Last year Zac and I visited a dude ranch in Lake George called Ridin Hy. I have been terrible by not posting all about it. Stay tuned as I promise to tell you more about this amazing trip.
While we were there Zac and I tried our hands with archery. We had no formal teachings and we were surprisingly decent. We had each gotten within the bullseye region within the first hour of “playing around.”
This soon lead me to a fascination with mounted archery.
Shooting arrows from the back of a galloping horse. It’s a sport growing in popularity and visibility.
New York does not have any clubs for mounted archery….yet. Last year I was saddened to miss a mounted archery clinic. I was new to my job and all the fun things seem to fall on my work days.
After buying our home and starting to setting in I decided that I deserved a treat. In March I invested in a re-curve bow, 24 arrows, and a target.
Later in April I learned that another mounted archery clinic was coming to town. This time I took the day off and was ready to learn.
Last Saturday I nervously drove to Cambridge, NY for my first taste at mounted archery. Being who I am I decided to arrive early so I can catch a glimpse of the morning session. I was thrilled to see a couple of familiar faces…my friends from krav maga and my fitness days! We caught up and I had fun watching them do their thing.
I wasn’t sure if my bow was adequate for mounted archery so I brought it along…and actually used it. It’s a bit heavy…I bought a 30lbs bow while the others were around 20-25lbs. I decided to stick with it since it will be what I use at home. I like to think that I am pretty strong anyways.
For the first 45 minutes of the clinic we all learned to become familiar with shooting our bows from the ground. We were split into groups to share the bows provided. Despite my willingness to share nobody wanted to use my bow. As a group of one I had plenty of extra practice; how can I complain? We each shot at a stack of 3 hay bales. I’m far from perfect but I managed to it the hay bales most of the time.
The first big issue I ran into was loading the arrow on the wrong side of the bow. Since I’m right handed the arrow is supposed to be placed to the left of the bow. At Ridin’ Hy we were using the right side. Oops! This is why I’m so glad I decided to attend this training and learn the right way.
Once our group became comfortable shooting our bows, the instructors brought out the two lovely horses.
Max, a grey Percheron/Thoroughbred
…and Scooter a little sorrel Quarter Horse
On the first trip we became familiar with loading and shooting the arrows at a walk. For walking we carried 4 arrows. Once we graduated to trot we brought 2 arrows.
I met some really great people from around the area. Everyone came from different walks of life; no horse or archery experience was required to participate.
By the end of 3 hours we were all tired and happy. Our instructor graced us with a demonstration of how it’s actually done. She discussed the different styles of mounted archery and talked about the extensive travel required in order to compete as the competitions are scattered throughout the country. I have much to learn yet but I will follow up with a much more informative post centered around mounted archery in the future.
It was also VERY apparent that I have a lot of work to do. Between being a beginner, my former training with kettlebells (straight wrist), the weight of the drawstring (30lbs), and the length of time we were practicing I had smacked my arm over and over with the string. When we were finished it began to actually hurt.
My new goal: practice shooting from the ground with a bent elbow.
I will be attending another clinic in June; I’m looking forward to more practice and meeting back up with some of the people I met Saturday.
Stay tuned for more updates!
In the meantime check out these great sites!
Many thanks to Long Shadows Charitable Foundation for hosting…
…as well as Zenith Equestrian Center for driving over 6 hours from Pennsylvania to share this sport with us!