Category Archives: Events

Young Archers Training Camp 2017

Last week saw us back on the road to the Domaine de Gauchoux near Limoges in France, for the second edition of the training camp for young archers where we had such fun  last year.

This year, CMA was represented by Aliénor again, as well as her sister Éowyn, and Alex Austin, who was hoping to gain her Club Coach qualification by the end of the week. After a long drive down through France on Thursday, we awoke on Friday morning to gorgeous sunshine.

The morning’s session was unmounted, with the kids rotating between different activities and coaches. We we joined by the brilliant Emil Eriksson again, as well as French and British coaches .

In the afternoon, the ponies arrived and again in groups they worked on skills for the Hungarian track. Ali was very happy to be riding Nadjie again…..

Saturday kicked off with a warm up session with Fred Luneau, involving lots of running, jumping and shouting. Then it was off to the sand school for practise on the Mamluk track and the qabaq.

Unfortunately the Qabaq training was cut short when we had to dismantle the pole as one of the arrows got stuck in the top!

On Sunday, all this training was put to the test when everyone took part in the current  IHAA postal match (Hungarian and Mamluk)

Then on Monday we got to see how the French competitions work, with the students competing at the Club 1 Korean and Hungarian events and Éowyn got to compete in the Club 3 event, 3 runs at the walk and a final one at a faster pace. She wanted this to be a mere trot, but the pony had other ideas!

Ali and Alex shot well enough to get Student 4 scores in the Korean and Éowyn came second in her competition, so all pleased with that.

Tuesday saw us on the hunt track with 3D targets, which not all the horses were too keen on. Even Éowyn got in on the action….

Then in the afternoon, all that was left was for Alex to do the final bit of testing on her Club Coach logbook, which she passed.

As well as all the archery action, we had the usual excellent catering and accommodation in yurts, and some pleasant evenings chatting and drinking. The kids all got on really well, and Éowyn struck up a friendship with Isabel, a Swedish archer who can give the adults a run for their money (despite only being a year or two older than Éowyn). So now our youngest member has a role model to emulate!


So a fabulous week, we all learnt a lot and made some new friends. Here’s to the next one 🙂 Finally, some video to give you more of a flavour of the event:


Back to Beaumont

A couple of days before Christmas we were back at the Centre Equestre du Pays Beaumontois in south west France for another day’s coaching. A couple of friends who live near there brought their horses along for a look at what it’s all about.

And another couple of friends had a go at mounted archery for the first time

In the afternoon we had fun and games with the kids, they tried arrow pick ups and shooting at balls balanced on cones, some of them were very good at it!

Roll on the summer, when we can go back and do some more 🙂


BHAA National Championships 2016

On September 17th and 18th the BHAA National Championships were held at Old Mill Stables in Cornwall for the second year running. So most of the members of Cotteswold Mounted Archers made  the long trip down there, although due to financial and work constraints, we didn’t take our horses this time. Our newest member, Nicola, was already there when we arrived, having gone down a couple of days earlier to ensure she’d have time to do her assessment for Club Archer before the competition began. She easily passed her assessment, despite having only taken up the sport a couple of months ago.


Day one started with horse tryouts, followed by the first group of competitors doing the Hungarian competition, using a brand new target all the way from Poland. After lunch we then had the new Walk Course competition, for the younger archers and Nicola, who won the class. Eowyn came fourth, but still won the “who can get the most golds” competition she had going with Nicola, with I believe a bar of chocolate at stake……..



The day then finished with a second group of archers doing the Hungarian competition. Ali, sticking to the Tolkien-themed horse names, rode a cob called Bilbo and Alex got Tia, a very marish mare,  complete with sparkly browband.

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After a pleasant evening in the pub for dinner and chat, we were up early again on Sunday morning for day two. In the morning was the Korean competition, two runs of single shot, two of double and finally two of triple shot. Then in the afternoon was the Aussie Triple competition for the student grade archers, followed by the Mamluk for the HA grade competitors. The local BBC news cameraman had even arrived for this last stage, to film a few runs and interview a couple of the riders. We did have to stop a run at one point when he decided to stroll up to one of the targets to position his camera next to it!!

Al and Éowyn were fitted out with our new GoPro helmet cam, some footage from that (with a lot of talking from Éowyn) as well as the rest of the competition is here:

Then all that remained was to announce the winners. Overall winner and new British Champion was Simon Harding, followed by Oisín Curtis of Old Mill Stables in second and one of his students, 15 year old Amy O’Connor in third.


CMA came away with a first and fourth in the walk class (Nicola and Éowyn) and third and sixth in the Australian Triple (Alex and Aliénor).



Quick trip to France

We just got back from a couple of weeks’ holiday in France and of course there was some mounted archery involved. Ali went back to our old club for a couple of lessons with her French instructor, John, and he says she’s made some good progress.

DSC_2111 (2)During her second lesson, they tried jumping and shooting which looks like a lot of fun. Ali hit the target every time 🙂

DSC_2825 (3)Then last Sunday we spent a day at the Centre Equestre at Beaumont du Périgord with some old friends running a horseback archery clinic. Initially it was supposed to be me spending a couple of hours doing some coaching with an English friend, but when Isabelle who  runs the place found out I am now a qualified coach, she organised a whole day with more people. Was great fun, and of course we had the traditional 2 hour French lunch with BBQ and wine…….

DSC_2258 (2)Our youngest member joined in too and did really well, she even managed to hit one of the flying targets (unlike the rest of us!)

DSC_2223 (2)We did lots of unmounted practise first, moving and shooting, bouncing on a trampoline, playing team games (Team France beat Team GB!) and generally having fun.

DSC_2180 (2)Then after lunch they got on some horses and did a few more games for improving balance (and giving people  something else to do with their hands so they let go of the reins )

DSC_2294 (2) DSC_2394 (2)Then on to the mounted shooting, everyone did really well, starting at walk then moving on to faster paces if they wanted to……

DSC_2500 (2) DSC_2505 (2)DSC_2487 (2) DSC_2524 (2)DSC_2496 (2)We even introduced them to the Mamluk course, which they all enjoyed. A great day’s coaching, and they’ve asked us to come back the next time we’re in the area 🙂


GB v NL match

DSC_0826 (2) Last weekend saw us on the road to Cornwall again for the latest match in the BHAA International series. A team from Holland came over for a three-way tournament with a GB team and a GB under 18 team. Alex was on the GB senior team, and as of last Thursday, so was Ali (at the grand old age of 15), as one of the other adults had to drop out.

So, cramming the car full of camping gear, archery gear and the obligatory case of cider from our sponsor (and cheese from Alex’s sponsor), we headed down the M5 to Old Mill Stables, near St Ives, or nearly as far as you can go south west without the car getting wet. One day we really should get to go to a comp that’s not a stupidly long drive away. Although it was a lot further for the Dutch!

We got to the stables before dark, threw the tent up and went to the pub.  No sign of anyone else, so we had a quick pint and retired to bed. The next morning we were up early, largely due to the cockerels at the stables who apparently believe that morning starts at 4 am when it’s still dark……

As usual, there was a fair amount of standing around chatting to be done before some horses emerged down at the archery field and the process of matching mounts to archers began. Ali started off on Dolly, who is a mare very much with a mind of her own, and having never had a left-handed archer on board before, decided she didn’t really want to go down the run that way round. So we went to plan B which was an equally feisty mare called Tia who seemed to be permanently in season. Alex rode a nice little pony called Charlie who was of course remarkably straightforward compared to the mares……

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After lunch (Cornish pasties) we did the Hungarian competition. This being something we don’t get to practise much, the scores weren’t great. By the end of the day, the under 18 team was in the lead, followed by the Dutch and finally our (mostly) over 18 team.

DSC_0453 (2)The Dutch all rode really well and of course Dolly was as good as gold for one of their team……

DSC_0285 (2)After the competition was over for the day, we retired to the caravan site next door, where the accommodation for the rest of the teams was a lot more civilised than ours, and drank cider and ate cheese. Then in the evening it was time for a trip to the pub for dinner.

Sunday morning kicked off with the Korean competition, our girls did a bit better with this one, but by lunchtime (more pasties) the U18s were still in the lead. That afternoon was the Mamluk competition, this is a more interesting take on the Korean track, with such things as a target on the “wrong” side of the track and one flat on the floor, called a jarmaki. This is a lot of fun, but very challenging. The girls gave it a good go though.

DSC_0740 (2)DSC_0866cThe Queen of the Mamluk course turned out to be Charlotte from the Dutch team who scored amazingly well (if you hit all 4 targets you get extra bonus points) and snatched victory for the visitors away from Team Teen.

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So it was a great weekend, we met some lovely new archers and came away with a bronze medal and some sunburn. Here’s to the next one 🙂


Young archer training camp at Gauchoux

We’e just got back from a fun few days in France, down at the Domaine de Gauchoux near Limoges. This is a big equestrian centre owned by our friend Alan and he has lots of archery tracks set up and plenty of horses to use.

We stayed in yurts on site which are surprisingly warm and comfortable, especially as mine wasn’t one of the ones that lost its waterproof top during the storm we had one night, and were a mere short stagger back from the communal dining (and drinking) room.


The first morning saw us start in the indoor school with drills and skills on the ground. After that we were up in the big sand school with Alan and Oisin (the coach at Old Mill Stables in Cornwall) putting the kids through their paces. This included shooting on the “wrong” side which is every bit as hard as it sounds……

DSC_0406Then after lunch it was time for more warm up activities….


….then horses were retrieved and taken down to the main archery track for a lesson with Emil, a lovely chap and excellent horse archer from Sweden who just happens to be the current world champion. He was showing the kids how to be more effective when it comes to forward and back shots. This involved showing us his foot (and more importantly how much of it should be in the stirrup…..)


…and doing a lot of squirming around on a horse’s back


Next it was time for the kids to put all this into practiseDSC_0527 (2) DSC_0534 (2) DSC_0536 (2)And eventually they even got their bows back!

DSC_0619 (3)So after an informative and fun first day, it was back to the ranch for lots of nice food and some cider from our sponsor….

WP_20160326_20_26_22_Pro (2)Day two, and in the morning we went to visit the castle at Confolens and then on to a field archery course. This proved to be a lot of fun although several of the targets were right by the river so a few arrows went for a swim.

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DSC_0123 (2)Then in the afternoon everyone did the IHAA postal match. All 24 of them. Which meant that the last group was virtually shooting in the dark but never mind, it was a beautiful afternoon.

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Meanwhile, I got to play with one of Alan’s horses who hadn’t been introduced to archery yet. Lovely boy, very sensitive so took him a while to feel OK with what was going on, but we made some progress…….


DSC_0295 (2)After that I spent some time getting two small boys to stop arguing long enough to practise their archery. Then one of the French lads turned up and wanted showing some new stuff so it turned into a bit of a bilingual session.

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Once the last of the postal match competitors had finished their runs (in the dark) we all went back to another nice hot meal and some Soplica 🙂

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Sunday morning meant a circus skills workshop for the kids and messing about in the indoor school shooting for the adults. Spent a fair amount of time learning about different ways to hold arrows in the hand when shooting and different techniques for drawing them from a quiver too. Always good to exchange ideas with other horseback archers……

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Then after lunch it was time for the Hungarian competition so everyone could put their squirming around in the saddle techniques into practise.

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Our genial host Alan doesn’t look too pleased with things in this photo though!

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Again, I spent some time in the afternoon with the “learner” horse. We took him up to the sand school where the two small boys had momentarily stopped arguing long enough to do some shooting practise on a small pony. Big horse soon got the idea that the pointy sticks weren’t going to do him any harm. Small pony already knew this……

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After the competition was finished (before dark this time, clocks had changed overnight) there was time to go up to the hunt track for a quick whizz round. Think everyone enjoyed that 🙂

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On Monday morning it was fairly horrible, weather-wise, so we repaired to the indoor school for some more target practise.  Some of the targets were moving which made it more fun. Somehow, Ali managed to break one of Oisin’s arrows when she hit it as they were both aiming for the same target!

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By lunchtime, people were starting to leave, so we took the obligatory team coaches photo

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After lunch, we sat in the warm by the log burner and Dan (BHAA president and current British champion) showed us loads of useful stuff, like how to fletch arrows and care for the bow properly, and match arrows to bows.

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Then we had one final meal together before an early night and early start for home the next day.

It was a fantastic few days with some great people and we’ve all learned loads. Really hoping it happens again next year…….