Mounted Archery Practice

By Lauren Woodard

Quick, Easy and Fun
Are you looking for a mounted archery practice that is quick, easy and fun? Of course, but how do you accomplish quick and easy when time is limited?

Maybe a change of perspective is required. Maybe a change of setup. A different look at expectations and options can give you the added practice you need.

When I first started shooting arrows, it seemed like an awful lot of preparation. You put all that time getting ready, so you want to shoot long enough to make it worthwhile.

Get your track boundaries set, that is, after you’ve acquired them or made them. Take all the gear out to the beginning of the track so it’s ready. Catch your horse, clean her up, tack her up and warm her up. THEN, you can start.

That’s practicing one aspect of your mounted archery. There are countless recommendations about the benefit of sitting in front of the TV nocking arrows without looking to get better at a speed nock. I’m going to throw out a quick perspective to at least consider. Whether or not your index feather is out from the bow as opposed to not caring, because you’ve been told it doesn’t matter with instinctive nocking. It does. If you want to improve your results, don’t overlook this. Put your index feather nocked toward the bow and just ask yourself if that feather hitting the bow as it’s slung by MIGHT, just throw the arrow off to the right.

Back to the quick, easy part
This is what I do much of the time. As most of you have heard, prior and proper preparation prevents poor performance. Set yourself up properly. Have your bow, arrows, tape, glove, quiver and target handy in a storage bench or similar type container. I use less “stuff” all the time, down to my bow and arrows. I carry a quiver that I can hang on a bench, fence or chair back. An “S” clip works well, and you can even hang it on your belt loop.

I love the high-density 15” foam cube targets and they are perfect for a brief session of target practice. I’m a big fan of killing more than one bird with the same stone. When I’m out in the pasture feeding the horses hay, a midday feeding or supplements, I have my bow and arrows. I toss the cube about 8 paces away from me as I’m standing next to one of the horses or the herd and shoot. This does double duty. It de-sensitizes the horse(s) to the arrow and the movement. It doesn’t matter whether the owner is going to use the horse for mounted archery or not, it’s all part of training.

Stay With Me
I walk around shooting and notice if a particular horse has decided to drift away. If that’s the case, I get a halter and lead and with that horse, lay the rope over my bow hand elbow. Doing this encourages them to stay with me and accept the shooting. If they tolerate this, I will drop the rope on the ground, so they are ground tied while I wander around shooting. I may kick the cube to a different spot depending on where the horses have moved, or so I can drift to a better location or a different option. Often this includes standing under the shade of a tree or another structure.

Recently, I discovered the benefit of pool noodles that I have lying around for de-spooking training. My cube targets are on the ground and therefore, there isn’t much arrow pickup in the distance. Though my goal is to get them all in the target, occasionally, I miss. If your targets are up, the arrows will travel farther on misses for the pickup. That’s where the pool noodles come in handy. By placing them eight to ten feet behind your target they will stop the arrows that missed the target.

Remember, practice makes perfect and it doesn’t always have to be from horseback. So, go, and have a quick, easy, fun time shooting.

Global IHAA list

You must be an MA3 member to rank on the MA3 list, you do not need to be a member to Rank on the IHAA list, however, there is a $25 fee for non members (MA3 members Rank for free on both lists).

The third way to compete is participating in IHAA Postal Matches that are open to anyone regardless of club or National affiliation and are free to all.  All of the standard Ranking courses and rules can be found on the MA3 site

All of the IHAA Ranking and Postal Match rules and courses can be found on the IHAA site

If you have questions on the rules or the courses don’t hesitate to ask.

Greg Ogburn
MA3 & IHAA Ranking Officer

Lauren has been teaching and training for over 40 years and is the author of two books that are pure magic for horsemanship – “Curbside Service” and “Balky, Balky, I Ain’t Goin’”. Find out how to be strategic in your best next steps to Exceptional Horsemanship for Mounted Archery by grabbing her “Wouldn’t It Be Great If ” Quiz to check your perspective and propel your horsemanship on her site:

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