This week, we decided to do something a little different at HorseBack UK. We were very lucky to have with us Dan and Claire Sawyer from the British Horseback Archery Association. They have been great friends and supporters of our work, and now they arrived to run a course in archery.
The assembled group included several of our regular volunteer veterans and a couple of members of our permanent team. They were all starting from scratch, and all had a varying amount of riding experience. (Luckily, one of them was from the King’s Troop, so he knows about doing interesting things in the saddle.)
The elegant bows and arrows are beautiful objects, but take quite a lot of strength and technique to master. The group started on the ground, learning the basics. By the second day, the plan for the week had gone out of the window. This was because the veterans proved so good that they were progressing much, much faster than anyone had expected. Their dander was up, their competitive spirit surged, and many of the skills they learnt in the services revived.
By the end of the week, they were riding in a proper archery tournament, taking their horses down the track and shooting at three targets placed at various angles. The level of accuracy was astonishing.
It was a tremendous week, and we loved watching the great strides taken by the competitors. We are so grateful to Dan and Claire. Not only are they dazzling at what they do, but they are brilliant at teaching it as well. We are so inspired by them that we are considering incorporating archery into our regular courses. It’s a question of planning and logistics and time, but the seed has been planted and we hope it will grow.