Say ‘horseback archery’ and what would you think? Archaic, esoteric, oriental, arcane?
Indeed, horseback archery was and still is a vibrant tradition in Asia, from Iran and Turkey to Korea (home of the World Horseback Archer Federation) and Japan. More recently, however, horseback archery has crossed the east-west divide and is increasingly popular in Europe, the UK and the States.
The object is simple – to release arrows into a target while galloping. At the same time, there are infinite variations in rules, equipment and styles across schools and countries. You can release arrows, for instance, into a series of targets set alongside the track. Alternatively, you may be asked to shoot three arrows into the same target. Whatever the rules, speed and feeling are the key, in diference from the foot archery, where the archer has time to deliberate and aim.
Like all combined sports, horseback archery is a singularly difficult art to master. Combining two hard and rare skills, archery and riding, it is breathtakingly beautiful to watch and fascinating to practice.