What’s a guy to do when his DREAM is to be on TV competing in a mounted archery tournament, preferably somewhere on the Steppes in the land of Nomads?
Kriekie! Who even has a dream like that?
Turns out Hadley Hudson does and he can now check the box.
He and his fellow mounted archer Frank Sihler from Alaska packed their bags, bows and arrows and headed out from Texas where Hadley lives to Nur-Sultan/Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan listed on Google as “the world’s weirdest capitol city.
The competition, called “Altyn Zhebe” translates to Golden Arrow. The formal title is “Kazakhstan World Horseback Archery Championship” and was held in the middle of the city making it easy for people to walk to and watch.
Of course, he wanted to do his best as he would be competing against two of his idols, Mihai Cozmei and Demitar Trukanov as well as competitors from Bulgaria, Iran, Mongolia, Turkey, Syria, Russia and Kazakhstan. But, he would have a bit of trouble as all his luggage and equipment was lost on the flight. His belongings did show up just before he was to go on his run, but he had to practice with equipment borrowed from other competitors, on a horse he’d never been on before. At this competition there is a lotto. You ride the horse you draw. At many of the competitions, you get to try horses out and pick the one you prefer.
There was another wrinkle in Hadley’s practice runs. He calls it their Warrior Mindset. If you’re going to be respectful of the order of go, they’re going to jump your spot and when you do go, the next “warrior” is going to be running his horse right up your tail. Just go and shoot! What a rush! Frank and Hadley chose “Cowboy” for their costume and had the opportunity to be photographed with many locals.
One of his favorite parts was after the run the competitors would go blazing back at a gallop in front of the crowd to bow. They also had the incredible opportunity to visit the ranch of the owner of many of the horses provided for the competition which he was so proud to show as may of them were Foxtrotters and Quarter horses. And Hadley was gifted a pair of Kokburu boots, his new pride and joy.
A magical day indeed.
Hadley, livin’ the dream for a hundred dollar entry fee, which included his stay and a plane ticket and owes a huge part of that magic to the wonderful people there.
Learn more about Mounted Archery Association of the Americas (MA3) >
By Lauren Woodard of Exceptional Horsemanship.
When mediocre isn’t enough. Training horses and teaching horsemanship for over 40 years.
This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of Sport and Trail Magazine on page 28. Click here to see the full article and enjoy the issue online for free >
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