Friday, January 16, 2015

Horseback Archery

Lately I've suddenly started seeing posts on Facebook from the Mounted Archery Association of the Americas.  I know that I "Liked" their page quite a while ago, but I think (thanks to Facebook) I haven't been seeing their posts for some reason.  That's too bad, they share a lot of awesome pictures.  Hopefully I'll be seeing their posts now; I went and checked on the "Get Notifications" thing under the Like button, that's supposed to help.

Looking at the pictures they've been posting made me think of the horseback archery that I've done.  It is something I always had an interest in when I was younger, but I'd never had a chance to try it.

Then one summer, a few years ago, a guy came and did a clinic for Plains Indian style horseback archery... right at the barn where I board!

It was a great clinic.  He was doing it for a three day weekend I think, but on the first day Jeff and I were the only ones there, so we actually had the clinic all to ourselves.

For that first clinic, we rode a horse he had brought and used one of his bows.  We started on the ground, learning some history and safety, and shooting from the ground.  Then it was time to hop on a horse.

We learned that there are three basic shots: when you are approaching the target, when you are alongside the target, 

and when you are leaving the target.

I quickly learned that the last one, the parting or Parthian shot, is my favorite.  (It still is!)

When I said that I was interested in trying this someday on Bo, the clinician offered to introduce Bo to archery.  So I brought out my boy.

He started on the ground, letting Bo sniff the bow.  Then he fired a few shot from the ground, standing right next to Bo.  Bo didn't care, he rarely ever does care about much.

Finally he hopped on, bareback, and rode around.

He had a few shots fired off of him that first day, it was no big deal.  

The clinician exclaimed, "I've gotten your horse archery broke!" and we had a good laugh.

Next up, it was Jeff's turn.

He did most of his shots from a standstill since he hadn't ridden a horse much at this point.

The next clinic I went to was at the clinician's ranch that fall.  This one had a few participants.

We started on the ground again and then got on horses.  I had brought Bo and the other two ladies were borrowing horses from the ranch. 

After the clinic, we had a "graduation picture" taken.

The whole clinic had been done riding at a walk, but he told me afterwards if I wanted to try at a faster speed that I could.  So Bo and I did several canter passes while a friend took pictures.  Here are some of the best ones:

This is one of my favorite pictures from the day.  It wasn't until I saw this picture that I really realized what I had done.  Ride at the canter with no hands...!  I never would have thought it was something I could or would do, but when you are doing archery, you are so focused on handling the bow and watching the target, that everything else goes away.  This picture really captured my focus on the target while Bo cantered along.  I had just knocked and arrow and was about to take a shot.

The next year I did go to another one of his clinics, but I hadn't taken Bo so I was using a horse he brought again.  I only have one picture from that day.

All along, I hadn't had my own bow or arrows, so I wasn't able to get in any practice on my own.  I was only able to shoot when I went to the clinics.  The clinician made bows, reproduction Lakota horseback bows, and sold them.  Christmas before last, Jeff bought me one of the bows and six target arrows!

I've had a lot of fun with my bow since getting it.  I've done a lot of practice off of Bo and plenty of shooting from the ground too.  I've helped introduce others to mounted archery too, it is a lot of fun! 

Looking at the pictures from the Mounted Archery Association on Facebook makes me want to go out and shoot some more arrows!

1 comment:

  1. I need to move up there and start hanging with you.....when you get back from Japan of course...