Tag Archives: Domaine de Gauchoux

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:

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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.

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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….

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….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…..)

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

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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…….

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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…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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