[Horsebow] Horse back archery???

Hi people, I'm a total newbie to the site and to archery really. My dad and nine year old daughter have been shooting for a couple of years and I have finally joined them lol!

I help run a Dartmoor hill pony charity down here and I have wanted to try horseback archery for years. We teach "natural horsemanship" techniques and I'd love to have something a bit different to do with my ponies.

So I'm just wondering if there are any horseback archers here?

I just bought myself the Kaya Korean horse bow and I'm really enjoying shooting it from the ground. Next step will be de-sensitising the neds!

Any advice and words of wisdom much appreciated, I can't find anyone doing this in the south west with my various google searches ha ha.
 


Phil Reay

New member
think there is a club based in Sussex. seen it advertised but lost the bit of paper. Think it looks quite interesting.
 


jime_d

New member
My dad has been practicing for a few months now, i made him a compilation of various youtube videos on HB archary and he has been trying to copy that. The main guy appears to be Kassai:

[video=youtube;NOpOqgotJZc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOpOqgotJZc[/video]

Another video
Katie and Jebe: reinless riding and horseback archery. - YouTube

My dad first started off by putting the horses near him, but where they couldn't get hit, and shot so they got used to it, then he would ride with just the bow and twang the string and now he is shooting and hitting a target, it has only taken a few months. If you can ride no handed you should be ok.

Just brought a horsebow for his birthday so he should be happy with that.
 


Thanks for the SPTA link, hadn't seen them in my trawl of the Internet, some useful stuff on there.

Awesome link Jime_d, he makes that look awfully easily lol! At the moment my horse skills far outdo my shooting skills, but I'm pleased with my self taught progress with my horse bow, and I just enjoy it so much, which is the important bit of course! I think I'll save up and try to get up to the combat horsemanship place in Wales for some lessons!
 


Sussex hosted the British Horseback Archery Championships earlier this year - I went to watch for a bit.

There's a couple of people on this forum who actively partake. Try searching the forums. :)
 


ChakaZulu

New member
Welcome to horseback archery!
The Centre of Horseback Combat have indeed left Sussex. Watch this space though, because there may well be possibilities in other areas opening up soon, including the Forces Equine Games, in aid of injured servicemen.

As for getting your horses involved, there are various people from the BHAA who would, I am sure, love to help. We have a couple of members in Somerset and more in Bristol. My wife and I are in Sussex and would be happy to come and lend a hand.

One of our members runs a riding school and he teaches natural horsemanship. He wrote an article for the Parthian Shot, our newsletter, on training your horse. I shall try to find a link to it.

For my part, I would say that the important thing is to do as you have been doing: get the horse used to bows. Shoot near them, wave bows and arrows around near them, including when you are up on the horse (you'd be amazed how many horses, even good archery horses, spook when somebody hands arrows to the rider). Also ensure that the horse is used to being controlled with the legs only and will not go crazy when you let go and start shooting. Jumping at the arrows, following the arrows and just plain taking off when the pressure goes from the reins are all potential problems.

Depending on who is going to be riding and what events you plan to do, it may also be worth trying to ensure that the horse is to some extent desensitised to minor leg control and twisting whilst being shot off. Most people will not be able to maintain beautiful control whilst shooting, especially when shooting backwards or upwards.

When it comes to shooting, the bog thing for mounted archery competition is nocking speed. You must be able to draw an arrow from you quiver (or bow hand or draw hand, depending on style and event) and get it onto the string without looking at it. You will see from the video that Kassai holds his arrows in his bow hand. He's terrifying good at it but bear in mind that whilst it is, when done perfectly, very fast, it is also not allowed in some competition styles and Kassai does less well in those events (don't get me wrong, I've shot against him and he is awfully good from a quiver as well, but others are better, which you can't say about his style). Kassai's method is also less safe than a quiver. I would always recommend a quiver to start with.

Personally, I shoot with a thumb draw. Kassai uses a Mediterranean release and he is emulated by most Europeans. We have members using both, as well as the Sassanid style, which is kind of a hybrid between the two. It's worth trying them all. If you use a Kaya then I would definitely recommend trying the thumb draw - Mediterranean is generally reserved for longer bows.

Hope this late-night ramble helps. Do let me know if you have any questions.

Dan (BHAA Chairman)
 


Ooh Dan, you def. sound like the man I need to know lol! Thank you so much for all the pointers. I have just ordered a thumb ring to try the thumb release, so I will have a play with them all. I am practising my shooting on a little range at the big hotel where my husband works. My ponies live with the charity herd here in the village. So my next step is to put up a target at the pony fields, we have plenty of space away from the ponies ha ha.

Dartmoor hill ponies are the most incredible quick learners and so easy to bomb proof. Our charity specialises in training and handling hill ponies from wild, using a no fear, no force technique, developed by an amazing lady called Sarah Weston. We run feral foal handling courses too. So I always enjoy desensitising them to new things! My little 13hh pony Alfie was carrying the rattling quiver of arrows and my bow (whilst I twanged it) on his second session, and I was throwing arrows from over his back, bless him he didn't bat an eyelid!! I love Dartmoors. I'm not sure my new Anglo Arab mare will be quite so straight forward lol!

On the subject of quivers, what type should I get and where is it worn?

I ride bitless anyway so no reins should be pretty easy for them to learn, I don't like a heavy contact.

I think what I really need is lesson on an experienced horse so that I have stuff to practise with mine, and some one to help with my shooting, which is still a little ummmmm inconsistent ha ha ha!

Are there any comps or displays coming up anywhere?

Anyway thank you so much for all your help, I'm excited and having lots of fun along the way!

Here is Alfie the first time he met the bow, and my new girls Missy.
Sarah xx


 


ChakaZulu

New member
Hi Sarah,
The ponies look lovely. You say you ride bitless but the second picture appears to be stirrupless as well...

The BHAA newsletter, the Parthian Shot, is available free here: http://www.scribd.com/collections/3176000/Parthian-Shots some good articles on all sorts of things to do with the sport.

Unfortunately there's not much going on at the moment. I'll let you know if anything comes up. Actually, that's not technically true, there's a competition at Tournament Stus near Silverstone this weekend. It's skill-at-arms, Tentpegging and mounted archery. We aren't running it so I don't know what the hba will consist of, and there will, I think, be only one BHAA member competing: my wife. I think the archery is Sunday afternoon but I don't know how much you'd gain from seeing it, since I would be very surprised if the standard is very high (except for the missus, obviously...)

See how you do with a thumb ring. They need to fit well to be any use. Many people use simple strapping tape (from Boots etc) to wrap the thumb instead. If your ring is too loose then either a piece of tape or a piece of leather underneath it can help. Also, do look up how to use it properly. Many in the West think that you put the thumb on it, often fitting the string into the groove that some manufacturers put on the ring. The string should in fact be positioned at the top of the ring, touching the flesh of the thumb so that as you pull back the string pushes against the edge of the ring, pushing the ring into your thumb. It's difficult to describe but easy to do once you see it properly. There's an article in one of the
Parthian Shots. I think issue 1).

Quiver: it's almost impossible the get a decent horseback archery quiver over here. The best ones are worn hanging from the belt and strapped to the thigh, so that the nocks and fletches are behind you. I made mine myself (instructions are in the newsletter). Otherwise you may need to go abroad for one. The best stop-gap is a holster type quiver.

Hope this helps. We will be running various courses and events next year, probably starting early spring. Plenty of people willing to help out before then if you fancy.

Dan
 


Brilliant, thanks Dan. Ha ha, yes that picture is Missy trying on her new Heather Moffet treeless saddle. I ride the pony bareback quite a lot though too :)

I have a friend who does leather craft so if I can track down a design for a quiver I'm sure she could make me up something.

Yes do let me know when anything exciting is happening, I have 3 little girls and 26 ponies to look after, so time away can be tricky lol, but some mummy time is aloud!

I guess I should go join th bhaa too. Xx
 


ChakaZulu

New member
My design is, I think, in the latest Parthian Shot. I plan to make a new version, correcting mistakes that I made. I'll post some photos of other types of hip quiver, including one that is becoming very popular in the US (I was given one for instructing at a recent camp out there). I'll photograph it and post them here or on the BHAA Facebook page. A decent leatherworker should be able to knock one up without too much trouble.

Dan
 


jime_d

New member
See how you do with a thumb ring. They need to fit well to be any use. Many people use simple strapping tape (from Boots etc) to wrap the thumb instead. If your ring is too loose then either a piece of tape or a piece of leather underneath it can help. Also, do look up how to use it properly. Many in the West think that you put the thumb on it, often fitting the string into the groove that some manufacturers put on the ring. The string should in fact be positioned at the top of the ring, touching the flesh of the thumb so that as you pull back the string pushes against the edge of the ring, pushing the ring into your thumb. It's difficult to describe but easy to do once you see it properly. There's an article in one of the
Parthian Shots. I think issue 1).
Hi

Hope you don't mind me jumping in.

I just brought my dad a thumb ring and it was too big, actually massive, 27mm internal diameter, also that is exactly how we thought the ring worked, with the string in the groove, i will try to look for the article.

I tried to contact Centre of Horseback Combat but couldn't get an answer, i think they are in wales now.

jim
 


ChakaZulu

New member
They are in Wales, yes. Quite possibly moving again soon, but watch this space...
I'll look for the article on thumb rings.
 


jime_d

New member
I found it in issue 3, is there any other way i can download without paying $9, my dad is a technophobe and would find it hard to read from the screen, would like to print them out maybe in bit larger font.

I think he would find them very interesting, he enjoys reading about history.


jim
 


Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
I have a question about horse archery. I presume most horse back archers use eastern style bows, as that is what they are designed for, but does anyone use English Longbows? There are some paintings of horse archers during the 100yrs war of english mounted archers, so I was just wondering if anyone does it.
 


ChakaZulu

New member
jime_d, I shall look into a way to download and let you know.

Raven's Eye, I know one chap who sometimes uses the longbow. Ultimately, though, it is not a good bow for mounted use, so it not really used. I know of one picture showing mounted longbowmen. Could you link to any that you've seen? I'm preparing a presentation on it for the World Horseback Archery Association.

My personal theory on mounted longbowmen is that while such use was not official doctrine and it was not something that a commander would plan to use, at least on the scale of major battles, I have no doubt that it did happen. Give a British soldier a toy and he will play with it. We know that large numbers of archers were mounted, the idea being that they ride to the fight, then dismount for the fighting itself. I am sure that during the course of the raiding that they specialised in inflicting on the French villages, the archers would have shot from horseback, at least occasionally. Equally I suspect that it would have been used for hunting on occasion.
 


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