Right On Target!
A sport that harkens back to the Wild, Wild West!
This talented photographer enjoys capturing all the action of a fast-growing, family-friendly sport known as “cowboy-mounted shooting.”
Cowboy mounted shooting, also known as simply “mounted shooting,” is a competitive equestrian sport that challenges participants to quickly and accurately negotiate an arena with a pre-determined pattern of targets and shoot those targets, all while riding a horse.
I’ve been taking photos of mounted-shooting events for the past two years. As the main photographer for mounted shooting in Alberta, I attend about five events across the province each year. I’ve also travelled to British Columbia to take photographs for one of their associations.
More than 20 years ago, competitive shooting associations began to spring up south of the border, created in the spirit of the mounted soldiers and Wild West cowboys of a bygone era. Mounted shooting requires skill in both horsemanship and target shooting, and is among the fastest-growing equine sports in North America.
All associations and competitions are heavily regulated by several governing bodies, whereby the safety of horses, riders and spectators is para- mount. The single-action revolvers used in competition carry five blank cartridges filled with black powder and have a firing range of 20 feet. Having ten targets in the arena for each pattern means the rider must carry two revolvers, and change guns halfway through the course, which adds to the drama, excitement and skill required in this action-packed sport. Most elite riders complete a course in under 17 seconds.
Mounted shooting is quickly becoming one of the most popular equine sports in our country, with at least nine associations from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. Riders of all levels have represented Canada at the World Championships for the past several years and have brought home several titles.
Mounted- shooting competitions usually include a variety of age categories and skill levels. It’s truly a family-oriented sport, with kids, moms and dads all travelling together to competitions. The sport is exhilarating to compete in and always a thrill to watch. n
Clockwise from top left: A mounted shooter reaches for his second gun as he rounds the turn into the home stretch; staring down the barrel of the gun as it fires at the balloon target; one of the many female mounted shooters who compete in the sport,...