Galloping to the Finish

There and Back again

There was no horseback archery training this weekend because in Komárno, a city in Slovakia, on the Hungarian border (the Hungarian part of the city, on the Hungarian side of the Danube, is called Komárom) a competition between Kassai archers took place.

The home grounds of one of the Kassai clans is in Komárno, a nice, big ranch with a few dogs and cats, the great grey Hungarian cattle and a shooting ground for the riders.

Horseback archers from all of Hungary came to this event, some already a few days early to get the horses acclimated after the long journey. There are also a few people from our cland, some of them - like Sebastian and me - just for giving support instead of competing.

More than differently coloured belts

The participians wear Kaftáns, the colour of the fabric tells the viewer which rank they have. The participants range from the first beginner rank to the first master rank.

One archer especially catches the eyes of the onlookers - not only because of his intense yellow Kaftán, signalling that he is only one rank below Master - a sixteen year old boy, who is the one shooting the highest score at the end of the day.

He catches eyes because advancing in the ranks is not as easy as it might seem or someone might hope.

Advancing is only possible if you shoot the score required for the next level in two competitions and then manage to repeat your performance on your home turf with your leader of the clan to control your results. There are three beginner ranks, three student ranks, three advanced and then the Masters start.

And there is not a competition every weekend.

That boy must have started very successfully as a small kid in horseback archery.

In full gallop

The shooting itself is a thrilling experience all on it’s own.

The archers have nine rounds to make as many points as possible - only restriction: they have to run through one round in 20 seconds. If it takes longer the shot points do not counts. If it takes shorter, the saved seconds are added to the total score of the competitor.

The horses gallop in a straight line between two photocells and the rider shoots as many arrows as they can in this time.

Some of the beginners only manage to shoot one or two arrows per round. The sixteen year old manages twelve. In the end his score is more than 230 - for the first Master he needs 210. It’s quite likely he will start in brown-blue next season.

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