What to Expect

UHCA Events are unique in that each race is held in a different location in Missouri or Kansas. The events are held mostly outdoors, usually in a pasture or other open area, or sometimes in an indoor or outdoor arena. The terrain varies by location as do the obstacles you’ll be required to negotiate. Events are typically held at private residences, fair grounds, parks, stables, or ranches.

Race registration usually opens at 8:30 am with a course walk-through (riders on foot) starting around 9:30 am. The walk-through is lead by a UHCA board member and the judge(s). All riders on a specific course travel the course on foot and are given an opportunity to ask questions or clarify expectations of each obstacle. There are two courses and an electronic draw determines race order. Obstacle difficulty varies by division. Divisions are run in the following order:

  • Low-Impact Course: Classic, Buckaroo, Youth, Novice
  • High-Impact Course: Colt, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 
  • We also have a Schooling Class that is designed for horses and/or riders who are new to UHCA challenges to gain experience in a non-competitive environment. The Schooling Class will run on whichever course finishes first.

There will be a second walk-through for the Novice division that will start no earlier than 11:00 am.The first riders on each course begin shortly after the walk-through, so if you are competing in the Classic or ride the high impact course, it is advisable to arrive early to warm-up your horse. Depending on the number of riders in a division, the race usually ends around 4:00 or 5:00 pm with an awards presentation at the conclusion. At most events, concessions are available for purchase and the judges usually take brief break for lunch mid-day. Events are held rain or shine unless conditions become unsafe.


Each horse and rider team is judged on time, horsemanship, and obstacle negotiation. The UHCA Handbook is a great resource for learning the rules that apply to each division specifically. You’ll also find Judging Guidelines that will shed some light on how obstacles are scored. 

Event hosts are required to provide restroom facilities as well as water for horses. Some hosts allow camping the night before or after the race. Check the specific event details to confirm if camping is allowed and hook ups are available. Additional fees may apply for camping. For some races, additional activities, such as cowboy church, dinners, or trail rides may be available before or after the race. 

Still not sure UHCA is for you? You do not have to be a member to compete in a race, so you can certainly try it out before joining. Our Schooling Class is the perfect opportunity to try it out in a non-competitive situation. You are also welcome to just come and watch a race with our without your horse.  You may want to bring a lawn chair, as seating is often not provided. 

If you do bring your horse, some hosts will allow riders to practice on the obstacles after all races for the day are complete on a course. This can be a great opportunity to see how your horse will react to an unfamiliar situation. Please note, this is at the discretion of each host.  

We guarantee you’ll meet lots of friendly, helpful folks, who encourage and cheer on their fellow competitors. UHCA is the definition of friendly competition and it’s a welcoming and family-friendly community of talented horsemen. If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact us or reach out via Facebook. 


EXCA Affiliation

UHCA Events are co-sanctioned with the Extreme Cowboy Association (EXCA) and EXCA members can receive qualifying points. In order to receive EXCA points at a UHCA Event, the rider must be a member of EXCA and pay a $15.00 fee for points transfer. Beth Sandness will serve as the EXCA Points Liaison and will be responsible for the EXCA Official Score Sheet. If you are an EXCA member, please include your EXCA membership number and division on the Event Registration Form.

Chris Redden, President 660-254-0866 | ultimatehca@gmail.com

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