I woke up this morning feeling awful.  This was not because I drank too much, before anybody says it!  Stomach cramps and a streaming noise are not ideal for horseback archery, even for training, and I think my horse picked up on it, resulting in extra work for me as I desperately tried to get her to run at a reasonable speed.  Yesterday was better (although she’s no speedster anyway) so hopefully for the competition she will do as a lot of horses do and pick up on the energy of the event. 

It is now 7pm and I’m back in bed after eating a very fine dinner of chicken and cracked wheat.  I probably shouldn’t be eating with the way my stomach is playing up but I need to be able to function tomorrow and I’ve never done well at resisting food when it’s offered.  This afternoon we practised foot the opening ceremony, in which we will ride alongside some reenactors in hussar uniform (they’ll be in the uniforms, not us).  This practice consisted of lining up boot to boot and then forming two ranks and trotting in a big circle in an inclined field before reforming the single line and responding to some commands in Magyar before being inspected by a minister (government, not church).  It turns out that sitting trot in circles up and down a hill is not good for a dicky tummy and I felt distinctly unwell after a couple of goes.  Luckily I was able to derive some wry amusement from the commands to close up as close to each other as possible when at all other times we are told to keep distance between the horses because they don’t all know each other.  It all went fine, of course, but as somebody who enjoys life’s little quirks, I raised a satirical mental eyebrow.

After the parade we moved to the Polish track.  This is a demanding course, maybe 450m long and over rough and hilly terrain, including tight turns and a long final canter down a slightly-too-steep slope.  It also starts with a qabaq (upwards shot) and includes front, back and issue shots, some of which are hidden amongst trees or bushes.  After a practice walk, trot and canter runs, I’m looking forward to it but not expecting great things.  I managed to get the horse to speed up by shouting loudly but I am informed that my “yah!” sounds so very English that I may as well shout “excuse me, would you mind awfully going a bit faster?”.  I may have to shout that instead at some point…

There will shortly be a meeting to discuss groups and rules, so I will have to get up again.  On the bright side, this will mean going to the WiFi hotspot, so I can post this to my adoring readers.  I shall leave you with a few pictures of a little church that overlooks the competition site and forms part of the HUNOCHA logo.  I strolled up there earlier with Adam and Oisin, now that the weather is slightly less infernally hot.



Tomorrow the competition starts.  Good luck, everybody…

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