Friday, October 31, 2014

Mounted Archery

  Mounted Archery

Opal standing after the costume class.
When I started the challenge and decided my performance piece was going to be Mounted Archery, I had no idea I would end up getting so hooked in it.  Hooked hard.  I recently got my bow and was able to start introducing it to Opal.  I posted a picture on one of my Facebook group pages a few weeks ago and I've had several people ask how I got started with this whole archery adventure.  While I am still very VERY new to it all, I will share what i have learned and done so far.

Since I had not shot a bow since I was in girl scout camp when I was like 12, I wanted to start with a beginning archery class.  The Bass Pro in Manteeca near us has a free class offered a few times a month.  During the class we went over basic form, technique, and left the class knowing what pound bow we were best suited for as well as any additional gear we would need.  (Like an arm guard for me) If you have never shot before, I would deffinetly recommend taking a beginning class.

Preparing a horse for mounted archery
Our barn owners were kind enough to shoot a few arrows for me and Opal before I took the class.  First we started with shooting in front of you, then next to her, and finally off a mounting block over her back.  Opal was non-reactive to this, which let me know I could proceed in the buying of gear. 

Once I got my gear I started in the tack.  We had a costume class for our barn Halloween Play Day, so I went as an Archer.  It was the first time I had ridden Opal with the bow, but it let her get use to me drawing and moving the bow around as we moved.  I did this without arrows.

 Carrying the bow for the costume class.

The next day I had a halter and lead rope under the bridle so my friend, Carol Douglass, could hold the lead rope while I shot.  This was just a precaution in case Opal decided to walk off or spook.  Since Opal didn't mind arrows flying in the air, the next 2 days I did not have her held.   Right now we are just shooting at a stand still, once my form/aim/groupings become more consistent we will begin moving.  At my barn we have a 4-5 stack of straw with salad plate sized targets painted on the bales.

Mounted archery competition 

From what I have researched, I have learned a few things.  Please keep in mind, I've spent less than a month reading up on this and I am still learning, but here's what I have found.
In competition traditional bows are allowed.  No compound or mechanical triggers/releases are allowed.  Neither are bows with shelves.  Recurve, Asian (Hungarian/Mongolian/Horse), Long Bows seem to be the main stream.  Also a draw weight between 30-40 pounds seems to be what the average is for competition.
You will notice my Monarch Recurve Bow has a shelf, so it will not be permitted in competition.  My bow is also a 20 pound draw, I was able to draw a 30 pound, but my form suffered rapidly from the weight, so the lower draw allows me to shoot more arrows with more accuracy.  My bow was a fairly inexpensive one and is strictly for me to gain the basic skills of archery.  Eventually I will get a more appropriate bow, but since they cost a lot more and usually come at a higher draw strength, the bow I have is good for what I am using it for.

Currently my gear list includes the following
Monarch Recurve Bow
12 Easton Genesis arrows 
Bow String wax
Case for Bow
Hip Quiver for Arrows
Arrow Tube for Storage
Arm Guard
Bow Stringer 

Useful Links 
Below are some of the links I have used to read up on mounted archery.  Several I found on Pinterest.
  • The Mounted Archery Association of the Americas (lists 'local' places where people are practicing mounted archery or places to do lessons, as well as competitions)
The next two links were given to me at Bass Pro as places who sell bows and have good reputations.
I have spent the last couple weeks reading a lot.  Like I said, I got hooked on this hard.  If there's something I didn't cover, or you have a question, please feel free to ask.  Its a lot of information to take in and sort out.

Carolynn and Opal practicing.

Kip's Horsemanship Throwdown Progress

18 rides
27 hours total

Goals Completed



Do a Job

Preformance Piece - Mounted Archery: in progress

Emerald and her Owner


Ribbons Emmy and Carol won from the Halloween Play Day.
Last week Emmy's owner, Carol Douglass, came up to spend some time with Emerald.  IT was a busy busy weekend at the barn, and we took full advantage of it.
Saturday was our Halloween Play Day at the barn.  Carol and Emmy did a couple of classes in hand with Emmy.  
Sunday was our Bomb proofing clinic.  We had several obstacles set up for the horses to work on.  Once again, Carol and Emmy did them in hand.  They both worked through them together, building a stronger connection with every activity they did.  
 Bomb proofing clinic.
By the end of the week their connection had become very soft and they worked together easily.  It was a very big week of events.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Challenge Update

Challenge Update 

Trail Challenge competed.

Time has flown by.  I just realized a lot has gone on since my last post a few weeks ago.  I need yo get back into the habit of sitting down at least once a week and doing these updates.

Opal and I were invited out for a nice fall trail ride a few weeks ago with a few other riders form the barn.  Aside form Opal deciding she didn't want to finish going up the hill and would rather side pass downhill, she was a champ.  Not exactly sure what her deal was other than the previous horses protested at a small hole in the trail, and by hole I mean a dip, not a gopher or rabbit hole.  When we came across a group of Boy Scouts out for a nature hike, Opal decided she wanted go with the kids than with her buddies, but listened to me leg when I said no.

 On the trail with barn friends.

At the end of the trail we practiced loading with all 3 horses into a 2 horse straight load trailer.  I am always looking to practice in different trailers.  Having broken down twice on the 10 freeway in Southern California and having to unload horses out of your rig and into another while traffic is speeding by isn't fun.  Even less fun when your horse won't go into any trailer but theirs.   PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!  The rig that rescues you might not be what your horse is accustomed to.

 Checking out the 2 horse trailer after the trail ride.  Opal got a bath right after we practiced.
As far as mounted archery is going, my class is tomorrow.   By the end I will have an idea of what gear I will need and what sizes/weights work best.  In the meantime Opal and I have been working on moving off my leg.  I also was able to find a lighter weight (10 pounds+ lighter) western saddle.  It fits us both well and with the weight of the saddle lightened, that puts less stress on her spine.  

The mares have also been introduced to being turned out with Emerald.  First just Emerald and Ehawee since they are buddies.  After a few laps around at a canter with Emerald wanting to lead and be boss, Ehawee finally let her.  Opal and Emerald, on the other hand, just sniffed each other and decided to eat the leaves together.  When all 3 got turned out together, they ran a few laps, then went to rolling and grazing on leaves.  We have a play day at the end of the month and a bomb proofing clinic as well.  I have done a few bomb proofing tasks with my horses in preparation for the clinic.  The end of this month is going to be very busy.  I will try to update more frequently on it  :)

Kip's Horsemanship Throwdown Progress
7 rides
15 hours total
Goals Completed
Do a Job (new trick, bow.  Load in new trailers)
Trail (see pics above)