You’re never “too old” to try something new, especially on horseback — Melanie Eberhardt of Women of Age Riding Horses (WARHorses) speaks with Adrienne Scott, who took up mounted archery at the age of 40.
Originally published at WARHorses:
A WARHorse is never “too old” to take up new interests! We’re not suggesting bungee jumping or street luge, that’s just crazy. We are, after all, already riding a half ton creature with its own opinion about matters and some people might say “that’s crazy”. But we shrug off those naysayers because we can’t help ourselves – our horses make us happy.
Most WARHorses will agree that we do enjoy the challenge of riding and driving. For many of us, we push ourselves further in pursuit of a particular equestrian sport that requires just a bit more. Adrienne Symanowski Scott (40) knows something of this. A lifetime equestrian, she recently took up a new challenge. She heard about a local clinic and immediately signed up to learn the sport of mounted archery.
We recently asked Adrienne – “what were you thinking?”
Q. What attracted you to mounted archery?
A. I saw a post on Facebook. Elizabeth Tinnan and Teresa Rogers, were teaching a horseback archery clinic, at a local farm. I got butterflies in my stomach, my mind flashed back to my childhood dream of running away with Mongolians. I was a quirky child and wanted to go live with them, after watching a movie about Marco Polo.
Q. What do you find most challenging about this sport?
A. Steering your horse and controlling their speed, with minimal to no use of your reins. It’s easier on barrier courses, where you travel down a lane, with a barrier on either side. Field archery uses no barriers, and is done in a field or wooded area.
Q. How much fun are you having?
A. I love the challenge and horsemanship it requires, as well as the heritage. It’s amazing to think of the skill required by the Native Americans and Mongolians when hunting live prey or battling their foe.
Q. Do you need special equipment?
A. One of the wonderful things about horseback archery, is that you do not need a specific type of horse, tack, or clothing (aside from an ASTM certified riding helmet). Come as you are. It’s the most inclusive discipline in which I’ve competed. That said, you will require recurve bow (a simple bow with a single bowstring, opposed to a modern compound bow which has a pulley system), arrows with feather fletching, a quiver, an arm guard, a bow glove and a shooting glove. The regional horse archery clubs that I am familiar with provide all of the archery equipment for clinics. My local club, Chattahoochee Horse Archers, rents out archery equipment at club practices for a small fee.
Q. What is your proudest accomplishment?
A. So far, my proudest moment was placing first, in the walk/trot division, at the first Georgia International Horseback Archery Competition. I didn’t know whether or not I would be able to ride or shoot, until less than two weeks prior to the competition. I had had an equipment malfunction and nasty fall, while riding at a high rate of speed. I was already registered for the completion and vowed to compete, as long as I could get in the saddle and shoot. I was still in considerable pain, but it was something that I did not want to miss out on. I was so proud of my horse, he was a perfect gentleman, and gently packed me through each course. I had a wonderful time competing. Placing was the icing on the cake.
Q. If Bo had something to say about his new job, what would it be?
A. “I’m a winner! This is the first track I’ve ever run down without seeing a field of rumps ahead of me.”
Q. What are your goals?
A. I want spread the word about this amazing sport. It’s new to the US, but thanks to a relatively small group of passionate people, it’s spreading like wildfire. The sport is already very active in Europe, Asia and Australia. As for personal goals, I hope to successfully compete in the advanced level in both barrier and field archery.
If any of your US WARHorses are interested in the sport, I encourage them to contact Horse Archery USA to find a club or instructor in your area. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see anything near you, there are instructor who are willing to travel and help you to start your own club.
Thank you Adrienne for pushing those comfort boundaries!
Want to chat with other women of age riding horses about disciplines you want to try? Hop on our exclusive WARHorses message forum and join the conversation!
Melanie Eberhardt is the founder of WARHorses – Women of Age Riding Horses. As lifetime horse lover, Melanie found little content online that spoke to the considerations of “older riders”. She launched WARHorses to fill this void with pertinent, original content with the added objective of developing a global community supported by meaningful information, inspiration and a lot of laughs.