Today started on a tragic note. Overnight we apparently had a monumental thunderstorm (I say apparently because I slept straight through it, much to everybody else’s amazement). Susan’s horse, Sundance, seems to have been scared by the storm and in his panic he broke his leg very badly and had to be put down. He was a lovely horse and I know the thoughts of the horseback archery world are with Susan just as much as ours were here.
We spent the day working on archery. Trey, Darran and I each ran a station, concentrating on technique in various ways. Trey was doing pure technique work, I mixed technique with speed, having various races, and Darran had people shooting at thrown targets.
Once we’d finished the stations, Claire and I were fortunate enough to have private riding tuition from Chrissy. I have never worked so hard at a walk as I did today but I have not learned so much about riding in one go since my first lesson with Feth two years ago when I first started the sport.
I spent a very pleasant couple of hours or so before lunch doing some fun shooting. We have a tic tac toe target (noughts and crosses, for those who speak English) and a few of us went and shot at thrown and rolling targets. The tic tac toe is still going on now, even though it is what any normal person would feel compelled to describe as far too dark for shooting. All horseback archery events have the element of shooting together and exchanging ideas but at bow camp, as well as organised tuition there is an unrivalled sense of fun while shooting. Even in Jordan, where the camaraderie was just as marked as here, everyone was ultimately aware that there was a competition at the end of it. In addition, here we are at somebody’s home. For this week it feels like all of our home. In Jordan we were a group of instant good friends staying in a hotel and training together. Here it’s an extended family learning and playing together. Neither is better than the other, but they are undeniably different.
I must finally mention the food, which has been excellent. Competing with Korea for the best horseback Archery food I’ve had. There’s not a lot in it this far, especially after today’s barbecued steak, which follows fish tacos yesterday and various wholesome breakfasts. It’s all to play for…