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Mounted Archery

Mounted Archery

Photos courtesy of the British Horseback Archery Association


As if riding wasn’t challenging enough, some adventurous souls have added arrows into the mix.


You may have guessed from the title, but just to be clear, horseback archery involves shooting arrows at targets while riding a horse, thus combining archery skills with horsemanship.


Horseback archery typically involves traditional recurve bows or traditional-style horse bows, and the arrows are carried in specialised quivers worn by the rider. The number of arrows carried depends on the specific rules and type of competition.


Just like any other equestrian discipline, horseback archery has its inherent risks, and we would recommend finding a qualified coach who can help you get started. The British Horseback Archery Association has a list of affiliated schools, clubs and coaches on their website.



One of the most interesting aspects of this sport is its wonderful global feel – embracing past cultures and traditions from around the world – which has resulted in a number of differing competitions.


One popular form of competetive horseback archery is horseback archery eventing, or HBAE. In these events, competitors compete on three different tracks over three separate days:


  • The Tower Track, which requires the horse to keep a good, steady rhythm, while demanding technical ability, focus and accuracy from the rider, very much like the dressage phase of a three day event. For the Tower Track, the rider must shoot at a single, central target with as many arrows as they can between the start and finish gates;

  • The Raid Track comes next, which - like its show jumping counterpart - is faster paced, but still demands a high level of accuracy from the rider as they must be able to shoot at a variety of targets, while loading quickly from a quiver, on the move;

  • And finally, there's the Hunt Track, which - as you might have guessed - is similar to cross country. Hunt Tracks can be up to 1.5km long, and riders must carry and manage a large number of arrows for these tracks. The targets range from ground shots, offside shots, front, back and side shots, and for the most advanced competitors, shots that can be taken while jumping.



Of course, HBAE is the playground of the mounted archery pros. There are many other archery tracks out there that can be ridden at all paces, and suitable for all levels of horse and rider. Some even do horseback archery from a carriage.


To find out more about this thrilling sport, go to www.bhaa.org.uk or www.ihaa.info.

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