Archery is an exciting sport that is suitable for all ages and abilities but selecting the…
There is something magical about archery. The precision at which archers release their arrows to hit the intended targets is a joy to watch. Now, imagine the thrill of seeing an archer shoot targets while riding a horse at high speed. That’s horseback archery. However, to excel in this sport, you must have high levels of agility, coordination, balance, and have a good connection with your horse.
Where can I do Horse Archery?
Horseback arching is growing in popularity. In different states, you will find regional competitions for horseback archers. You can always participate in these competitions as they will enable you to interact with other horse archers while gauging your skills against them.
You can also join the Mounted Archery Association of the Americas (MA3), which is the body responsible for the National Ranking Systems of horse archery in the United States. The rankings are based on results garnered from live competitions, and it includes all horse archers in the US, irrespective of their affiliation.
Some of the areas where MA3 competitions are held include;
- Eagle Point in Oregon
- Bluff Park farm in Alaska
- Soldier Follow in Midway, UT
The benefit of joining an association like the MA3 is that you get exposure to different events, competitions, and clinics. The more you participate in these activities, the more you improve your sport and grow as an athlete. You also get the chance to become part of a community that shares a common interest, and you can even create long-lasting friendships with other horse archers.
If you are a pro in horse archery, you can also be selected for major events such as the IHAA and WHAF World Championships, where you get to compete with horse archers from other parts of the world.
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The difficulty of Doing Archery on a Horse
Shooting an arrow while standing on the ground requires a lot of precision and accuracy to hit the intended target. Now, can you imagine what it takes to hit a target while on the back of a horse that is galloping at top speed? Indeed, it’s not easy. Horseback archers are never stationary when shooting their arrows. This means that the distance from their target keeps on changing, and they must maintain a vision of the target; otherwise, they will lose their focus and shoot aimlessly.
As a horse archer, you also don’t have the luxury of looking down at your bow as you nock your arrow on the string. Instead, you must rely on your instincts and touch, which is not easy, especially for a beginner.
Again, there is no arrow rest as you shoot, and it takes lots of practice to master the art of shooting with an arrow that is not steady.
Preparing Your Horse for Horseback Archery
The relationship between a horse archer and their horse is crucial to their success in this sport. Typically, it takes about two years to train a horse for horseback arching properly. This process will involve daily feedings and practice riding to ensure that the horse fully understands and appreciates the sport.
You should also incorporate frequent fun rides and fun shoots so that the horse does not get bored doing the same things over and over again. A change of scenery once in a while will also ensure you and your horse have a happy and healthy relationship. Before your horse adapts to the sport, you will need to be patient with them because learning takes time and consistency.
Additional Skill Required to Excel in Horse Archery
As a horse archer, both hands are used to hold the arrow and the bow. You might ask – how will I control my horse then? Typically, you must learn to gallop your horse and maintain proper balance without using your hands. You will need to master that skill, but the good thing is that with the right training and practice, you will be good to go. Again, this also calls for the need to foster a good relationship with your horse.
The popularity of horseback archery is growing every day. With more competitions, both regionally and internationally, being organized, the future certainly looks bright for horse archers. If you are aiming to get in this sport, focus on improving your skills, engage in different events and competitions, and you will surely go far.