As the idea of natural horsemanship training has become more mainstream in the equine community of the United States, the value of trail riding is increasingly prevalent in the training process of both horses and riders.
In addition to trail miles, exposure to other horses and humans along with the negotiation of man made and natural obstacles are absolutely necessary for both horse and rider, regardless of discipline. In an effort to support those instructors, trainers, and clinicians, the American Competitive Trail Horse Association has created a new “Mentor” division.
The Mentor Division is open to clinicians, trainers and instructors of all disciplines, allowing them to ride alongside their students out on ACTHA trail rides at a reduced cost. As a separate division, a Mentor will be scored for the benefit of evaluating his or her personal performance. In this way, Mentors will be able to perform the obstacles, get a score, but not be compelled to compete against their clients or other divisions. The Mentor has a marketing tool to find potential new students as well as an opportunity for other ACTHA riders to learn from the Mentor, encouraging those to improve horsemanship through education.
ACTHA ride hosts and competitors alike will be encouraged to utilize “Mentors” as an additional opportunity for teaching and learning on the trail. Many ride hosts have established specific times at their events for Mentors to have clinics, demonstrations and even private or group lessons. In this way, the Mentor gains an additional opportunity to gain the attention of ride attendees.
Founder Carrie Scrima states “Last year we focused on good sportsmanship and good horsemanship for the horse and rider. This year we would like to add an emphasis on “Casual Competition, Serious Fun” in a family oriented environment that encourages healthy competition while enhancing the education of horse and rider.”
In advancing this effort and to encourage professional participation, ACTHA has established a “Professional Partners” page on its website that will provide links to local trainers, instructors and clinicians. Having a presence on this page will be free to those equine professionals that support ACTHA events and the discipline of competitive trail riding. ACTHA will additionally provide local marketing support to our supporting Professional Partners Mentors through the use of ACTHA rides and clinics in the clinicians geographic area.
To become involved as a Mentor or to become a sponsor of the mentor division, contact Craig Dodson, Director of Public Affairs at [email protected]