My name is Ann Harris from Monroe, GA. I grew up on a large farm in Illinois where I, from the ages of 8 and 10, was blessed to have a Tennessee Walker. Life changes, and we moved from the farm. It wasn’t until I turned 45 that I was able to return to my long lost love of horses. That was when I found Marty’s Spotted Go Boy (a.k.a. Marty), a foundation-bred Spotted Saddle Horse. He was 5 going on 6 when he came into my life. He turned 22 on June 1, 2013. Yes, it’s been 17 years of living with and loving this remarkable horse.
Throughout the years, Marty and I participated in local shows, a rodeo drill team, team sorting, local cowboy races, Western Dressage, and marched in numerous parades, including the WSB-TV Independence Day Parade and the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Atlanta. But Marty has always excelled on the trail. His calm demeanor and trust in me have been such a comfort, enabling me to do things I never thought I could do.
I first learned about ACTHA by watching the advertisements on RFD-TV. While I ached to compete in the Craig Cameron Extreme Cowboy Races I had been watching, I was hesitant about making that sort of commitment since, at that time, most of the events were held in Texas, a long way from Georgia. What ACTHA had to offer seemed “just right.” Since I had competed in some local cowboy challenges, I decided to enter my first ACTHA event in the Open Division in March 2010 in Live Oak, Florida. During that first ride, I had no idea if Marty and I were doing well or not. We just did the best we could, despite my extreme internal butterflies! That evening during the awards dinner, I sat patiently for the winners to be called, never expecting my name to be mentioned. In fact, when they did, it just didn’t hit me that they had called my name for first place until my friend who had made the trip with me jumped out of her seat hollering “Yahoo!!!” I giggled like a school girl the entire 4+ hours back home to Georgia the next day. From then on, I was hooked, and it’s been a journey of a lifetime. For the past 3 ACTHA seasons, Marty and I have placed first in the state of Georgia, and during those past 3 seasons, our national ranking has been 10th, 37th, and 9th respectively.
In addition to the above achievements, I’ve been especially proud of Marty for accumulating his individual points earning him the Bronze, Silver Elite, Silver, Gold Medals, and, most recently, the Platinum Medal. Marty got the medals and the credit; I got the ACTHA Vest, Molly’s Custom Silver Buckle, the Muddy Creek Rain Coat, the custom Rodeo ETC. Chinks, and a year’s supply of Platinum Performance Equine Supplement. Along with these wonderful awards, I’ve had the opportunity to purchase, at discount, some amazing products from the generous sponsors of ACTHA such as Cavallo, KatLyn, Paddock Purses, Colorful Manes and Tails, and Vetericyn, just to name a few. And I certainly don’t want to forget the Ride Affiliates who have also given away some nice prizes for the winners such as halters, lead ropes, saddle bags, grooming supplies, feed, and much more.
ACTHA has afforded Marty and me the opportunity to travel to some amazing riding locations and meet some lifelong friends. Since my husband doesn’t travel with me due to obligations at home, I’ve had to overcome some fears along the way. But I’ve had Marty to keep me centered and focused. He relies on me to keep us safe, and I’ve learned a lot about self-reliance. Competitive trail riding is a harmony between horse and rider, facing some questions along the way, and just “being” in nature. And I cannot imagine accomplishing any of these journeys or challenges without Marty, my confidant, my confidence builder, my beloved trail partner.
We welcome all members’ stories! Everyone has a special story to share about their horses and experiences. We would love to hear yours! Each published submission will receive a hat from TechNiche Cooling Products (while supplies last)! You can send stories to Debbie@actha.us.
Please also include a couple of good quality photos!