What Separates ACTHA from Other Trail Organizations
For many of us the decision to join a trail organization is a major step with a variety of factors involved. Does the organization offer multiple divisions, how close are events in my area, and what is the total cost outlay are just a few. If supporting a worthy cause is just as important to you then the American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) may be the organization for you. ACTHA is one of the largest growing trail organizations, the only one with a national presence in all 50 states as well as Canada, and the only one that gives to charity at every event (the charity being chosen by the independent ride host). ACTHA is well on course to hold 1,000 events or more this year across the United States and Canada.
What separates ACTHA from other trail organizations can be defined in a few words in their mission statement. “Full equine employment to help ease the suffering of horses in need”. And how do they do this? ACTHA members have created a demand that only a treasured horse can fill. With their help thousands of horses have come in from fields and have been rescued from shelters to be given a new purpose and a new challenge. Not only have their members put horses back to work but they have helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for rescues, training facilities and equine charities.
In addition to a ride host earning money did you know that ACTHA gives back 20% of all MEMBER RIDE proceeds from a ride? Ride hosts alone determine where the money goes and many times will donate the monies they earned as well. ACTHA ride hosts and the charities they benefit are as diverse as horse breeds. For example, Joe and Phyllis Petronella of Texas are the region 5 directors for the non profit Texas Equestrian Trail Riders Association (TETRA). Over the years their ACTHA rides have benefitted an organization whose mission is to promote all phases of trail riding, build and maintain trails, and create safety and public awareness throughout the state of Texas. Kenny Harlow, of Kenny Harlow Training with Trust, a renowned equestrian trainer in Virginia, whose specialty includes unbroken and problem horses, reached out to help his friends Jamie and Craig Dodson, by hosting a ride to benefit Legacy Mustang Preservation. Legacy Mustang Preservation was in need of raising thousands of dollars for the purchase of young mustangs known as the North Dakota Badlands Mustangs, from the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. They were in danger of being purchased by killer buyers and being sent to slaughter, from a roundup considered herd management, by the National Parks Service. Thanks to Harlow, those who attended his ACTHA event and thousands of supporters from all over the world, their monies aided Legacy in purchasing 36 horses and foals that now call Virginia home, and are on their way to being gentled, trained and adopted out.
Dr. Cordula Robinson is a professor in Physics and Astronomy at Northeastern University whose biography reads like who’s who in the world of science, and has even worked at the German Aerospace Center to help prepare for the Mars 1996 mission. In addition, she is a PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) certified instructor at Strongwater Farm Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Tewkesbury, MA. whose mission is “enriching lives through the healing powers of the horse.” Her reason for becoming involved with ACTHA was two fold; she was looking for something to do with her horse, and realized it would be a great way to raise money for Strongwater. Strongwater now IS HOSTING 4 events per year!
Stongwater is not the only PATH Intl center that has benefitted from ACTHA rides. Since March ACTHA has partnered with PATH Intl Centers for the Shamrock Path Rides, a combined effort of ACTHA and the equine industry at large that has donated generously in gifts and cash to the centers. A notable donation being Cavallo Horse and Rider’s $7500 donation, scheduled to be made in June to the PATH INT’L headquarters in Denver Colorado! The goal is to have 1,000 rides and raise $1,000, 000.00, and bring widespread grass roots knowledge of every communities PATH Center. Thus gaining the ever needed local volunteers and contributions. A goal well on its way to being reached. Also another way we are helping employ horses is by working with sister organizations with wonderful introductory level classes. No matter what the discipline, we are happy to co promote with them, and in this way we can introduce more riders into the ownership category which not only helps employ more horses but, makes the entire horse industry stronger.
As you can see their members and ride hosts come from many diverse backgrounds all with the same common goal, to bring awareness, raise money for their cause, and help as many horses as they can along the way. So when you are considering which trail organization to join think about the one that strives to help all horses in need. For more information please visit their website at www.actha.us. Information can be found about ACTHA, events, how to become a ride host, ACTHA registered charities, the find a buddy program and all the benefits of joining ACTHA.
BTW the prizes they give their members via the generosity of their 112 sponsors, partners, publications and sister breed organizations are simply amazing. See their medal awards for starters at www.actha.us/medals.
Photos by Rein Photography