Extreme Cowboy Association All Rights Reserved 2017
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
Question: We are receiving some inquiries to know if
performance style shirts with zipper collar are
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
*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
*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.