Horse archery does 3 major things, and a host of more subtle ones too! These are:
Develops an independent, balanced seat
Reduces reliance on the reins
Encourages a more comfortable horse, because the rider isn’t hanging on the horse’s mouth.
So how does horse archery do this? Once a horse is appropriately desensitised to the sound of the bow and arrows, the reins are either not used at all or very minimally. Horses are trained to voice command and body cues. Also the majority of horses are pretty smart and learn patterns, where the timing gates are and what a field marshall’s whistle means fairly quickly! 🙂 Horse archery encourages riders to move their bodies and shift their focus all while maintaining balance. This is because historically the “enemy” didn’t only attack to one side of the horse! So mounted archers need to shoot to the front, both offside and nearside, backwards, downwards and above all while at a canter or gallop and dodging arrows being shot at them! If they didn’t maintain a balanced, independent seat they’d fall off pretty quickly, plus you can’t shoot AND hold the reins too!
Then there is the added benefit of horses being much more comfortable. They find their natural head carriage position and can stretch out into their stride without much interference from the rider, who of course is staying centred and balanced!
The added plus is that it is fantastic FUN, fitness / strength and you get to meet awesome people from all over the world! So why not consider horse archery to your riding skills, you won’t look back.