Extreme Cowboy Association All Rights Reserved 2017
Phone: 254.728.3082 PO Box 50 Bluff Dale TX USA 76433 EXCA

Questions from

Riders

Question:  We have a new member competing this weekend and needs to know if this sidepull is acceptable.    Thank  you! Answer:  The sidepull pictured is indeed acceptable under EXCA rules.  I say this in good faith, as the only picture provided  does not show me a clear look from the side or under the jaw .... but this has all the appearance of a standard sidepull we see all the time in various settings.  Hope this helps.  Feel free to refer anyone who questions this headgear to me directly ...cheers
Question: We are receiving some inquiries to know if performance style shirts with zipper collar are permitted. to us the rulebook is very clear "western-style long sleeve button-up shirts". However I would like to have your explicit  opinion on this, and also if possible the reason why EXCA would not accept it. (Again to us - the reason is clear - it is to maintain the look/decorum of the sport, and also avoid the "looks" to devolve into bling-bling tight body-shirts with zippers down at unacceptable levels)... Answer:  These shirts, as generally depicted in the photo you included, are indeed legal.  For several years, and after considerable debate and protest from the traditionalists, the word "button" has generally been deemed by our western disciplines (both show and sport focused) to include snaps and zippers.  The shirt has to be appropriately done up (ie buttoned up) when starting the contest.  The trend is for many of our female riders to wear "modesty shirts" under their top.  We are in no way encouraging or rewarding "bling", but accept that the definition of western clothing is continually evolving, and indeed the "bling" can be found on the western top regardless of whether it appropriately closes via traditional button, zipper, or snaps.  Frankly, we have more discussion/concern about some of the "western hats" that are showing up in various settings ...but discretion so far prevails.
Question: I just joined EXCS online yesterday but have two rule questions.  1.  Can you ride in mecate reins and 2. Can you ride your horse in a snaffle bit regardless of age? Answer: In response to your questions, it's a big YES for both your questions: you may indeed ride in mecate reins , and may show any age of horse in a snaffle bit.  You should also be aware that the current rules allow you to ride one or two handed.
Question: I was wondering if there were rules for led extreme trail. By that "led" I am meaning in-hand - handler on foot and running or walking. I would really appreciate your answer on this as I dont ride any longer but love to do this my horses. Thank you and really hope to hear back from you. Rules like - a) can a handler change hands to suit obstacle. Does it matter which side of obstacles - except where specifically indicated turns are required. b )Loose lead  and not dragging horse  Just general rules for led. If there are separate rules for scoring would love to know them as well.   Thank you again Answer: Thank you for your inquiry regarding rules for in-hand classes for Extreme Cowboy racing. The EXCA does not offer any in-hand classes; the "race" factor which makes the sport so spectacular does not lend itself to leading through an entire course.  We do sometimes include an obstacle within the course that requires the rider to lead the horse a short distance (over, around or through the obstacle).  On those obstacles, the judge would be looking for a horse that willingly and quickly responds; maintains desired position without resistance; accelerates quickly when asked; stands quietly when desired; and able to move laterally or backwards with the same ease and control as moving forward.  Leading with either hand, and changing hands to manouver, is acceptable. Sorry we cannot be of more help .  Associations like the AQHA, APHA, APtHA, AMHA and other breed associations all offer in-hand classes and publish a comprehensive set of rules for these classes.  I suggest you look on line on one or more of their web sites to find the rules (primarily under the heading of in-hand trail/obstacle classes) you are looking for.  Good luck in your chosen equine activities
Question:  Could you please kindly clarify rule 16 "understand the order of obstacles "    Does this mean have it memorized?  Should a rider be disqualified or penalized if they need a written note on their hand to help them out? I am not referring to going off course. Just the rider having the course written on their hand or leg.   I ask because I suffered a serious brain injury and now my life is different. I am challenged with short term memory. I make a huge effort to memorize the course and lock myself away doing all the exercises I have been taught by the brain injury clinic memory programs.  I almost always am reliant on my written note once in the ring. A fellow competitor remarked that I should be disqualified and stated the rule book and his interpretation of it.    I'm left feeling that if this is the case, then perhaps people like myself shall exclude themselves? It's disappointing to say the least so I hope this is clarified and that they are incorrect in the interpretation.  I try very hard. I have a yard full of obstacles. I have sponsored races and do everything I can to promote it by recruiting new people and hosting practice nights.  This has left me feeling quite disheartened.    I look forward to your reply. Answer: There is no current rule, or correct interpretation of the rule, that prevents you from having the course map (written on your hand or on paper) with you on course.  This is not unusual and follows the "spirit" of the rules that says you have a list of tasks to do and an order to do them in.   Many of our competitors need a little help from time to time remembering their course- for a variety of reasons. For your added information, our rules do allow for occasional "help from outside the ring" ; someone can yell out to you the next obstacle when you need it. (this too comes into plat from time to time for even our best competitors. )  A rider is however, NOT allowed to use any personal transmission device (ear bud, etc) to get instructions from another individual. Please feel free to tell your "fellow competitor" to talk to me directly if he wants to discuss this official rule interpretation with me. The EXCA wants you as a happy and confident competitor - not a disheartened one questioning whether she belongs or is welcome to compete.   Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  Thank you also for all your efforts regarding sponsorship, practise nights and attracting new members to the sport.  Please feel free to contact me directly if related matters come up in future competitions.
Answers from: Peter Fraser EXCA Director of Judges and Judging
Question:  Very happy about your quick answers to all my questions, but I want to be clear here in Europe when questions are asked, because I also have a lot of questions from France being one of the most experienced and "old" member of EXCA.    When does a horse have to quit the green horse category?  After one season, after a certain number of contest, never?    Does the rider that ride a green horse have to go in at least the intermediate category, because it is difficult to admit that a novice could present a green horse?    When does a rider have to go up to another category without question?  After being champion in his category, or being in the top of his category (podium)?    May a rider ride in two different classes?  Novice and intermediate by example seems to be illogical.  Any category and pro seems ok, except for the ride smart, but may a ride smart also ride in non pro or intermediate by example?    Is the Pro category to be considered as an "open" class also?    Those are the questions that I got for the moment and that I don't really find a clear answer in the rule book. Answer: Regarding the "green horse" *this is a non point earning class (no EXCA records kept on the horses that choose to compete in this class).  The current eligibility rules for this class dictate than any horse that has not competed in an official EXCA class may  show in this event.  Because it is  1)a non point earning class, 2) the allowed obstacles are comparably simple and unchallenging,  and 3) the rider cannot use it in any other class,  horse don't typically remain in this class very long - they either show they are ready to move up or demonstrate they are not right for the sport.  There are exceptions to every rule; I have occasionally heard that an area downgraded the prizes (and offered little ,if any , prize money) compared to the regular classes so there was no incentive to stay in the class. *there is no age limit, show limit, win limit, or time limit for continued eligibility - if the horse has not been exhibited in another class by any rider, it remains theoretically eligible.  Once it shows in any other EXCA class, it cannot be shown in a green horse class - regardless of time, rider, skill level. * any rider aged 12 or older may show a horse in the Green Horse class.  There is no assumed level of skill for that rider, which means that a Novice may indeed exhibit (and often does, without penalty or assumption they should then not be able to continue to show as a novice).  There are a great many reasons for a rider to choose to exhibit a horse in the Green Horse division rather than an official class - that is why EXCA chose to offer this option. Regarding riders "having to  move up" *Frankly, we are collectively still looking for the perfect answer to this question.  Rider classification remains the responsibility of the EXCA  (which means that regional clubs cannot over rule the rating issued by EXCA, regardless of "best intentions" ).  If a rider appears to be under or over rated, that info can be provided to EXCA for review.  Annually, all riders results are evaluated via a computer generated program; those riders exceeding a certain level are automatically notified that their eligibility has changed.  Winning a "championship" does not automatically move a rider up, nor does total points (points earned regardless of whether you are successful or just showing a lot) earned. Some people, depending on their comparable skill level rather than longevity in a particular division, may spend many years in a division ...while others are moved up very quickly.  (I find a golf analogy works best when explaining this : competitive skill level in golf is based on your official handicap - not how long you have golfed or how many times a year you golf.  Some people are naturals or work hard to improve their assigned handicap - the lower the better.  The goal is to create classes/ levels of competition based on similar skill levels.  I am always going to be a 20 plus handicap despite 40 years experience, and thus eligible to compete in the 20 plus division that the better golfers are not eligible for; others with virtually no experience but a gift for the sport are forced to compete in the better divisions only.) Riding in more than one division: *A pro can only ride in the pro class ..... or a futurity class or  green horse class .  All other riders are allowed to "ride up" .  Some restrictions apply: a rider under the age of 12 may only ride up into the Youth class; a rider must be at least 18 years of age (ie not eligible to compete in the Youth class) to show in the Novice class; and obviously, a rider must meet the age restrictions for the Ride Smart class.  Riders at lower classifications are encouraged to test their skills against the higher ranked divisions to gain experience on more difficult courses and ready themselves for graduation to a higher level .  Many Non Pro's compete in the Pro (aka "open") class.  The Ride Smart class is a non pro class with age restrictions - and not an assessment of skill level re Novice/Intermediate/Non Pro. *Regardless, a horse may only be exhibited a maximum of 3 times in a complete show (ie one round of classes). * Any rider aged 12 or older may enter the Pro class ..without jeopardizing their status as a Non Pro.  
Extreme Cowboy Association All Rights Reserved 2017
Phone: 254.728.3082 PO Box 50 Bluff Dale TX USA 76433 EXCA
Question:  We have a new member competing this weekend and needs to know if this sidepull is acceptable.    Thank you! Answer:  The sidepull pictured is indeed acceptable under EXCA rules.  I say this in good faith, as the only picture provided  does not show me a clear look from the side or under the jaw .... but this has all the appearance of a standard sidepull we see all the time in various settings.  Hope this helps.  Feel free to refer anyone who questions this headgear to me directly ...cheers
Question: We are receiving some inquiries to know if performance style shirts with zipper collar are permitted. to us the rulebook is very clear "western-style long sleeve button-up shirts". However I would like to have your explicit opinion on this, and also if possible the reason why EXCA would not accept it. (Again to us - the reason is clear - it is to maintain the look/decorum of the sport, and also avoid the "looks" to devolve into bling-bling tight body-shirts with zippers down at unacceptable levels)... Answer:  These shirts, as generally depicted in the photo you included, are indeed legal.  For several years, and after considerable debate and protest from the traditionalists, the word "button" has generally been deemed by our western disciplines (both show and sport focused) to include snaps and zippers.  The shirt has to be appropriately done up (ie buttoned up) when starting the contest.  The trend is for many of our female riders to wear "modesty shirts" under their top.  We are in no way encouraging or rewarding "bling", but accept that the definition of western clothing is continually evolving, and indeed the "bling" can be found on the western top regardless of whether it appropriately closes via traditional button, zipper, or snaps.  Frankly, we have more discussion/concern about some of the "western hats" that are showing up in various settings ...but discretion so far prevails.
Question: I just joined EXCS online yesterday but have two rule questions.  1.  Can you ride in mecate reins and 2. Can you ride your horse in a snaffle bit regardless of age? Answer: In response to your questions, it's a big YES for both your questions: you may indeed ride in mecate reins , and may show any age of horse in a snaffle bit.  You should also be aware that the current rules allow you to ride one or two handed.
Question: I was wondering if there were rules for led extreme trail. By that "led" I am meaning in-hand - handler on foot and running or walking. I would really appreciate your answer on this as I dont ride any longer but love to do this my horses. Thank you and really hope to hear back from you. Rules like - a) can a handler change hands to suit obstacle. Does it matter which side of obstacles - except where specifically indicated turns are required. b )Loose lead  and not dragging horse  Just general rules for led. If there are separate rules for scoring would love to know them as well.   Thank you again Answer: Thank you for your inquiry regarding rules for in-hand classes for Extreme Cowboy racing. The EXCA does not offer any in-hand classes; the "race" factor which makes the sport so spectacular does not lend itself to leading through an entire course.  We do sometimes include an obstacle within the course that requires the rider to lead the horse a short distance (over, around or through the obstacle).  On those obstacles, the judge would be looking for a horse that willingly and quickly responds; maintains desired position without resistance; accelerates quickly when asked; stands quietly when desired; and able to move laterally or backwards with the same ease and control as moving forward.  Leading with either hand, and changing hands to manouver, is acceptable. Sorry we cannot be of more help .  Associations like the AQHA, APHA, APtHA, AMHA and other breed associations all offer in-hand classes and publish a comprehensive set of rules for these classes.  I suggest you look on line on one or more of their web sites to find the rules (primarily under the heading of in-hand trail/obstacle classes) you are looking for.  Good luck in your chosen equine activities

Questions from

Riders

Answers from: Peter Fraser EXCA Director of Judges and Judging
Question:  Could you please kindly clarify rule 16 "understand the order of obstacles "    Does this mean have it memorized?  Should a rider be disqualified or penalized if they need a written note on their hand to help them out? I am not referring to going off course. Just the rider having the course written on their hand or leg.   I ask because I suffered a serious brain injury and now my life is different. I am challenged with short term memory. I make a huge effort to memorize the course and lock myself away doing all the exercises I have been taught by the brain injury clinic memory programs.  I almost always am reliant on my written note once in the ring. A fellow competitor remarked that I should be disqualified and stated the rule book and his interpretation of it.    I'm left feeling that if this is the case, then perhaps people like myself shall exclude themselves? It's disappointing to say the least so I hope this is clarified and that they are incorrect in the interpretation.  I try very hard. I have a yard full of obstacles. I have sponsored races and do everything I can to promote it by recruiting new people and hosting practice nights.  This has left me feeling quite disheartened.    I look forward to your reply. Answer: There is no current rule, or correct interpretation of the rule, that prevents you from having the course map (written on your hand or on paper) with you on course.  This is not unusual and follows the "spirit" of the rules that says you have a list of tasks to do and an order to do them in.   Many of our competitors need a little help from time to time remembering their course- for a variety of reasons. For your added information, our rules do allow for occasional "help from outside the ring" ; someone can yell out to you the next obstacle when you need it. (this too comes into plat from time to time for even our best competitors. )  A rider is however, NOT allowed to use any personal transmission device (ear bud, etc) to get instructions from another individual. Please feel free to tell your "fellow competitor" to talk to me directly if he wants to discuss this official rule interpretation with me. The EXCA wants you as a happy and confident competitor - not a disheartened one questioning whether she belongs or is welcome to compete.   Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  Thank you also for all your efforts regarding sponsorship, practise nights and attracting new members to the sport.  Please feel free to contact me directly if related matters come up in future competitions.
Question:  Very happy about your quick answers to all my questions, but I want to be clear here in Europe when questions are asked, because I also have a lot of questions from France being one of the most experienced and "old" member of EXCA.    When does a horse have to quit the green horse category?  After one season, after a certain number of contest, never?    Does the rider that ride a green horse have to go in at least the intermediate category, because it is difficult to admit that a novice could present a green horse?    When does a rider have to go up to another category without question?  After being champion in his category, or being in the top of his category (podium)?    May a rider ride in two different classes?  Novice and intermediate by example seems to be illogical.  Any category and pro seems ok, except for the ride smart, but may a ride smart also ride in non pro or intermediate by example?    Is the Pro category to be considered as an "open" class also?    Those are the questions that I got for the moment and that I don't really find a clear answer in the rule book. Answer: Regarding the "green horse" *this is a non point earning class (no EXCA records kept on the horses that choose to compete in this class).  The current eligibility rules for this class dictate than any horse that has not competed in an official EXCA class may  show in this event.  Because it is  1)a non point earning class, 2) the allowed obstacles are comparably simple and unchallenging,  and 3) the rider cannot use it in any other class,  horse don't typically remain in this class very long - they either show they are ready to move up or demonstrate they are not right for the sport.  There are exceptions to every rule; I have occasionally heard that an area downgraded the prizes (and offered little ,if any , prize money) compared to the regular classes so there was no incentive to stay in the class. *there is no age limit, show limit, win limit, or time limit for continued eligibility - if the horse has not been exhibited in another class by any rider, it remains theoretically eligible.  Once it shows in any other EXCA class, it cannot be shown in a green horse class - regardless of time, rider, skill level. * any rider aged 12 or older may show a horse in the Green Horse class.  There is no assumed level of skill for that rider, which means that a Novice may indeed exhibit (and often does, without penalty or assumption they should then not be able to continue to show as a novice).  There are a great many reasons for a rider to choose to exhibit a horse in the Green Horse division rather than an official class - that is why EXCA chose to offer this option. Regarding riders "having to  move up" *Frankly, we are collectively still looking for the perfect answer to this question.  Rider classification remains the responsibility of the EXCA  (which means that regional clubs cannot over rule the rating issued by EXCA, regardless of "best intentions" ).  If a rider appears to be under or over rated, that info can be provided to EXCA for review.  Annually, all riders results are evaluated via a computer generated program; those riders exceeding a certain level are automatically notified that their eligibility has changed.  Winning a "championship" does not automatically move a rider up, nor does total points (points earned regardless of whether you are successful or just showing a lot) earned. Some people, depending on their comparable skill level rather than longevity in a particular division, may spend many years in a division ...while others are moved up very quickly.  (I find a golf analogy works best when explaining this : competitive skill level in golf is based on your official handicap - not how long you have golfed or how many times a year you golf.  Some people are naturals or work hard to improve their assigned handicap - the lower the better.  The goal is to create classes/ levels of competition based on similar skill levels.  I am always going to be a 20 plus handicap despite 40 years experience, and thus eligible to compete in the 20 plus division that the better golfers are not eligible for; others with virtually no experience but a gift for the sport are forced to compete in the better divisions only.) Riding in more than one division: *A pro can only ride in the pro class ..... or a futurity class or  green horse class .  All other riders are allowed to "ride up" .  Some restrictions apply: a rider under the age of 12 may only ride up into the Youth class; a rider must be at least 18 years of age (ie not eligible to compete in the Youth class) to show in the Novice class; and obviously, a rider must meet the age restrictions for the Ride Smart class.  Riders at lower classifications are encouraged to test their skills against the higher ranked divisions to gain experience on more difficult courses and ready themselves for graduation to a higher level .  Many Non Pro's compete in the Pro (aka "open") class.  The Ride Smart class is a non pro class with age restrictions - and not an assessment of skill level re Novice/Intermediate/Non Pro. *Regardless, a horse may only be exhibited a maximum of 3 times in a complete show (ie one round of classes). * Any rider aged 12 or older may enter the Pro class ..without jeopardizing their status as a Non Pro.