Suzie Baker and Cowboy; Achievements on the ACTHA Trail

By Suzie Baker

This was my first year to compete in the open division of ACTHA on my horse Cinnadocs Cowboy. I am proud to say that we came in 3rd place in Texas and tied for 6th place in the nation. Texas has alot of really great riders and I must say that I was pretty nervous about moving up into the open division to compete against the very people that I aspired to be like. I am proud of the progress that Cowboy and I have made along the way this year. We have mastered new skills and have achieved both our silver and gold medals this season.

Cowboy has grown up in ACTHA. Our first CTC was in Nov. 2010, when he was a very green 2 1/2 year old! In the 2011 -2012 ACTHA season, we tied for both 3rd place in Texas and 6th place in the nation in the pleasure division. Learning together, working as a team, Cowboy, now 5 yrs. old, is turning into a wonderful, reliable trail horse. Going to many ACTHA rides all over Texas, he has been exposed to so many obstacles both natural and man made. He has been ridden in the varied terrain that only Texas can offer.

This year has been a great year for us, but it would not have been nearly as much fun without all the wonderful friends that I have meet along the trail. ACTHA riders in Texas are the BEST!! They are so friendly, encouraging and just fun to be around! I always look forward to seeing my riding buddies at each CTC.

My best friend, Debbie Ayres (the current Texas Champion), has been there with me from our very first ACTHA ride. We were looking for something fun to do with our horses, when we discovered ACTHA. We had no aspirations, we have no background in showing and have trained our horses on our own. I must say we have come a long way from our first ride and have a lot of really great memories to treasure for years to come. I think it is great to see our horses, who are both out of the same stallion ( Doc O’Mino), ranked so high in ACTHA. They are different is many ways, but both of them have a willingness to please, quiet dispositions and hearts made of gold! They are perfectly suited for each of us.

Of course none of the achievements that I have made would have been possible without the love, support and understanding of my husband, Brad. He holds down the fort while I am away having fun with my horse and friends. He is not a “horse” person, but he does his best to be patient and understanding of the time spent away from each other and all the extra expenses that come with competing in ACTHA. He is learning the importance of must have’s like matching shirts, blankets etc…!!!

I love competitive trail riding because it makes you ride your horse – rain or shine, hot or cold. It has allowed me to ride in new places, make new friends and has given purpose to my riding. I would not have changed anything about this year. Anyone that is looking to spend time with their horse in beautiful surroundings, learn new skills and make new friends, look no futher – ACTHA has it all!! The ribbons and prizes are great, but the friends and memories you make are really the best part. If you are worried about the competing in ACTHA, don’t be!! Just relax and remember to enjoy the ride!

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