[Horsebow] Horseback Archery

Dorset Lass

New member
Ironman
Thank you very much ChakaZulu. It is good to know that there are people with experience in horseback archery that I can ask.

I am sure I will be asking you a lot of questions once I have had my first session (not got a date yet). I am too far from Sussex but fortunately live very near to South Petherton.

I presume that the British Horseback Archery Association is not a huge body?
 


ChakaZulu

New member
It's not quite on the scale of GNAS, certainly! There were 15 at the championships and I think maybe 30 or 40 'in' total. My wife's the membership secretary, so I should probably know these things...

I assume you're going to learn from Neil, if you're South Petherton way? He's our Chairman and champion. Competing 'in' the US shortly and has
been to the World Championships before as well. Good horseback archer and generally fine chap. Give him my regards (my name's Dan Sawyer, by the way: he'll have no idea who Chaka Zulu is...)
 


ChakaZulu

New member
We used three fletched, just have to make surethey are all they same way round in your belt or quiver so that when you grab them them your thumb is between they hen feathers and you can push the arrow past they string and pull back to nock
The Koreans get around this issue by using two-fletch arrows. I personally don't think shooting with the cock-feather inwards makes much difference, but I just align my arrows properly 'in' (bloody iphone: stop putting inverted commas on that word...) my boot or quiver (making a special quiver that holds the arrows quite firmly). The other trick is to use a classic nock from Quicks. They have a ridge on them that I align away from the cock feather. That way when I feel the ridge on the pad of my thumb I know I'm aligned right.
 


Dorset Lass

New member
Ironman
The other trick is to use a classic nock from Quicks. They have a ridge on them that I align away from the cock feather. That way when I feel the ridge on the pad of my thumb I know I'm aligned right.
Hmmm doing all this on a cantering/galloping horse with only a very small window of time to nock and aim - impressive stuff. Can't wait to try it!

Yes I am lucky to live near to Neil. There must be vast tracts of the UK which are out of reach of horseback archery tuition. I couldn't believe my luck when I went to the BHA website! One of the reasons we have not been able to fix a date yet is because he is off to the US for the championships. Exciting stuff - I hope some of the coverage finds its way over here so I can see the action.

I will send him your regards when I see him. I will endeavour to use the name Dan instead of ChakaZulu, otherwise no doubt I will get a funny look.

Look I have written this whole post without needing to use the word 'in'.
 


ChakaZulu

New member
There are large areas without hba opportunities, although there is now a place called Smeltings, which is a riding school within (ha, fooled the phone!) the Sheffield area. Damian, who runs it, did very well 'in' the championships and I'm pretty sure he teaches hba now.
 


payneib

Supporter
Supporter
i take it you need slightly more horse skills than having not ridden in 6 years, and only then sporadically?!!!!

would so love to try this out!
 


ChakaZulu

New member
You absolutely do not need more experience than that! When I took it up I hadn't ridden for 3 years and then only occasionally. I know people who are learning riding and archery together, never having done either.

My first session I had a riding lesson for a couple of hours and then did archery being led at a walk and then trot. Next session I moved to canter and galloped 'in' due course.

That's 'in' Sussex. I suspect that 'in' Somerset you might need a bit more, but still not much.

Once you get into the run, you forget about riding. The horse will run straight and you just concentrate on nocking and shooting as quickly and accurately as you can.

Where in the country are you?
 


payneib

Supporter
Supporter
gosport, hampshire, but i have family in poole so could probably make a weekend of it in dorset! lol Just a shame work is gonna ramp up soon and wont be able to make any plans for a while :(

When i was learning to ride, i was told the most important things were-don't let the horse eat cars, or anything else on the trail, and point the horse a rough direction of where you want to go, then let it pick its own route.

Bearing that in mind, i'm sure it wouldnt take too long to get used to riding with no hands, while a trained, and arrow comfortable horse did its own thing.

my biggest fear would be dropping the arrow and having the pointy end, or any broken bits gettin any where near the horse.
 


ChakaZulu

New member
If you drop your arrow the horse will be past before it hits the ground.

From Gosport it'll take you a bit over 2 hours to the Centre for Horseback Combat (Horam 'in' East Sussex). Not sure about South Petherton...
 


ChakaZulu

New member
For anyone who didn't watch the BBC news this morning, here's some footage from a couple of visits to BHAA events at the Centre of Horseback Combat in Sussex.

BBC News
 


Dorset Lass

New member
Ironman
My daughter and I are having our first session of horseback archery this Saturday. I am really looking forward to it and will report back on here.
 


Dorset Lass

New member
Ironman
OK a little more detail for others who may be following this thread and are tempted to try horseback archery.

My daughter and I had an absolutely fantastic day with Neil in South Petherton. After a proper warm up we were coached in shooting technique and nocking with our feet firmly on the ground! I opted to be converted from a Mediterranean loose to a thumb loose. I have always wanted to use a thumb loose but had been struggling with only video clips and trial and error as my guide. I was very happy to have an experienced coach to show me the basics.

Once we had learned how to nock the arrow quickly we divided into two teams and played speed games, nocking and shooting whilst bobbing and weaving, even whilst hopping on one leg! We had points for finishing first and also points based on our scores. There was much laughter but we could see that this sort of exercise is essential if we were to be able to nock and shoot from a moving horse. I was very pleased to be able to hit the target reasonably consistently using a thumb loose after such a short time.

Neil and fellow coach Emily went to get the horses ready and we carried on with our relay race speed shooting. Once the horses were brought down to us we took it in turns to shoot three targets at the walk. Neil was brilliant with my daughter who is twelve. He took every care to make sure she was confident and comfortable on the horse before she was asked to move onto the next stage. With her it was being led at the walk, then shooting from the walk, then cantering with one arm out to the side, cantering with two arms out to the side and finally shooting a pre-nocked arrow from the canter. She did very well and hit the target from the canter - I am a proud Mum!

With me I did the same but was happy to go it alone not needing to be led at the walk. I tried nocking and shooting at the canter but my nocking abilities went to rats whilst on a cantering horse and I got to the end of the run laughing and saying I need a bit more practice! With the arrow pre-nocked I did better, and it was a lovely feeling to have hit a target from the canter, albeit with a pre-nocked arrow.

We are definitely hooked and can't recommend this form of archery highly enough. I am impressed with Neil's encouraging and laid back teaching style. We can't wait to go back!

Meanwhile yesterday back at the club shooting indoors seemed very tame in comparison, but I was at least able to spend time practicing my speed nocking and thumb release. In fact I realise that there is a huge amount that I can do 'on the ground' to prepare myself for the next training session.

Overall verdict - brilliant. It is nice to participate in an ancient and traditional form of archery. Much more fun to me than standing on a line twiddling with a sight.
 


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