From a NATRC-ers point of view:
Some people think it's boring. If you're riding and not competing
, you might think it a little dull. But it's a thinking game; strategy is key. If you like strategy, CTRs are fun and challenging. For people like me, who think NATRC is serious business, it's the most exciting thing ever. And if you don't think people take this stuff serious, talk to an Open division rider. They're nuts. XD
You have to time yourself perfectly, present your horse in the best way possible, train and think ahead to obstacles even though you have no idea what you'll be asked to do. When presented with an obstacle, you have to activate your sharp computer like mind: take it in, look around you, think up a plan, play to your horse's strengths, tone down weakness, finish with showmanship. When you get into serious CTR, it's competitive. It's hard
That's just obstacles. There is also conditioning. NATRC is "the art of conditioning the trail horse." Getting perfect P&Rs, learning the tricks to keeping fill out of legs, learning how hard to push, learning how to keep up gut sounds (which are frickin irritating, let me tell ya!), how to keep a horse hydrated who doesn't want to drink, ect, etc. The little things kill you. You would have never thought of half the insane stuff you have to watch out for.
And the people you're trying to beat. They get 99 points out of a 100. Even 100s, sometimes. It comes down to plusses sometimes; bonus points you get for doing something really well. It becomes like a 35 mile equitation class! You learn to work the system. You know what particular judges like and how to be just THAT much better.
If you like that kind of craziness, NATRC is for you! *cheesey thumbs up*