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ACTHA Offers New Experiences For PA Riders
by Crystal Piaskowski - July 2015

From the ground, the obstacles do not seem all that difficult. Perfectly spaced logs surround a massive tree trunk, inviting riders to try their hand at precision while challenging their horses’ obedience as they make their way around the circle. Once mounted, however, those alluring logs quickly become perplexing as wayward horses pop their shoulders away from the tree and wiggle away from the aids. Going over the logs smoothly, obediently, and accurately is one of many tasks an American Competitive Trail Horse Association, known as ACTHA, member could be asked to complete during an event.

While well-known and well developed in the southern and western parts of the nation, ACTHA has historically had a small, virtually non-existent presence in the northeast region. Luckily, as trail riding events have become more popular and more riders find trail to be a viable discipline, ACTHA membership has grown in Virginia, New Jersey, and more notably, in Pennsylvania. “It used to be that it was hard to find one or two events of anything remotely trail related,” said Danee Rudy, an ACTHA ride host in Jonestown, PA who has built her own permanent trail course on her property. “Now that more and more people are realizing that this is right up their alley, that they can ride in a semi-competitive environment but still have fun, both trail and ACTHA events are exploding.”

No Pressure
“No matter how big ACTHA gets, it will never be Congress or Devon,” said Rudy. “When you walk into the pen at Congress, your every move is under a microscope. ACTHA is very open—any breed, age, and experience level is welcome— even if you think your horse is going to snort at every obstacle. There’s no pressure.”

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Local Exhibitor Reaches the Half Century Mark at Devon
by Suzy Lucine - July 2015

This year marked the 50th time Lore Homer of Oreland, Pennsylvania, competed in the Devon Carriage Pleasure Drive. During these five decades, she drove three of her Morgans as well as a few horses belonging to friends. For most of these drives, her husband, Bernie, and her daughter, Karen, accompanied the now 85-year-old whip. Other times, friends from the horse world joined her.

Lore made her first entrance through the white gates of the Wanamaker Oval on the Devon Horse Show grounds in Devon, PA, in 1964, sitting in a Brewster Bronson Wagon. The vehicle was pulled by her three-year-old Morgan mare, Turnpike Kay Date.

In the late 1970s, she started competing with her roan Morgan gelding, Dawnhill Storm Cloud. He won the Single Horse Four Wheel division of the drive eight times. While competing, Stormy was usually hitched to either a Croydon Wagonette cart or a Brewster Wicker Lady’s Basket Phaeton.

And this year, for the tenth time, she drove Sunny Acres Ebony Nite, her black Morgan gelding, through the same gates, now called the Dixon Oval.

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In Her Second Grand Prix, Kelli Cruciotti, 17, Wins at Devon
July 2015

“I can’t believe it,” expressed Cruciotti at the end of the night. “She’s unbelievable. She’s the best horse I could learn to do this on. It hasn’t sunk in at all.”

In front of a packed house, Cruciotti navigated a seven-horse jump-off to claim the first major win of her budding career, becoming the youngest rider to ever win the historic event. Course designer Michel Vaillancourt narrowed down a field of 28 entries, which included Olympians McLain Ward, Peter Leone and Beat Mandli, to just seven riders for the tiebreaker.

The first rider to return for the short course was Callan Solem of Chester Springs, PA, with Horseshoe Trail Farm’s VDL Wizard. The pair set the pace to beat with a clear round in 41.534 seconds. Aaron Vale soon one-upped them with Equi-Sport LLC’s E.S. Finou 4 with a faultless round in 40.606 seconds.

Devin Ryan and the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Cooper took over the top spot when they made it around the course in 40.058 seconds. With tight turns to each obstacle, Cruciotti and Chamonix H became the ones to beat with a blazing time of 38.678 seconds.

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Devon Squabbles Continue as New Organization
Makes an Appearance
by Suzanne Bush - July 2015

As equestrians made final preparations for competition at the 2015 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, unanticipated competition for publicity emerged. A May 14 press release from Joshua Macel announcing the formation of an organization called the Devon Preservation Alliance stirred interest as well as controversy. On May 16, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Foundation (DHSCF Foundation) issued a press release suggesting that the new organization is an interloper. “It has come to our attention a new entity recently has been organized with a purpose of securing donations on behalf of the Devon Show grounds. The Foundation has no relationship or agreement with, and does not acknowledge or endorse this organization.”

Wayne Grafton, who is Chairman of the DHSCF Foundation, is unequivocal about the legitimacy of groups such as the Devon Preservation Alliance. “There is no new foundation associated with the Devon Horse Show. There are a lot of rogue organizations that have no relationship, that have tried to utilize our name; and there is no guarantee that any of that money will ever come to Devon, nor is there any association with the board.” Grafton went on to explain that the DHSCF Foundation was created two years ago.

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Representative Pitts Floats Two Bills
to Radically Reform Racing
by Suzanne Bush - July 2015

Congressman Joe Pitts (R-Pa) has been arguing for years that horseracing has been corrupted by numerous abuses, most prominently the illegal use of drugs on horses. With New Mexico’s Democratic Senator Tom Udall, Pitts introduced legislation that would require the United States Federal Trade Commission to address the corrosive influence of drugs in horseracing. After that legislative parry failed to gain traction, Pitts and Udall tried another approach in 2013. They proposed legislation, called the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, that would enlist the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to police the sport. That effort failed, too.

Last month, the two reformers tried another approach—one that would radically change the dynamics of horseracing by repealing the 1978 Interstate Horseracing Act. The 1978 law made off-track and “online” betting on pari-mutuel races legal and allowed for simulcasting of races.

In 1978 the world still relied on landlines for telephone service. That was the “online” imagined in the legislation. The first hand-held phone that did not require power from a car battery was introduced in 1973. Remember Betamax? Right. Nobody else does, either. But Betamax was the sensational new technology that vastly expanded the menu of entertainment available on televisions. The Apple II desktop computer was introduced in 1977, but commercial internet service providers didn’t arrive on the scene until the 1990s. Given the profound changes in technology since the Interstate Horseracing Act was passed in 1978, it’s apparent that the law should be updated.

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Look at what’s coming up in the Pennsylvania Equestrian August 2015
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