It’s a multi-faceted equestrian sporting event showcasing both horse and rider as they maneuver through a series of obstacles demonstrating both their horsemanship skills and incredible ability to change speeds.
It’s called Extreme Cowboy racing and although many stops in the tour are held in the United States the circuit just completed a stop at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. This year was the fourth annual for the Calgary Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge.
Glenn Stewart from Fort St. John, BC was among the entries and says having the event on this big stage has raised the profile of the sport.
“Their show here is beyond anyone anywhere whether it’s put on in the U-S or anywhere in Canada,” explains Stewart.
“These guys definitely pull out all the stops and it’s really getting the people interested. They got such good obstacles and such good courses that it’s fantastic to watch and lots of fun to be in.”
Challenges can vary from course to course but it offers riders and their horse obstacles such as crossing bridges, climbing mounds, jumping barrels, negotiating logs and penning cows among others. A score is then given for each obstacle on the course in addition to overall horsemanship and speed.
If Extreme Cowboy Racing sounds like something you might be interested in Stewart has some tips. The 18-year veteran says it all begins with a quality horse that has to be soft and real sound of the mind.
“Usually when you run horses they can get a little bit out of control. You definitely can’t have that in this,” adds Stewart.
“They’ve got to turn, stop, jump and pull things, so they gotta be brave. You know it’s a bit of work to get a good one.”
For Stuart, this wasn’t his year to stand atop the podium in Calgary. Instead that honor went to Jim Anderson from Strathmore, Alberta who defended his title as Cowboy Up Challenge Champion.
For more information on Extreme Cowboy Racing, including a schedule of events, check out the website: http://www.extremecowboyassociation.com/history-of-exca.htm