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I started to learn how to shoot recurve target archery nearly a year ago, I have ridden horses for 40 years, so when I found out that it is possible to combine the two, it gave me the formula for a brilliant birthday present.  I looked up horseback archery on the Internet and found The Centre of Horseback Combat, Hemel Hempstead.

This Saturday was the big day and in the morning we began by learning the Thumb Draw technique and blind nocking, which felt completely wrong to me, having only recently mastered drawing a recurve bow!

Learning the thumb draw

We were soon matched up with our battle horse for the day and mine was a beautiful Andalusian called Niagra.

 

Keeley and Niagra

 

During the afternoon we learnt how to nock and loose three arrows in 14 seconds over 100 meters at a canter. I had been warned that it would be far more difficult for someone who already has some archery experience, to use the thumb draw under pressure, at speed, and they were right! We started at a walk, then a trot and my goodness those targets come up very quick at a canter! Anyway, I managed it in the end and could hit the second and sometimes the third target, but couldn't load in time for the first one! It was a truly brilliant experience, on a beautiful country estate with very knowledgeable and patient trainers.

 

You don't actually have to have any riding or archery experience at all to have a go. See www.thecentreofhorsebackcombat.co.uk to find out more. Many of their students have gone on to compete in Horseback Archery at the World Championships in Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Florida and Europe. As for me, well I think a few months of practicing blind speed nocking at home, whilst watching the TV would be a good plan and then I might return for another try!

Keeley Taylor