Donalda and District Agricultural Society hosted a two-day Extreme Cowboy and Racing Clinic over Saturday and Sunday, April 29 to 30, drawing amateur and professional riders from the community and beyond.
“We had a great group of vounteers without whom we wouldn’t have been able to run the clinic so smoothly,” said main organizer and one of the participants, Andrea Muhlbach. “I would like to thank the Donalda and District Ag Society for hosting this event, and the Xtreme Wild Rose club for their support with clinician Bunny Caton, and the other directors who joined us this weekend.”
According to Muhlbach, extreme cowboy racing began as a way to enhance the relationship between horse and rider with emphasis on good horsemanship.
“Adding obstacles became a way to focus energies and challenge rider skills with their equine partners,” Muhlbach explained. “Obstacles are rated according to their level of difficulty, from 1R, which is least difficult to 6R, being the most difficult. Good horsemanship is recognized and rewarded; with bonus time points being awarded to add an element of excitement to the race.”
Muhlbach said that she wanted to put on the event to promote “this amazing new sport” to people in our area.
“I have competed in extreme cowboy racing for five years now and what has drawn me to it was the immense versatility and variety of obstacles and challenges that horse and rider participate in,” Muhlbach added. “Donalda Ag Society has been a major supporter in this endeavour.”
After Muhlbach approached the society last fall, they offered to have regular “fun Friday nights” during the winter months, with the the Ag Society members being offered a free chance to experience obstacle work in the evenings.
This past weekend has been the first official extreme cowboy racing clinic in the area.
“It was very well received and we filled both half-day clinics on Saturday with 10 riders each,” Muhlbach said. “We learned what it takes to build a strong and growing partnership with our equine partners, to be able to complete new obstacles that we might encounter at races or just out on the trail, and we covered material like bridges, pool noodle walk-throughs, curtain, tunnel, dragging or carrying items like sleighs, milk jugs or coyote hides among others.”
Clinic participants came from across the province, from as far as Sherwood Park, Caroline, Vegreville, Leduc and St. Albert.
Muhlbach said that it was a good turnout, and all participants and spectators enjoyed the clinic.