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Horseback Archery – What Is It and How Does It Work?

Horseback Archery – What Is It and How Does It Work?

Horseback archery is a historic hunting technique used all over the world. It requires a skilled rider who can correctly shoot an arrow using a bow while mounted on a horse. Most Eurasian nomads were among the first to deploy mounted archers in the medieval period. The practice gradually expanded to Eastern Europe and Mesopotamia.

Horseback archery is a rapid adrenaline event that requires riding a horse and shooting arrows at a target. This sport combines accuracy and speed by requiring the archer to ride a horse galloping at a rapid rate while shooting at targets. This sport demands a great degree of balance. 

The term horseback archery is also referred to as mounted archery or horse archery. It is a high-octane adrenaline rush that combines speed and precision; it involves shooting arrows from a horse running at more than 30 mph while still controlling the horse.

sport horse archeryArchery On Horseback

The goal of horseback archery sport is for the rider to run around a 90-meter course and shoot arrows at targets from various distances. In the United States, mounted archery is becoming more popular, with several riding associations providing members the opportunity to learn the sport.

Since its independence in 1921, Mongolia, which historically relied on horseback archery for security and survival, has ushered in a renaissance of equestrian archery skills. However, the activity is mainly seen at festivals, and competitors are usually seen standing and shooting arrows rather than riding horses.

Archery on horseback is a fairly recent phenomenon as a modern sport. However, its origins can be traced back to ancient times, and it has been performed and mastered in various cultures throughout history, resulting in various techniques and specializations. While some have been passed down the generations as a custom or rite, others are being reintroduced by enthusiastic practitioners worldwide.

The origins of horseback archery can be dated back to early forms of mounted combat. The Scythians were the first to make entire empires quiver with their horses’ hoofbeats and arrow rains. Horseback archers use different equipment and have a different shooting style than other archery disciplines.

The introduction of horseback archery in mainstream entertainment through franchises like Hunger Games and Avengers is credited with the recent spike in interest. It is, nevertheless, a long-standing tradition. This 400-year-old ritual and sport have its origins in some of history’s most formidable empires, including the Ottomans and Mongols, and other historical societies.

Mounted Archery

A horse archer is a soldier equipped with a bow and capable of shooting while mounted. Archery has been in existence for centuries; people usually shoot their bows and arrows while riding on the back of several riding animals’ asides horses. It was a massively effective tactic for hunting, herd protection, and fighting in broad open expanses.

Horses have been tamed in Britain for more than 4000 years, while archery dates back to 2500 BC. The Scots claim descent from the Scythian nations of Eastern Europe, some of the world’s best-mounted archers, in the Proclamation of Arboreta.

It is probably worth noting that compound bows, and every other bow with a mechanized trigger, are banned in mounted archery.

This is due to the increased risk of you shooting your hand or harming the horse by accident. Any bow with a maximum draw weight greater than 60 pounds is prohibited. The key notion here is that a high-poundage bow would weary your arms more rapidly, making it hard to pull a complete draw continuously.

Classic recurved and curved composite bows commonly used in contests should be considered. These bows are tiny enough to enable you to shoot accurately from a horse while still maintaining adequate range and penetrating strength. Targets are typically 7 meters apart and do not exceed 40 meters.

As a result, a light and the compact bow is recommended; a thumb draw of 25 to 35 pounds or a three-finger draw of 30 to 40 pounds will suffice. There are many high-quality mounted archer bows available. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned horseback archer, you will discover something that will suit your needs.

An arrow quiver is a receptacle that holds your arrows, and it can be worn on the body of an archer. You must fire arrows from a quiver in several mounted archery tournaments. On the other hand, others may demand you to shoot with your hand, but these tournaments are uncommon.

Even if you are only interested in mounted archery for pleasure, you should invest in a quality quiver to keep your arrows safe and secure. As one might expect, various quiver styles are available, including hip, back, and leg quivers. The thigh or hip quiver is the optimum quiver style for mounted archery.

Mounted archery’s core concept is to shoot targets at rapid speeds. As a result, you should choose a thigh quiver with a separate compartment for each arrow to enable a faster draw and avoid wasting time drawing an arrow from the quiver. Mounted archery does not necessitate the use of special arrows.

On the other hand, standard arrows can be used as far as they fit the spine weight of your bow. Mounted archery arrows typically have a spine of 400 to 600 grams and tips of 100 to 175 grams. You should choose an arrow with a 600 spine because they are softer and more flexible than ones with a 400 spine.

You should use carbon fiber, bamboo, or aluminum arrows for mounted archery because they are the best materials. Additionally, having two, three, or four feathers fletching on each arrow is strongly recommended to improve precision. Since you will be firing at an increasing speed, you will need feather fletching, which is gentler on your palms and goes faster into the wind.

In mounted archery, the horse is a far more valuable partner. The horse is an important aspect of this activity and should not be treated as equipment. The most crucial factor to consider when selecting a saddle for mounted archery would be how secure and comfortable it would be for you and your horse.

An English saddle is the best-recommended saddle for mounted archery. While we all have our preferences for saddles for mounted archery, your courage and stability techniques are important in this sport. If you are not a poised rider, your archery saddle will shift sideways, reducing your accuracy and competency.

You must have excellent hand-eye coordination in relation to the anticipated archery skills, which demand you incorporate the horse’s high-speed motions in your hips. Remember that speed and accuracy are the most important aspects of mounted archery. As a result, you will need to be especially quick because you will not have the opportunity to rest in your anchor and concentrate.

You will need a great blend of arrow trajectory calculation abilities, muscle memory, flawless hand-eye coordination, and the ability to calculate the distance to an object, which may alter. As a result, you must look, draw, lock, and release in a split second.

Every year, a variety of mounted archery tournaments take place worldwide. The International Horseback Archery Alliance organizes numerous contests worldwide like the European championship, European Grand Prix Series, and World Championship. There are numerous tournaments in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

asian old men archery

Final Thoughts

Horseback archery has become a very popular activity; they are now used for competitions and tournaments. However, you can still participate in horseback archery for fun and as a means of hunting. In the United States, there are no regulations prohibiting hunting on a horse. Mounted archery is lawful to hunt in most states because state laws have no explicit restrictions. However, it is critical to prioritize and protect your own and the horse’s safety.

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