The Valley, Final Day

Some of you already know of the controversy at today’s event, involving the judging of a friend of mine and the subsequent lack of respect shown to him by the judge in question.  I shall say nothing more at this stage, until the matter has been resolved.  It was an incident that has unfortunately tarnished an otherwise excellent event.
I am now at the closing dance, following presentations, dinner and a find display of archery, juggling and dancing by the Kassai school.  A fine time has been had by all, and I am sorry to have to say goodbye to some people tomorrow but an looking forward to HUNOCHA, which promises to be a great celebration of horseback archery in all its forms.
Goodnight everybody, and thank you for reading.

The Valley, Day 3

Today was my competition day.  Luckily I was in group 3, giving me time to get myself ready before having to get on the horse and ride.  I was in the indoor arena, which was not my preference but was at least cool and out of the sun. 

The horse was beautifully behaved if somewhat slower than I would have liked.  The steppe saddle (high pommel and cantle and quite close fitting) was unfamiliar but easy to use after a few minutes. All in all, my shooting was not at its best but one or two good runs towards the end meant that I scored a personal best (for this type of course) of 82. This is about 20 sort of what I can do, based on my performances on other courses, but above my expectation and I am content.  Now I can settle down, have a beer (I may have started that already) and enjoy the night, before watching tomorrow’s competition.
Good luck to all those still to go and thank you to everybody who has wished me well, it’s meant a lot.

The Valley, Day 2

This afternoon started with a trip around the valley’s field archery course, 12 targets shooting at various ranges and up and down slopes.  This was followed by a short tour of the valley and rules explanation. 

After that business had been taken care of, we were asked to be very serious.  There then followed a bizarre, surreal and hilarious interlude, which simply defies explanation, even by such a gifted wordsmith as I.  Suffice to say that it included the issuing of airline tickets, a brief body search, the shooting of a couple of Hungarians and a safety briefing that included advice to put on your lifejacket of you fall off the horse.  I was forcibly reminded of the fact that Kassai is a Monty Python fan.  But you probably had to be there.

The opening ceremony was run this evening, before which I had a shower.  The shower had two knobs, both marked with the red dot of a bit tap.  They both lied.  Lied like cheap rugs.  As did Emil, who described it as “not that cold” (this from a gut who told in the snow in -20C, class only in swimming trunks). It was the coldest shower of my life, and I spent 7 years at public school.

Anyway, that’s all over now (even my autocorrect just tried to say “that’s all ice now”).  I’m sitting by the campfire with the evening’s last beer.  Tomorrow at 8am we meet and find out what time we will be riding.  Which might be an hour later or a day later.  Mental preparation is going to be tricky.  The other new experience in this event is that there is no time to meet the horse.  You are given your horse and do one walk down the track, one trot and one canter (no shooting).  Then 3 shooting practice runs at canter before 9 scoring runs.  This is nothing like as much as is usual at a competition.  It obviously confers home advantage to those who know the horses but I understand tar the horses are all well trained and run at much the same speed.  Tomorrow looks like an interesting day…

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The Valley, Day 1

Just a quick update for now, as I’m doing it on my phone.
I arrived at the valley with a great group of friends and after a very pleasant evening around the campfire I settled into my tent.  After the day’s heat the gentle breeze that started around midnight seemed promising.  Then it got stronger.  Then came the rumble of thunder in the distance, followed by a storm that made me glad I had a Thor’s hammer amulet in the tent for protection.  Turns out that a single layer, £10 tent was not a good idea.  My kit is now drying in the sun on another beautiful day.  Kinda hope that’s not how every night will be…

This morning is rest time, then this afternoon we have lunch and a tour of the valley, followed by the briefing.  And tomorrow, competition!

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The Valley, Day 1

Just a quick update for now, as I’m doing it on my phone.
I arrived at the valley with a great group of friends and after a very pleasant evening around the campfire I settled into my tent.  After the day’s heat the gentle breeze that started around midnight seemed promising.  Then it got stronger.  Then came the rumble of thunder in the distance, followed by a storm that made me glad I had a Thor’s hammer amulet in the tent for protection.  Turns out that a single layer, £10 tent was not a good idea.  My kit is now drying in the sun on another beautiful day.  Kinda hope that’s not how every night will be…

This morning is rest time, then this afternoon we have lunch and a tour of the valley, followed by the briefing.  And tomorrow, competition!

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