddocks.
    You know what's amusing about the ACTHA obstacles?

    You can get those obstacles done perfectly at home, and then go to the ACTHA ride and find out that the materials used are different than what you have used at home (so all bets are off that your horse will be as accepting of this new material), or the ride planners have added something a little extra to the obstacle.

    Case in point, our last ACTHA ride there was a bridge. It was glaringly bright white and even though it was different than what we have crossed, she crossed it easily. BUT WAIT! That's not all. Easy peasey bridge had a few extras added to it.
    3 bright white, life size wooden cows flanking both sides of the off side of the bridge and the only exit out the other side. gah!

    Apache was sure those wooden cows were going to eat her and I had to dismount to walk her past and in between those wooden cows.

    Also at home I've built a car wash/vine obstacle out of hay baling twine. Apache walks through like she's asleep. But on another ACTHA ride they had the same obstacle, except instead of using baling twine, they used a bright white shower curtain cut into at the top of a windy hill.
    I really wasn't sure if my mare would walk through that crazy ghost like apparatus, but she surprised me. She sniffed it once, then walked right on thru and then we turned around and had to walk back through it again...and she did perfectly. You just never know.

    Another example on an ACTHA CTC we competed in was for an Injured Animal obstacle. The injured animal is supposed to be a stuffed animal. Most injured animals would be brown in color, right?
    Not that one. It was a bright white, hairy gorilla, about the size of a collie! Most horses took one look and said "hell no!". lol!


  2. ACTHA rides are fun but challenging in that way. Doc will do anything in an arena with a tarp, but have it on out in the woods and he's like what the HECK is that doing out here and hanging from a tree no less. So the challenge of ACTHA is that even if you use the same obstacle the environment is different and your horse may react differently. But I LIKE that kind of challenge. :-)

    And I would love to go to a women's camp out! Though my October is already filling up! I only have the last 2 weekends free. But if I can come I will!