“You do feel a bit like a warrior up there,” says horseback archer Sarah Leibbrandt of the exhilarating experience of firing arrows at a target while riding her horse.
“We often refer to each other as warriors in the horse archery community. It’s a way of lifting each other up and encouraging each other ... Historically, it’s a military combat discipline that has become a recreational sport. It is empowering.”
Leibbrandt, shown here on her horse Lurch at a recent horse archery clinic at New Norfolk, is a founding member of the state’s first horse archery club, Epona’s Horse Archers, which was established in March this year and has 25 members.
She says the sport is “growing exponentially” worldwide and the club’s goal is to become involved in interstate and international competitions.
“It’s addictive. It’s a thrilling sport that requires intense focus,” she says. “There is a lot of adrenaline involved, and at the same time you have to focus on your shot and the technique.”
A riders’ relationship with their horse is integral to the sport.
“It’s about the trust you have with your horse. If you can get the [archery] action going, you know you have done the ground work with your horse,” says Leibbrandt, who took up horseback archery for the first time eight months ago.
“You can just steer them with your feet and legs, and be confident they will stop at the end ... Lurch is a big, dependable and sensible horse so it didn’t take him long to get used to it.”
Visit the Horse Archery Tasmania facebook page for information on their rallies, held on the second Sunday of each month at Kensington Park in New Norfolk.