Friday, July 4, 2014

If you build it, they will come.

Recently, the hubs and I joined our local bowhunter/ field archery club to try something new and support our sport a bit more. There are more summer events state-wide via this group and its affiliates than the ones we normally go to together.

This brings me to my main point here. There is a definitely a split between events and clubs that support and encourage participation for both recurves and compounds at the state and local level. I am caught in the middle as I like to shoot both, but want to compete using whatever I am the most comfortable at that time. Most of our friends shoot compound and its a rare event where everyone can  come together on the same target.  I've posed the question to our largest state club to see if they would please add olympic recurve to the competitions, so I can play on the same line as my hubs.

Ride 'em slide 'em sans bridle - fabulous!
Elizabeth Juliano doing a powerful extended trot
Barns are just as divided. When I rode, I did mostly dressage at a hunter/jumper barn that was close by and had a great facility.  They were always a bit skeptical, but loved it when I would flat their horses and get them round and light in front. It's almost the same as reining vs dressage compared to Blue face vs FITA targets. Both strive to perform a series of similar exercises with utmost accuracy with a horse or bow but to an outsider, look very different.  I learned this early on from my uncle who was a classically trained dressage rider, but also turned out sharp and athletic reining horses. Good basics are good basics. Period.

I've always tried to keep an open mind and pull anything applicable and useful from groups "outside" my current focus. Want to learn to eyeball unmarked distances better? Shoot with a long time hunter and pick his brain. They know the tricks. Want to learn to shoot in the wind at 70m? Shoot with a FITA gal who can tell you how to read the OTHER flags, not yours, to see what the wind is really doing out there. Same deal with riding. You need to sort out how to better ride off of your seat and have your horse carry himself, without leaning on your hands, watch a reining pattern or three. Plus, they are fun to watch and the crowds love to get in on it.  Trust me, dressage could use some hootin' and hollerin'.  In that same vein, so could archery.

Someone recently called me a "switch hitter" in jest while I was helping out the compound guys in a mostly recurve group lesson. When I go to see my sis and teach there, I am the recurve gal in the land of camo.  Good basics are always the key, no matter the sport and no matter the specialty. If your horse is relaxed and receptive, you'll have a better ride. If you have good alignment and are relaxed (See what I'm doing here?) you will hit the X or the doe.

My point here is more of a challenge.  Extend a warm welcome to the other half of the archers in your area. Include a category for pins and fingers, or sights and releases. Make friends, bee happy.

Happy Fourth!

EDITED - Just heard back from our state president and found there is some confusion in language in how things are bucketed. If you shoot recurve, you can shoot under "Sight w/ fingers", which sounds like you are shooting against compounds/ fingers.  Will try this out in a  couple of weeks and see how it goes. More to come...

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