In March of 2011 I received a email from APHA about an ACTHA contest. My husband and I had been curious about the ACTHA competitions and had wanted to audit one last year in November at the annual American Heart Association Beach Ride in Myrtle Beach SC but the day of the ACTHA event it rained all day really hard so it was cancelled. When this email from APHA arrived it sparked our interest so I entered one of our horses in the Americas Favorite Trail Horse try outs. Tuff and my husband Joe made an outstanding performance at their audition and were selected as finalist to go to Texas for the filming of the TV series to air in September on HRTV. In participating in this event we learned more about ACTHA and what they had going on for Trail Riders. We finally made it to our first ACTHA ride in June in Palmyra VA. Wow , what a neat event and what a great program for horses. The atmosphere was much more relaxed then the usual horse show type of event and everyone was very supportive of each other. The course is basically just simple trail riding with obstacles located approx. 1 mile apart with a total of 6 for approx. 6 miles of trail riding. You are not really competing with the other riders, its more like you and your horse are working together to overcome or achieve the obstacle. It really is very fun and it is great for your trail horse or even a show horse. Our horses loved it and so did we. I highly suggest checking out this association and trying it at least once. I think you would really enjoy it and what you will gain for your horsemanship is well worth it. They welcome any breed of horse, any style of riding and safety is a major factor for the rides. From beginner to experienced riders are welcome and they also have a youth program that offers some sponsor dollars to help costs for the youth to be able to ride. This is a really great group that is running the program and they are more than happy to accomodate your needs. They are doing a National benefit ride in September for the Mustang Heritage Foundation and there is probably a ride in your area that will be going on. This is a Guinness World Record Setting ride event and its for a good cause so check it out on their website just google ACTHA and it will come up. Happy trails to all and hope this insite will spark your interest to check it out. You can also find them on facebook & Tuff #337 on facebook for more info.