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EXCA Brave Horse

The Brave Horse, Volume 2, Issue 5     


May 2010

Welcome to the Extreme Cowboy Association 

We are excited about 2010 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 Bill Hull at bhextremecowboy@gmail.com.


By Craig Cameron

What is a side pass?  There is no definition of a side pass in most common dictionaries.  There is a side step, side track, side swipe, side stroke, side walk, sideward, sideways and so on, but no side pass.  The reason there is no side pass is because this is a word only used by a select few humans we know as horse people.  So, to you horse people, a side pass is a lateral move or sideways movement performed by the horse first crossing his front legs (if going left, right over left) then crossing his hind legs right over left which creates lateral or sideways movement of the horse.  In a true side pass the horse goes literally & only sideways with no forward movement.  A side pass is used almost exclusively in western riding and rarely if ever used in classical or English style riding.  Lateral movement in English riding or Dressage riding is always done in conjunction with forward movement which is actually much more active for the horse.  In other words, it is easier for a horse to move laterally while also moving forward.  These moves are traditionally called leg yields, two tracks of half passes depending on the position of the horse.  However, the movement is not exclusively used only by Dressage or English riders.  The best Western trainers make use of all the great lateral movements to control all parts of their mounts, to create great lead departures, lead changes and to develop total control of their horses.


A side pass in Western riding is used in many common sense ways.  To open and close a gate, a side pass is a must.  If you want to get up next to an object of person, side passing many times is the best and most practical procedure.  In other words, move your horse sideways to get straight to where you want to go.  The shortest distance between two points is always a straight line.  Sometimes that line will be sideways which calls for a side pass when you are horseback.


There may be many ways to develop a side pass move.  First your horse must know how to give and yield to pressure with your hands, legs, reins, bit & spurs.  You can start on the ground or in the saddle.  One good technique is to put your horse’s head on the rail of an arena.  This way he can not move forward... For lateral movement to the left, apply pressure on the right side of the horse.  You can first apply pressure with your spur behind the cinch.  When his hip or hindquarters moves, then apply pressure at the cinch and with your right rein on his neck.  Then his shoulder will move.  Then immediately go back to the first cue with spur behind the cinch to move the hind quarter and then back to the second cue to move the front end or shoulder of the horse.  Tip his head slightly to the right to move left, but remember it is important to not over bend.  In time your horse will begin to understand and respond by moving smoothly, gently and easily to the side.  Remember each time your horse yields or gives, you must reward him by releasing the pressure of your cues.  This release of pressure is his incentive to do what you are asking.  Side passing is a beautiful move which will help you in your horsemanship, to develop a lead departure, lead changes and to position your horse for many maneuvers and obstacles.  For all great horsemen, lateral movement is a must for position and control!  Don’t forget control is what all great horsemanship is all about so do not sidestep this very important maneuver we call a side pass.


Ride hard and always Ride Smart.


Craig Cameron



By Leah Burke

Greeting EXCA membership, and welcome to a great organization!


First and foremost I would like to say thanks to Craig Cameron for being such a great horseman and for his willingness share his knowledge and  to teach others. I also want to thank him for his idea of the Extreme Cowboy Race and the formation of the association.  Thanks also go out to his wife Dalene, and to Bill and Barbara Hull for their countless hours of work to  grow and guide the association to where it is today.


 My name is Leah Burke, I work as a full time dispatcher for Fedex in Tyler, Texas, where I have been employed  for 24 years. I have always been competitive, playing various sports, with basketball being my passion in high school.  Today, I am  involved in my church, working with young  horses and digital photography.  I enjoy entering  women’s ranch rodeos, team ropings,  and  of course my  favorite event,  the Cowboy Extreme Races !  My husband, Stoney Burke, and I, form Burke Quarter Horses and  currently raise about 6 colts a year by our  AQHA stallion “Seeking Our Star”. He is a foundation bred grandson of King Wimp. He is a strong producer of well minded, strong built, all around performance colts. I currently compete on one of his sons, “Seeking Fast Draw” aka  Sonnyman. He is a  6yr old, 15.3 hand  black gelding, with a great mind and willing heart.  Sonnyman is very versatile inside the arena as well as out,  being used for cattle and ranch work also.


 My first exposure to Extreme Cowboy Racing sport  was in October of 2008 when Craig hosted the All Girl Extreme Race at his ranch in Bluff Dale, Texas.  Myself and 17 other cowgirls competed in a tough race, where I placed 4th overall. Sonnyman, only being a 4yr old at the time, did an outstanding job at such a young age.  Along with a beautiful Circle Y saddle and prize money,  came an invitation to compete in November, only 3 weeks later, at the Extreme Race National Finals in Kansas City, Mo. The Saddle and Sirloin Club hosted a great event on a tough outdoor course. It was an extremely cold weekend, but everyone including the horses handled it well  and a great time was had by all. This event was prior to the different divisions being established, so I competed against the pros, and happily finished in the Top 15.  These two  races  were  such a great experience in so many ways, and so much fun.  I was now hooked on Extreme Racing !!!


 With the EXCA going nationwide in 2009, I returned to Kansas City for the summer race in June placing 3rd in the Non Pro division. I finished the year in my home  region at the races  held in Amite, La  winning the Lone Star Region  Non Pro Championship.   The 2009 World Finals were held at Topeka, Kansas in November  on a tough indoor course. I decided that my goal at the finals  was to finish in the top 10 of my division, knowing the competition  would be extremely  tough and it was. It was a great finals with riders from several states competing there.  I was 6th in the average after the two long  go rounds and finished in 8th overall,  my goal was accomplished!


 Currently my mother,  Carol Caldwell, EXCA member and judge, and I are working to promote the EXCA in the East Texas area. I want to thank her for all the hours of traveling  with me to the races over the last 2 yrs, I am so blessed to have her support in everything I do. 


We both have met  so many great people through the EXCA, and in only  a short time have made several lifelong friendships.


Through involvement in  the EXCA I have improved my horsemanship tremendously. I encourage everyone to  keep entering races and invite a friend  each time you go,  and we will  continue to see the  association grow. Set goals for yourself and your horse as a team each time you enter.  The more you  STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE, the more you and your horse will  bond and the  trust  between you will grow  just as mine has done.  One of the best things about  EXCA, is that while staying within the association guidelines, no two competitions are exactly  the same, so each race  you compete in can be a brand new challenge! 


Ecclesiastes: 3:1  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.


God Bless each of you and see you at the next race!


Leah Burke





Extreme Cowboy Association

Certified Judges


As all of you know, EXCA has been working hard to establish a roster of EXCA Certified Judges.  Every EXCA certified judge has passed the written exam.  Those that have passed the written exam are certified as a Level 1 judge.  Those that have passed the exam and attended the Judging Clinic, taught by Craig are certified as Level 3.


We now have certified EXCA Judges in 14 of the 17 EXCA Regions.  The following is a list of EXCA Regions and how many judges are in each Region as of this writing (May 12, 2010).

In alphabetical order:

·         Aloha , 1

·         Canada , 3

·         Lone Star, 10

·         Mid-Atlantic , 1

·         Mid-Central, 1

·         Mid-Mountain, 1

·         Mid-West, 7

·         Nor Cal, 6

·         North Central, 1

·         North Eastern , 1

·         South Central, 2

·         South Eastern, 4

·         South Pacific, 3

·         South Western, 1

All of the EXCA Certified Judges are listed by Region on the EXCA website.  There is a link on the top – center of the front page; click the link and the list of judges will pop up.  There is a “Select” icon next to each name.  Click “select” and the contact information on that judge will appear.

We strongly encourage each EXCA Club to use EXCA Certified Judges whenever possible.  Using EXCA Certified Judges is in the best interest of EXCA.  Using EXCA Certified Judges sends a positive message to EXCA members that we are doing everything we can to provide high quality and standardized judging at every EXCA event.


Best Wishes to each of you for a successful 2010 season!


Bill Hull


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The Brave Horse the best newsletter in the equine world.  Please forward your ideas and suggestions to Bill Hull at bhextremecowboy@gmail.com.



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