Last weekend's horseback archery seminar in Iceland had been quite a success. 12 participants had brought their horses to Eldhestar riding stable in Hveragerði, South Iceland, in order to be part of an event, that never had happened before on the island.
Instructor Pettra Engeländer held an introduction into the topic, mentioning the long tradition of horseback archery especially in the asian cultures, and how different techniques are exercised. She herself had been training the sports in Hungary with famous Hungarian competitors, but is deeply influenced by the archery of the Mongolian tribes and asian martial art techniques. Combining both makes her horseback archery outstanding and special, as she is neither using reins nor fences to direct her horse in full speed galopp on a shooting track. She is not only the best horseback amazone in the world, but most likely also the one performing the horse friendliest riding style.
Participants then were introduced to the horse bow and to handling it in a propper way for shooting from horseback. Dancing games, supported by drums, helped to find a correct body tension and a feeling for rhythm. In the afternoon horses were made used to bow and arrow, and first attempts of shooting took place. On sunday everybody was ready to mount bareback on horseback and shoot arrows, in the morning from a standing horse, and with the clinic finishing in the afternoon from a walking horse on a track, without reins or guiding person.
Both instructors admitted that they were amazed by both the coolness of the horses and the coordination and balance of the archers. They revealed that especially the latter was different on the continent, meaning that continental students barely get so far after only two days, as it had been in Iceland.
The two Icelandic mares that had been prepared for horseback archery, took mostly passively part in the clinic, by just showing presence, so things appeared very normal to the other horses. However, they are furthermore trained and developed, and trainers hope that at least one of them will be able to perform in trot or tölt for the following clinic next weekend.
There are still two places available. Click here to get more information.
Here you can watch horseback archery in „Landinn“, a popular Icelandic program featuring countryside events.