Diane and Bucky Taking Giant Steps

By Diane Denny

My journey with ACTHA began a little less than two years ago when my daughter was in pursuit of a competitive event in which she could participate with her own horse.  She has a lovely trail horse, Stormy Renee.  At the time, we were showing and I had no trail horse.  While surfing the internet we stumbled upon the ACTHA website and we liked the concept.  Meanwhile, I acquired Bucky. Bucky’s career up until this point was to be a full time pasture ornament!  Not a bad position, but I knew the instant I met him, he was capable of so much more.  He was starving for “people attention” and as I lead him around the yard he wanted to follow me without hesitation over a tarp, through a puddle, past barking dogs, over logs.  I was thinking, “Yes, this is the right horse!”

Bucky was so smart and eager to learn that after 30 days under saddle we embarked on our first ACTHA ride.  We placed and I was hooked.  I came home and charged my show calendar to an ACTHA ride calendar.  My arena and yard became an obstacle course, and boy have we had so much fun!
 
In our two year journey, Bucky and I went from introduction to ground driving, to 4th in the open division.  I keep pinching myself.  I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every place we have traveled to.  The ride hosts work so hard and thank goodness for all the volunteers that stand out in all kinds of weather to judge and more importantly, make sure we have a good time.  The sportsmanship of the ACTHA riders is unmatched to any event I have ever participated in.  I have never met one that was not willing to lend a hand.
 
Having a strong faith, trail riding brings me a moment in this busy world to just enjoy the beauty that God has created for us.  It is very peaceful to be out on your horse in the country, whether it be forest, plains, or desert.  I think we would all agree this is why we love trail riding.  ACTHA provides us new places to go and explore in a safe environment, with a competitive twist.  I look forward to continuing with ACTHA for years to come.
 
I encourage folks to give ACTHA a try.  It helps so much to build skills in you as a rider and makes a more confident, safer horse.  Make obstacles fun and a good place for your horse to be, never a place of punishment.  Praise your horse for baby steps, soon they will be giant steps.  If you stay patient, believing in yourself and your horse, it’s amazing what you two will accomplish.  So get to riding and happy trails!!
 
Diane Denny and Bucky are finishing the 2012/2013 ride season ranking 4th in the nation, 1st in the state of Kentucky and 4th in the state of Tennessee.  Diane has also set a great example for her young daughter, Allison Slaughter, who finishes the season ranking 1st in the the Junior Division for the state of Kentucky.  Congratulations to this inspiring ACTHA family!

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