Kim Pundai navigating the Spider Web obstacle.

The ACTHA Merritt Island Ride

The American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) offers two types of competition. The Competitive Trail Challenge is a trail ride that includes judged obstacles. The ACTHA Obstacle Challenge is just the obstacles, minus the trail. All obstacles must be approved and used from the ACTHA obstacle list on their website. The idea behind the obstacles is that they are to simulate something you might actually encounter out on the trail. ACTHA allows their hosts to use a little creativity for themes, but safety comes first.  

For the ACTHA AOCs that were held on May 16 in Merritt Island, Florida, the host themed the ride after a beach day. The riders were encouraged to dress for the occasion with Best Dressed, Best Groomed and Best Beach Dress contests.  Since there were 2 AOCs, one was held inside of the arena at Manatee Cove Park and had obstacles that you might encounter if you were riding on the beach. The other was held under the Oak trees and was made of obstacles you would experience if you were on a wooded trail ride in Florida.  

The riders were, as usual, a friendly and happy group.  The horses cover many breeds and many levels of training and experience.  ACTHA is set up to accommodate those who have never competed and those who are seasoned veterans.  As with every ACTHA ride, a portion of the proceeds go to the charity of the ride host’s choice.  For this ride, the Merritt Island 4H received the funds to help with their new fencing project and as such, 4H kids were there to volunteer.  

It was a fantastic day that ended with multiple prizes that were handed out, thanks to the many sponsors that donated. HorseCity, Davis Manufacturing, Suntrust Bank, Amber Acres Feed, Purina Feed, Byrd’s Western Wear, Brevard Farm & Ranch, Publix Supermarkets

Photos by Cynthia Skarr

Accurate Depiction is a family owned and operated photography business that started in 2007. Our focus is capturing special moments and the bond between the horse and rider. Over the years we have enjoyed the horse community and the relationships that have been forged by these  athletes. I can truly say we have never experienced a more fun and pleasant atmosphere than we find at  equine events. As a business we take photographs and sell pictures at an average of 150 various equine events a year. We have watched children and adults grow and gain confidence before our very eyes and have enjoyed every moment. We are very thankful for all of our horse friends and family we have found in this special place.

Read more On the Trail With Stephanie