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           January 2017




Welcome to the Extreme Cowboy Association   

We are excited about 2017 and the many fun filled and exciting Extreme Cowboy Racing events that are on the schedule. 

The formation of EXCA has been an thrilling and challenging adventure! Many people have worked tirelessly to create an association that you will be proud to tell your friends about.

This is the latest issue of your monthly newsletter, The Brave Horse.

You will receive it each month electronically around the middle of the month.  The Brave Horse will be full of interesting stories, EXCA event results, point standings, human interest stories about EXCA members and Tips and Tales from our founder, Craig Cameron.  We encourage you to communicate your suggestions for stories and ideas that will make The Brave Horse fun, better and more informative.  The Brave Horse: the best newsletter in the equine world.


Please forward your ideas and suggestions to Frank Turben at



International Provincial/National Championship Series


EXCA is announcing a new International Championship Series.  A current EXCA Affiliated Club in each country or province can apply to host one of these events. EXCA will provide one buckle for the Overall winner of each event.  There must be a minimum of 10 current EXCA members competing in the event to qualify.




Cowboy Comments by Runt Rageth


Welcome to 2017 from Runt Rageth

I hope that everyone had a chance to spend time with family and friends over the holidays. With everyone's busy schedule, it can be difficult to remember blessings and be thankful for all we have been given. Family and friends are our real success in life. Love your family and make lots of friends and you will always be in the winner's circle.


With the holidays over, everyone's motivation to get out and ride may not be as strong as it could be. I know eating to many Christmas cookies and way too much turkey has made my clothes shrink these last couple of months. Cold, nasty weather seems to be quite a deterrent as well. Keep in mind that while we are packing on the extra pounds and becoming a little less conditioned than we should be, so are our poor horses. Our lack of motivation lets our horses become overweight and lazy as well. When we finally suck it up and get back to working on our horses, take a little extra time to work on conditioning them. If your horse is in good condition and feels well, his training will progress a whole a lot faster than a horse that's too fat. Ever see a fat horse run? Maybe, but not for very far. Take care of your horse and don't take your own lack of drive out on him. Anytime there is a slack in your horse's training make an honest effort to get your horse back in shape.


Be sure to revisit your training basics. Don't assume your horse has been standing in the stall or pasture thinking about lateral flexion and body control. If you have a horse that does that, send him to me; I want to ride that one. Don't just jump to your more complicated maneuvers... your horse might remember and he might not. Refresh his mind with the basics. Work on your softening exercises, lateral flexion and body control. Refreshing the basics will give your horse the chance to remember what he needs to do when he is asked to spin or change leads.  Those maneuvers won't be a surprise for him and his chances for success will be way better. Make the steps for your horse's success easy for him to understand and you will create a confident, trusting partner who is willing to do whatever you ask.


After a vacation, be sure to ease in on getting your horse back in shape and review your basic training. The end result will be well worth the effort. Your mental and physical conditions as well as your horse's are huge factors in your quest for success. Take your time to make everything right and you will make him a winner.


"There's a lot more to ridin' a horse than sittin' in the saddle and lettin' yer feet hang down."

Looking forward to green grass and good friends in 2017,

Runt Rageth




Understanding Common Conditions in Horses


Understanding Common Conditions in Horses

If you've been involved with horses for any significant amount of time, you have surely heard terms like insulin resistant, metabolic syndrome and others, and maybe you are not always sure what they mean. The reason for this is that horse owners and even some veterinarians can use some of the terms interchangeably or indiscriminately, causing confusion. In fairness, it's easy to do so because many metabolic conditions in horses have a similar set of symptoms, and some are treated in similar ways, but that does not mean they are the same disease. Let me try to offer some clarity by defining some of the most common metabolic conditions in horses.


Insulin Resistant or IR - An insulin resistant horse, often called an IR horse, is a horse that is resistant to the metabolization of insulin at a cellular level. A horse that is strictly insulin resistant does not have a disease, per se, but has a metabolic problem in the processing of carbohydrates. Since insulin resistance is not a disease, there is no cure but only management, which consists of exercise and a low-carb, low-fat diet that is supported by well-balanced minerals. Horses that have other metabolic syndromes or diseases can also be insulin resistant, but in these cases the resistance is a symptom of the underlying disease or syndrome.

Before moving on to the next condition, it is helpful to understand that a syndrome is different than a disease. A syndrome is a recognized set of symptoms without a distinctly identifiable cause. A disease, on the other hand, may have a set of symptoms, but it also has an identifiable underlying cause that is known and can be identified


Equine Metabolic Syndrome or EMS - A horse with EMS is also generally insulin resistant, but the insulin resistance is one of several symptoms within the syndrome. Others include a propensity for fatty deposits in the abdomen, the crest of the neck, the eyes, and other areas; and chronic laminitis. It is thought that EMS originates when certain tissues produce abnormal levels of certain hormones. Like insulin resistance, there is no cure for EMS. It is treated in a manner very similar to simple insulin resistance; that is a low-carb, low-fat diet that is high in fiber, and supplements with proper levels of minerals and vitamins. A horse with metabolic syndrome is sometimes called a metabolic horse or Cushingoid horse. The term metabolic disease is also sometimes used to describe a horse with EMS, but its use is technically incorrect.

So now that you understand IR and EMS, it is easy to see how these terms very frequently get used interchangeably or indiscriminately. But it doesn't stop there. Indeed, it starts to get even more tricky.


Cushing's Syndrome - Cushing's syndrome is a term often used interchangeably with equine metabolic syndrome. The reason for this is very simple: most experts agree they are one and the same, meaning they are the same set of symptoms, but still with an unknown cause. Equine Metabolic Syndrome has become the preferred term. Of course the symptoms are the same; insulin resistance, a propensity for fatty deposits in the abdomen, the crest of neck, the eyes, and other areas; and chronic laminitis. The treatment and management are also the same. Cushing's syndrome or EMS is most often first recognized in younger horses. A horse that has Cushing's syndrome (or EMS) is sometimes called a Cushingoid horse. This can be very confusing, because a horse with Cushing's disease if also often called a Cushingoid horse, but the syndrome and the disease are different.


Cushing's Disease - Cushing's disease is caused by a tumor that grows in the pituitary gland, causing severe hormonal imbalances. There is no known cure for Cushing's disease. Cushing's disease can have the following symptoms: weight loss, excessive thirst and/or urination, chronic laminitis, a curly, non-shedding coat, poor muscle condition, a propensity to infections, and irregular fat deposits. Cushing's disease is most often diagnosed in older horses. Cushing's disease is treated differently than Cushing's syndrome or EMS. It can include both diet and specific medication to treat the hormonal functions of the pituitary gland. For this reason, it is critical for a skilled veterinarian to diagnose a horse with metabolic symptoms to determine if they are part of the syndrome or the disease.

So, in short, here is how I remember what these different terms mean:

1)      Insulin resistant (IR) means a horse has problems metabolizing insulin and therefore difficulties processing carbohydrates.

2)      Insulin resistance can be a single problem, or can be a symptom of Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS), Cushing's syndrome or Cushing's disease.

3)      Metabolic syndrome and Cushing's syndrome are the same.

4)      Cushing disease is not the same as Cushing's syndrome.

5)      IR, EMS and Cushing's syndrome are all treated with diet, nutrition and exercise.

6)      Cushing's disease is treated with a combination of diet, nutrition and exercise, as well as drugs.

7)      There are no cures for any of these metabolic conditions, only treatment and management.

Hopefully this will help you understand the most commonly encountered metabolic problems in horses more clearly, whether you are discussing them with someone, or if you happen to have a horse that suffers from one of them. For the sake of clarity, whenever I discuss any of these issues and people start throwing around words like IR, metabolic and Cushing's, I always ask for clarification so I know exactly what we are talking about. Not surprisingly, I find that people are not always sure.

As always, this article is not an attempt to diagnose or prescribe treatment for any particular equine health problem. If you suspect your horse is suffering from a metabolic disorder or any other health problem, it is critical to consult your veterinary professional for complete testing, diagnosis and treatment.






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