Archery has its roots in ancient forms of warfare, in the hands of a warrior on horseback. Thus, the horse bow is the weapon used for this practice, and it has existed for several thousand years. Horse bows have played a major role in many cultures around the world. Horse bows are among the most widely used weapons in history. The weapon has evolved over the years and according to the cultures of its users. Its practice has also been perfected. Today, even if this weapon is no longer used as such, there are still thousands of practitioners and enthusiasts around the world. They have updated this practice, but others keep the traditional methods. It is the same for its manufacture. Horse bows are either designed with modern techniques or made according to tradition.
The differences in the design of horse bows reflect cultural preferences as well as the availability of the materials used to make them. In the actual era, various innovations have been made in the construction of the bow, such as the V-splicing for example.
How to practice archery with horses?
The use of horse bows requires a great deal of know-how. Indeed, it is necessary to master your horse, but also your bow. Concentration and precision are important. Advanced riding skills are therefore essential. When handling the bow and arrows, there is no hand to hold the reins. Thus, the rider must be able to control his horse with his weight and legs alone. He must also concentrate on moving and withdrawing his arrows from the quiver, then continue to advance without missing his target.
All breeds of horses are suitable for horse bow archery. It should be noted that in ancient times, some Japanese people used to ride ponies. The main thing is that the horse must be well trained and accustomed to its rider. He must not be afraid of the movements or sharp arrows. A well-conditioned horse will not be frightened by a projectile or other danger in the field. He will continue to obey his rider's commands.
Horse archery today (competition and training)
Today, the horse archery is a sport in its own right. It is recognized in all countries of the world and there are even different associations in Europe or the United States that accompany the passionate of this sport in their practice. There is even an international association of horse archers recognized by UNESCO. Every year, several national and international competitions are organized. They gather different disciplines, and archers register according to their competence/level (Hungarian and Korean targets, Mogu, Qabaq, etc.).
What type of horse bow to use?
Today, a horse archer generally uses a composite recurve bow of about 50 to 55 "(except for Japanese yabusame, which uses an asymmetrical bow over 2 m long) with wooden, aluminum or carbon fiber arrows bent with turkey feathers. The horse is mounted at a gallop or with the reins on the horse's neck. As mentioned above, horses must be insensitive to the bow, arrows and sound of the shot.
Horse archery requires a great ability to notch arrows on the string while moving with the horse and keeping an eye on the target and then aiming at the target. The archer must continually adjust the variation in distance to the target and the speed of the horse. Finally, his performance is timed. Training is therefore essential, as there is a lot to master.