Korean horseback archery dates back to the Goguryeo period. It was a widely practiced form of archery during the Joseon Dynasty.
Mounted archers are a proud part of Korean heritage. Mounted archers are historically known as the “true soldiers” of Korea.
Horseback archery was used extensively in warfare until the introduction of firearms in the 16th century. The last major battle in which Korean horse archers played a significant role was the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598).
Today, horseback archery is practiced as a traditional sport in Korea. It is also gaining popularity around the world as a unique form of archery.
Today, there are many competitions held in Korea in which participants can compete in various categories. The rules of the competition are quite simple: participants must shoot at a target while mounted on a horse, and the one who scores the most points wins.
There are different techniques that participants can use in order to score points. The most common method is called the “double shot.” This involves shooting two arrows at the same time, with one arrow being held in each hand.
Another popular method is called the “twist shot.” This involves holding the bow in one hand and using the other hand to twist the bowstring. This technique was often used in war, as it allowed soldiers to shoot multiple arrows at their enemies very quickly.
While the World Horseback Archery Federation makes its home in Korea, there is a World Horseback Archery Championship held annually various countries. Competitors from around the world compete in this mounted competition. The events in the World Horseback archery Championship are :
– The Kyung Goo: This is the most important event in the horseback archery competition. It is named after the legendary horse that was ridden by King Gong Min of Goryeo. The Kyung Goo is a timed event, and participants must shoot as many arrows as possible at a target in a certain amount of time.
– The Jikji: This event is named after the world’s oldest surviving book, which was printed in Korea in 1377. In this event, participants must shoot an arrow through a series of rings that are hung from a string.
– The Yanggum: This event is named after a type of traditional Korean drum. In this event, participants must shoot an arrow. The drum will then be hit with the arrow, and the sound of the drum will determine whether or not the shot was successful.
Aside from the challenges of just using a bow and arrow, there’s the added challenge of firing from a moving platform. If that isn’t enough, another consideration will be the horse itself. How sensitive the horse is to the rider’s movement and the sound of the arrows being released? Therefore, an archery horse will be less sensitive to sensory stimulus, like the arrows and bow moving in its peripheral vision. Some may want to ride horses that already have the experience of being fired from. The benefit of this would be not needing to train or acclimatise the animal to the new stimulus of the bow and arrow. This would generally be recommended path for someone not experienced in training horses. If that isn’t possible, it is recommended that archers select horses that are not very sensitive to touch, sights and sounds. Otherwise, the horse could require extensive training to get used to the sights, sounds, movement and touch involved in mounted archery.
This is important to the performance of the horse and archer team. As in any horse riding, the horse must also get along with the rider. Getting along with, and having trust between the horse and rider will be another very important aspect horseback archery.
The equipment used in horseback archery is also different than what is used in traditional archery. The horse bow is smaller and shorter than a regular bow, and the arrows are also shorter. This is so that the rider can shoot while mounted on the horse.
Korean horseback archery is a unique sport that has a long history and rich cultural heritage. It is a great way to experience traditional Korean culture, and it is also a lot of fun! If you are interested in learning more about this sport, there are many resources available online. You can also find information about competitions and events that are held throughout the year.
Featured image by: Jazlyn Oliver