From the impressive spectacles of showjumping and dressage events, to the super popularity of racing – the world of equestrian sports is a vast collection of exciting disciplines. This week, we were introduced to one of its most captivating, horseback archery.
If you didn’t already know, this week saw the conclusion of the Horseback Archery World Cup in Hungary, and we were lucky enough to follow two of the British entrants looking for podium success, national champions, Emily Massey and Richard Addison.
If you’ve never seen the sport before, you might be surprised to hear experience with the bow isn’t as crucial as you’d think. People of all ages and abilities have started to fall in love with horseback archery whilst looking for a new challenge. In fact, that’s exactly what Richard did. Starting with a solid background in showjumping, he took up archery less than a year ago and now finds himself challenging for success on the sport’s highest stage. “You don’t need to be an experienced rider to take part.” He says, “You need to be willing, keen and ready for the adventure”.
Emily however, has spent years honing her skills, leading her into a career of freelance coaching at EJM Horseback Archery, specialising in both Horseback Archery and Equestrian Coaching – even teaching Richard for a time!
Back to the World Cup and both riders performed beyond expectation. After a dazzling run, Emily finished on the podium, becoming the first British lady to achieve the IHAA (International Horseback Archery Alliance) HA4 grade in a category one event.
Richard, in his first competition, excelled, finishing 2nd in the category one event and achieving the score needed for his IHAA HA5 grade, becoming the first British rider to do so, breaking the British Senior record in not one, but two categories.
Here’s what Emily had to say about their achievements…
“Competing abroad is always an immense experience, and to compete at the 2023 World Cup in Hungary this year, alongside competitors from 9 other countries, was no different! One of the most challenging elements is that you hire a horse from the venue, which may be very different to your own back at home. I was very fortunate this year to find a little chestnut mare named Baba, who ran fast enough for me to collect some speed points! I shot a personal best on both the Tower and the Raid tracks, which I was thrilled with. I have been working hard at home on both my archery technique on the ground and whilst mounted, and it clearly paid off!
To take the Bronze medal on an international podium is just a dream come true, especially in the first big competition of the season! I’m now focusing on the British National Championships, which are at the end of July, and the European Grand Prix during August, for which I will be representing the GB Team and will be held in France.
For anyone who is considering getting started in Horseback Archery, I’d say go for it! It does wonders for your confidence in the saddle, and your partnership with your horse. You can do it just for fun, or there are competitions around the UK and Internationally for riders at all levels (including walk, and lead rein classes!).”
Both BHAA (British Horseback Archery Association) qualification holders means there really is no rest for the wicked, as they head straight off the plane from their success in Hungary and into the saddle to prepare for the British National Championships, which will be held on Friday 28th July at New Leaf Triangle Goad by Marwood, Melton Mowbray.
Good luck to them both!
If you’d like to learn more about the sport, or even discuss getting involved, you can learn more by visiting Emily’s website, or the British Horseback Archery Association at…