|Washington State Horse Park|
The park is really going to be an amazing facility when complete. It already has the bare bones that give you the feel for what the final outcome will be. The arena's are amazing - huge! The cross-country course is beautiful, nicely laid-out over the rolling forested hillside & with good lines-of-sight for the jumps we saw. The Bolander Extreme Trail Course looks challenging, it's in a gully area which helped with the lay-out of the obstacles. For a rider who likes miles & miles of trail though - it's disappointing. From what I rode & understand in talking with others who have memberships, it's mostly limited to six-miles, without looping back. Maybe in the future there will be the possibility of connecting to other trail systems that may be in the area.
|Route of the ride~|
|Our Saddle-Up group!|
|Jennifer on Idaho, Connie on Farah|
|Our return with only one obstacle remaining.|
Jennifer went first, Farah did not want to be left behind... so Gail kept us company while we waited our turn. Butch didn't get the first part of us unhooking the gate & going through - so the video above starts as I was deciding how to latch it! Once Farah figured out that Idaho was waiting for her - she paid attention to what I was asking her to do! Big thank you to Jennifer for having that handy treat as a reward :-)
After watching some of our friends finish, Butch & I went back over to the gate to see how some of the more experienced riders did it. We were really impressed with the caliber of horses, riders & the training that goes into doing this sport! There were long hold-ups at obstacles though - which did away with any forward momentum on the trail... I think the first requirement in way of training - would be to have a horse that can calmly wait!
From the little I have learned - the ACTHA differs from the Competitive Trail that we did in the early 90's. Those rides were 25-miles in length with the judges out on the course at natural obstacles (Sometimes they hid in the trees!) & a five-mile pace required to complete in time. This is shorter in distance, some of the obstacles placed & more finesse required for top scores. Tack & clothing too can count toward your final score. There are five divisions at which you can compete, I rode as a "Scout", the beginning level. Another interesting horse sport!