Getting Started in Archery for the Mounted Archer

by HL Felicitae de l’Hayes

Basic Range Safety for Every Archer.

The rules that an Archer needs to know is in the An Tir Book of Target.

Here is a link to the “An Tir Book of Target”, revised May 2003.

Pages 12 to 19 are what anyone that picks up a bow in the SCA needs to know.

Note: This document is currently in the process of being revised with a new version expected to be signed off by June of 2005.

A lot of the terms used in the document will be ‘Greek’ to a total novice Archer. The best way to learn Archery is to show up at the Archery range at events or at a local Archery practice and ask questions. Most Archers are excited to talk about their passion! Just be courteous if a competition or shooting for score is in progress.

Please feel free to hunt me down. I generally have some limited loaner gear so if I know you will be showing up I can reserve it for you.

Basic Range Safety for the Mounted Archer

The rider should be familiar with the SCA Equestrian Handbook available at:

Per: SCA, Inc. Equestrian Handbook, SECOND EDITION

How to get authorized as a Mounted archer

To be authorized to do Mounted Archery, see page 8 of the SCA Equestrian Handbook.

Part III - SCA Rider Authorization Regulations

B. Rider Level Regulations

2.   Special Level: there will be a special authorization process for the following situations:
        g)  Mounted archer-must comply with archery regulations as well as Equestrian Regulations of the SCA and their kingdom. SCA equestrian archery regulations are defined in Appendix III of these rules.

What are the SCA Regulations for Mounted Archery?

Appendix III - SCA Minimum Regulations for Mounted Archery
These regulations are for both mounted and chariot archery.

  1. The archery equipment (bows, arrows, targets, etc.) and range must be inspected by a warranted SCA archery marshal. It is acceptable and encouraged that the equestrian marshal may also serve as the archery marshal if they hold the appropriate qualifications.
  2. Participation Requirements by level:

    a) Beginner and Intermediate riders must have an EqM (or an Advanced rider designated by the EqMIC) lead their mounts past the archery target(s) and have their reins within reach.

    b) Advanced riders have two options for in-motion mounted archery. They may either:

    1. Have an EqM (or advanced rider designated by the EqMIC) longe their mounts past the target and have their reins within reach. OR
    2. They may perform in the Japanese, or Yabusame manner if all of the following conditions can be met:
    3. The course must be set up with a lane approximately 4 yards wide, within a larger area, which is safely cordoned off, from spectators. AND
    4. An inspection run is given each rider and horse at each event as follows: The rider proceeds down the lane with bow in hand and reins dropped (or secured). The rider aims a shot towards the target and then regains his/her reins and brings the horse under control. The horse should be slowed down by the time it enters the run-out area. The rider should make every effort to control his/her horse if a problem occurs, including dropping the bow if necessary.
  3. Once the rider demonstrates safely at the desired gait, he/she should take a practice shot at the halt. If the horse does not react badly to the arrow shot, the rider may participate. As always, if a problem occurs the marshals may ask the rider to stop shooting for the day.
  4. For chariot archery, the horse and driver must have met any required authorizations for driving, but non-equestrian archers shooting from a chariot driven by an authorized equestrian is permitted. These non-equestrian archers must have signed any equestrian waiver in use to signify that they are aware of the risks involved in equestrian sports.
  5. Golf tube arrows, HTM blunts, small game blunts, Markland type and regulation target points are allowed.
  6. Bow poundage is not to exceed 35 lbs for use with small game blunts and regulation target points not to exceed 50 lbs for all other types of arrows.
  7. There should be a barrier of some type that will not allow the horse and rider or horse and chariot to pass closer than 10 yards (30 feet) to any target to prevent danger from the bounce back of arrows. Beyond the target area there must either be a wall or archeryproof net, or a clear area a minimum of 100 feet long and 120 feet wide (60 feet on either side of target). The clear area for multiple targets used in “in-motion” shooting may be overlapped.
  8. Equestrian archery is to be done with inanimate targets only. Both stationary and in motion shooting is permitted. For stationary shooting activities, a footman or page may hold the horse from the offside.
  9. Definitions:
    Stationary shooting - The rider/archer shoots while mounted on his horse, but with the horse standing still. Because it is only possible to shoot comfortably in a 180 degree arc while mounted, A right handed archer can only shoot objects to the left of his horse, it is safe for an experienced horse person to hold a stationary horse from the off side (in this case the right) If a left handed archer then the safe zone would be on the left.
    In-Motion shooting - The rider/archer shoots while the horse or chariot is in motion, usually at a trot or a canter/hand gallop.

What this all REALLY means for you!

To do Mounted Archery you need to be proficient at both marshal activities. Target Archery and Mounted Equestrian. There are no shortcuts to success.

Only after you are proficient at both should you combine them for double-the-challenge!

Useful Links

Rules and Regulations

SCA Target Archery Rules -

SCA Equestrian Handbook  -
(See Appendix III - SCA Minimum Regulations for Mounted Archery)

An Tir Book of Target -

An Tir Kingdom Equestrian Book of Horse  (as of March 2005, not yet available)

Inter-Kingdom Equestrian Competition (IKEQ) -
Set-Up Criteria and Rules For Mounted Archery (scroll to bottom of page)

Other Useful Links

On-Target Archery -
This is the best resource for SCA Archers.

NW Archery -
Suzanne with NW Archery knows SCA gear. She makes some of the best Cedar Shaft arrows you will find anywhere.

Truemark Archery -
Andras Truemark and his wife Liesl merchant at a lot of SCA events. You will usually find them near the archery range. They carry a lot of used bows and everything you need to shoot them. Truemark Archery also carries Istvan Toth's Hungarian horse bow line.  This includes the full size Mongolian and Hungarian bows in the heavier poundage (30 plus lbs) plus the Scythian young adult or ladies bow and the children's bows.

International Horse Archery Festival   -

History of the International Horse Archery Festival -
This site provides additional information on the International Horse Archery Festival, including links to previous festivals, additional history of the festival and much more.

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