Hello, my name is Vincent and my horseback archery didn’t start with any equine activities at all, in fact I started with my local archery club back in 2014, shooting target in the most part. I then found field shooting of interest as it had an instinctive element to it, and broke routine. It was much later after many offers of going to try riding from a family member I decided to go , and I wished I had of done it sooner. Shortly after a member within the mounted archers (Nicola), who is also a target archer, suggested that I give mounted archery a try after expressing a lot of interest.
I have had an amazing time so far! I am aiming to study for club horseback archer this year, and also would like to be able to pass archery knowledge onto others in the future. I’ve had a lot of help from some pretty amazing members, with a lot of my shortfalls in knowledge, and know none of it would be possible without them. Live, experience and learn!
I’m Nicola and I’ve not been doing this very long! I took up target archery in May, and Horseback Archery in July 2016. After lots of practice sessions with the Cotteswold Mounted Archers I went with some of our other members to the Nationals, in September. After passing my Club Horseback Archer qualification, as a disabled rider I was eligible to compete in the walk classes – which to my surprise I went on to win! This gave me a taste for more, and my goal for 2017 is to compete in canter classes against able-bodied riders. I’m studying for my Intermediate Horseback Archer qualification and plan to become a club coach next.
My name is Éowyn. I got into horseback archery partly from my dad because he does ground archery and then my mum found out about horseback archery, let me try it and I liked it. I practised it a lot.
A few times on bareback and then in a field where we built a run and at some point I rode on one of our French friend’s western horses.
In 2015 I went to the BHAA championships for the weekend and there was a children’s competition. There were only 3 children but I won on my sister’s horse, Sky, and I won a shiny trophy and a rosette. It was fancy dress.
I like to practice on my mum’s horse Gandalf. He’s 22 but we can still ride him. He’s a lovely calm horse and the most sensible of the three, Elentari, Sky and Gandalf. Although I think they are all lovely. I’m a bit scared of cantering in general but okay with trotting whilst shooting but in the future I’m going to shoot whilst cantering in a competition… maybe.
People ask us a lot why we do what we do, once they’ve asked the inevitable question “is that really a thing?!” So what’s the answer?
Three years ago, I didn’t know mounted archery was a thing either. I’ve been riding for most of my life and have owned horses for many years, but outside of the odd documentary about Genghis Khan, horseback archery hadn’t really registered on my radar.
It was during a trip to the club where we used to ride in France once day that we first heard mention of getting on a horse with a bow in hand. Of course we immediately wanted a go, so were given a bow each and shown how to shoot it at a target on the ground. So far so good…….
Then came getting on the horse. And ambling along past the target at a walk. This is fun, we thought! Let’s go faster…….OK so once the speed increased, any hope of hitting a target went out of the window, but we didn’t care, we were enjoying ourselves. And that’s why we do it, it’s fun, pure and simple.
Of course there are many other reasons to like this sport. As you have to let go of the reins, you need to be able to use your seat effectively. Riding without reins is so good for improving riding position and the rider’s confidence. It’s also one of the most difficult things for many people to do, but giving them a bow to worry about instead is a good distraction!
We also like what we see of most of the horses. In a world full of dressage horses on tight reins and showjumpers wearing all sorts of bits of metal on their heads, it’s nice to see a sport that allows a horse to use its head freely. A lot of people, especially abroad, ride with just a headcollar, or sometimes only a neckstrap…..
Then there’s the opportunity to travel. Last year we went to the European Grand Prix in France and the French National Championships. BHAA members regularly compete in Sweden, Poland, Germany and have even been to the World Championships in Korea. And our own National Championships happen to be in a very nice spot in Cornwall……
So we can highly recommend horseback archery. Suitable for all ages, our youngest member is 8. If you would like to give it a try, please get in touch 🙂