ACTHA in Arkansas – Horsemen’s Roundup Article

The American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) continues to receive increasing interest among Arkansas riders. The association conducts Competitive Trail Challenges (CTCs) throughout the USA and Canada involving 6-8 miles of trail, with judged obstacles designated on each mile of the ride. Obstacles are mostly natural and can consist of water, bridges, maneuvering steep hills, wildlife obstacles or passing a mock campsite. The rides take place on private farms or public parks accessible to horses. An ACTHA CTC is a great way to raise funds for horse clubs, non-profit organizations, rescues or private farms and stables. ACTHA maintains a mission of charity and gives a portion of each rider entry fee to a non-profit designated by the particular ride host. Additionally, ACTHA has traditionally held an annual national benefit ride with all proceeds being allocated to a specific cause or charity. This year, the benefit ride named Horse’s For Heroes, N.M. as their recipient, and dubbed the national effort ‘A Ride to Remember”, to honor and benefit our veterans. Horse’s for Heroes, N.M. is a non-profit organization benefiting veterans with nationwide impact who may be suffering from war injuries or PTSD by providing equine therapy. Wrangler National Patriot promised to match those funds up to $10,000.00 this year, the final results have not yet been released, but the event was considered successful.
Baron Fork Ridge Horse Camp of Lincoln, Arkansas was recently a host to a “Ride to Remember” ACTHA CTC. Participants enjoyed the casual competition which made its way through forest ravines, mountain ridges, descending switchbacks, creek bed water ways, bamboo groves and grassy meadows. Rider Judy Limsky, pictured left, who competes in the Open Division and is pursuing national points toward year end awards and prizes, including a 4-Star Trailer valued at 16,000.00, was one of the riders in attendance. Upon parking her trailer in the Lincoln, Ar. camp Judy exclaimed, “Wow, this is the most beautiful horse campsite I have visited yet!” Judy hauled in from Texas with her stunning Paint Horse, Picasso. The horse and rider team are currently ranking 2ndnationally with ACTHA. Riders from other states also attended the two day event including Oklahoma and Missouri, as well as many local riders from central and eastern Arkansas. Recent Arkenasas ACTHA rides include Booneville, Lincoln and Little Rock.

A new alternative ACTHA event consists of eight obstacles and two judges and is held in an arena (indoor or outdoor) or a field. These are called ACTHA Obstacle Challenges, and can be held as stand alone events during certain off season months of the year, or in conjunction with a CTC at any time of the year. New Arkansas Ride Hosts are eager to get on board with this new venue, so watch for them to be turning up in your area soon!

ACTHA is a great association for all rider level participation. The competitions are casual, the pace is comfortable and not timed, and while the obstacles are challenging, they are not extreme. Most riders find that when participating in an ACTHA event, there is no such thing as ‘riding alone’, as after only a little while on the trail together riders quickly become friends and mutually enjoy the refreshing event. The obstacles are spaced one mile apart, and in between there is time to relax, ride and enjoy the scenery. After the ride an awards ceremony takes place where riders receive ribbons and prizes. Most evenings after an ACTHA ride are spent in socializing by a campfire and sharing meals together. Riders aged 7 and up are eligible for membership, making ACTHA a great family activity.

To learn more about upcoming Arkansas ACTHA rides, check the online schedule at: To talk to ACTHA’s Wrangler about hosting a ride, email

This article was featured in the Horsemen’s Roundup, a regional magazine with a distribution of three states including Arkansas and portions of Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana.  Written by Laurie Harris.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s