The past meets the present

Ancient martial art

Horse archery is thousands of years old. Across the Eurasian steppe from antiquity to premodern times, survival depended on one’s skill with horse and bow. The combined use of the horse and the composite recurve bow was common to many of the nomadic inhabitants of Central Asia: Scythians, Huns, Magyars, and Mongols, just to name a few. Further east, Japanese samurai were horsemen as well as swordsmen. And on the Great Plains of North America, the superior speed of the bow over early, slow loading, guns saw horse archery thrive well into the 19th century. Check out a few of our favorite resources to learn more:

Modern competitive sport

Today, the modern sport known as mounted archery has been revived in Asia, Europe, and America. Schools of horse archery, founded by Lajos Kassai, have spread from Hungary to the rest of Europe and beyond. In Europe and America, other mounted archery schools and clubs are forming as the sport grows in popularity.

The format of competitions varies, but the most common feature a flat straightaway of at least 90m roped off into a track. Targets are positioned along this track, generally under 10m away for its edge. Riders proceed down the track one at a time at the canter or gallop and recieve points based on a combination of the their shots and time bonuses or penalties. For a comprehensive list, see the IHAA’s course database.