June 6, 2013 -- After a stellar month of rides and ride attendances all over the USA, ACTHA and its devoted ride hosts were able to donate $22,015 in cash to charities across the United States.
"This wonderful phenomenon happens month after month at ACTHA and has for five years now," states Tom Scrima, ACTHA's general manager. "We believe our business model is the key and hopefully will set a standard for any others entering our space. The solution to the unwanted horse will not just evaporate. It will take the collective power of our industry in support of each other to eradicate the injustice done to our historical servants and friends. We're just one small grass roots company making our contribution by providing the trail rider with enjoyable week end experiences and giving their riding a purpose. We are very thankful to have been embraced by so many other companies that see not only the chance to help but also see the business opportunities. ACTHA simply channels as much as we can of this generosity generated from our hosts, members, our thousands of incredible volunteers and our sponsors to the charities we serve. All the while chipping away at the leading reason for the unwanted horse--unemployment."
ACTHA's plan is simple. Individuals from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada apply to put on an ACTHA event. There are two types to choose from: Competitive Trail Challenges (CTCs), very casual and educational, and ACTHA's Obstacle Challenges (AOCs). The first, CTCs, take place over a 6-8 mile trail ride while the second, AOCs, take place in an open field or arena. "This way we can serve every region year round" states Robin Tilghman, Director of Marketing.
Ride hosts can repeatedly put on ACTHA events after considerable training. The funds earned can be applied to personal expenses or those of their club, organizations or favorite charity. Many opt for a charity, but regardless, ACTHA donates from every event approximately 20% of its gross rider entry income to charity. The actual charities that ACTHA sends its share of funds to are actually selected by the ride host from a list of hundreds of approved ACTHA charities big and small. This way no matter what, every ride host gets firsthand knowledge of what is being accomplished and they come back for more. Some hold as many as 10 events per year.
"One of the favorite things about my work for ACTHA and the cause happens every Thursday,” states Ann Kinsey, Director of Operations. "First, I cut checks to all the ride hosts who have submitted for payments from the last week's events. I send the check directly to them or the charity they have represented. And then I send another check directly from ACTHA to one of our listed charities. I don't know where else I can get this thrill and get paid to do it! The letters of appreciation we get every week chokes me up. It never gets old."
ACTHA is well on pace due to their marketing and pacts with major entities like the Unwanted Horse Coalition and Horses 4 Heroes to hold over 1,000 events per year. The role of ACTHA sponsors is a critical component. Cash is not required to be an ACTHA sponsor. Rather, ACTHA becomes a meaningful sales outlet to those seeking the elusive trail rider market. Each sponsor offers their products for 15-25% discounts to ACTHA members.
"It's really refreshing to see a company like ACTHA knock on my door with a win-win proposition versus the typical asking for cash donations that we lose visibility of," states the owner of Molly's Custom Silver, another seasoned ACTHA sponsor. "ACTHA has become one of our largest outlets for sales. The discounts come back to us as happy customers order more and more of our creations."
Sponsors that don't sell to the public directly can adopt one of ACTHA's many Medal programs, such as the Diamond In The Rough Medal sponsored by Mountain Horse. This medal is given to horses who have found their way into ACTHA from a rescue category. It is awarded for excellence in performance and receives, in addition to a beautiful medal donated by Hodges Badge, a stunning Devon embroidered jacket from Mountain Horse (retail value approximately $200).
ACTHA is happy to share its business plan with any company wanting to join the cause of full equine employment.
The American Competitive Trail Horse Association is based near Austin Texas and for five years has been following this mission: To create an enjoyable venue showcasing the wonderful attributes of the great American trail horse and granting them the recognition they so richly deserve. To create a registry open to all breeds and a point designation system which will stay with each horse for its lifetime, thereby adding to their value and distinction. To create and enable humane treatment options and employment for horses in need.