Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

Horseback (Mounted) Archery

The art of horseback archery has been a traditional technique used for hunting around the world. It involves skilled riders who can accurately shoot arrows from bows while riding on horses. This technique was widely used by Eurasian nomads during the medieval period and later spread to Eastern Europe, Mesopotamia, and even East Asia.

One country that became particularly renowned for its horseback archery was Japan, where the samurai warriors practiced a form known as Yabusame. In this sport, riders run reinless along a 90m course, shooting arrows at targets of varying distances.

Horseback archery is gaining popularity in the United States, with many riding clubs offering opportunities for members to learn this ancient skill. Mongolia, which once depended on horseback archery for survival and protection, has also seen a revival of this art since gaining independence in 1921. However, horseback archery is now mainly displayed during festivals, often with competitors standing and releasing arrows rather than on horseback.

Interesting Fact: Mastering horseback archery requires exceptional skill in both horse riding and archery. When loosing an arrow, the rider must have both hands on the bow, leaving the reins free. This means the horse is guided solely by the rider’s skill.

Similar Sports

  • Cowboy Mounted Shooting: This sport involves shooting at targets while riding a horse.
  • Equestrian Fencing: Sword fighting on horseback (no longer held)
  • 3D Archery: A form of archery where the goal is to strike animal-shaped targets at unknown distances.
  • Field Archery: Shooting at targets of varying distances, often in rough terrain.
  • Target Archery: Competitions held indoors or outdoors between 18m and 90m from the target.
  • Hunting: Tracking and killing animals with various weapons.
  • Jousting: Competitors on horseback using long lances to knock each other down (extinct sport).
  • Horseback Boxing: Competitors fight while riding on the back of a horse (unusual historical sport).
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Related Pages

  • About Archery Sports
  • List of all sports involving horses
  • Complete list of sports
  • The Encyclopedia of Sports


Q: What is horseback archery?
A: Horseback archery is the practice of shooting arrows accurately from a bow while riding on a horse. It was traditionally used for hunting and warfare.

Q: Which country became renowned for horseback archery?
A: Japan, specifically the samurai warriors, were known for their expertise in horseback archery. They called it Yabusame.

Q: Is horseback archery popular in the United States?
A: Yes, horseback archery is gaining popularity in the United States, with many riding clubs offering opportunities for people to learn and practice this ancient skill.

Q: Are there any similar sports to horseback archery?
A: Yes, there are several similar sports, such as cowboy mounted shooting, equestrian fencing, 3D archery, and field archery. Each sport involves a unique combination of horseback riding and a specific focus on archery skills.


Horseback archery is an ancient art that combines the skills of horse riding and archery. It was used for hunting and warfare by various cultures around the world. Japan’s samurai warriors were particularly renowned for their expertise in horseback archery, known as Yabusame. In modern times, horseback archery is becoming popular in the United States, with many riding clubs offering opportunities to learn. Mongolia, a country that once depended on horseback archery, has also seen a revival of this skill. Although horseback archery is now mainly displayed during festivals, it remains an intriguing and challenging sport requiring mastery of both horse and bow.

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