Bull’s Eye! Horse Archery Horse archery, also known as mounted archery, is fast becoming a popular sport in Australia.
The sport of mounted archery comes, as many horse sports do, from hunting and war, where a hunter or soldier armed with a bow and arrow shot at an animal or enemy while riding a horse. Superb equestrian skills are needed as the rider needs to let go of the reins so that they can shoot the arrow with both hands.
What equipment do you need?
For mounted archery obviously you’ll need a horse – any kind – and any type of saddle is permitted. If you’re feeling extra confident, you can compete bare back. You will also need a bow and arrows and forgive us for pointing out the obvious but it’s a good idea to desensitize your horse to the bow and arrows before you try to hit targets! The mind boggles.
There are many horse archery clinics offered throughout Australia so it would be a good idea to go to a few to obtain the skills needed to be safe and successful in the sport.
How does it work? There are different types of courses for those who are inexperienced or more advanced. These courses can be done from the walk, trot and canter. Starting off, the horse has to be able to go forward in any pace in a straight line.
Single shot course The single shot means that one target is aimed for during this run, The
track is 90 meters from start to finish with a single target in the middle (45 meters) that is parallel to the track. The archer is to shoot at the target and has 14 seconds to complete the run.
Double shot course This course has two targets that the archer aims for. The first target is positioned at an angle 40 meters along the track and the second is angled at 50 meters along the track. The archer is to aim for the first target at 25 meters and the second at 65 meters. For that second target they will have to turn and aim for the target that is now behind them. The archer has 14 seconds to complete the run.
Triple shot course
The course again is 90 meters long with the first target positioned 20 meters along and angled at 45 degrees – the archer will point to the front to hit this target. The second target is also positioned at 45 meters along the track and is parallel to the run where the archer will shoot from the side. The final target is 70 meters along the track and the archer will have passed this target so they will be shooting behind them. The arrows must all be released before the horse reaches the end of the run. The archer has 14 seconds to complete the run.
The scores are all based on where the arrow hits the target and if the run was completed in the allocated time. With the sport becoming more popular we advise you to look for associations in your area to join. While we have simplified the sport, the full range of explanations and rules is available on the Australian Horse Archery Association website
Hot riding tips Ideally your horse should be able to neck rein and be responsive to subtle cues of your legs if you want them to speed up or slow down. To avoid bouncing around and missing a target with the horses natural movement, the archer should take a two or three point seat to take the ‘bounce’ out of the saddle that may make them miss the shot.by using the legs as suspension will remove the bounce and improve the shot accuracy.
This Horse Archery article appeared in HubVibes April 2018. #hubvibes