High Plains Mounted Archers held its first International Horse Archery Alliance ranking during the last week of November and first week of December. The designated course was the Korean Triple at the walk or trot, with three runs being a single shot per target and three runs of shooting as many per target as possible. This was a great exercise in speed loading, and also got everyone comfortable with their first competition-type event.

Like all IHAA rankings, people from around the world submitted their scores for the walk/trot event. It’s like an international competition but you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home course. The results were announced mid-January, and High Plains Mounted Archers couldn’t be prouder.

Jen Mahoney won with a score of 94. Abby Martin was the top junior and placed 14th overall. Completed results are listed below.

Jen ranking

So if you’re thinking of trying mounted archery, but are hesitant to jump in, wait no more. There are competitions for all levels of riders and horses. Whether you’re a beginner archery or coming back from an injury (like Jen) or still working out the kinks with your horse, mounted archery offers something for everyone.

Abby ranking


1. Jennifer Mahoney (High Plains Mounted Archers, USA) = 94
2. Simon de Smedt (Paard en Boog, Holland) = 85
3. Futte Enevoldsen (HBADK, Denmark) = 79
4= Jane Højbjerg Jensen (HBADK, Denmark) = 74
4= Giel Raijmakers (Paard en Boog, Holland) = 74
6. Machteld den Teuling (Equifree, Denmark) = 71
7. Stacey Coleman (Battle Born Horse Archers, USA) = 68
8. Rene Riool (Paard en Boog, Holland) = 66
9. Emma Cherrington (Cotteswold Mounted Archers, UK) = 61
10. Maria Textor (HBADK, Denmark) = 59
11. Paul Naybour (Cotteswold Mounted Archers, UK) = 54
12. Martin Rasmussen (Denmark) = 51
13. Lene Andersen (Denmark) = 50
14. Abigail Martin (High Plains Mounted Archers, USA) = 49 *17yo*
15= Ros Jones (Cotteswold Mounted Archers, UK) = 47
15= Cindy Sither (Bluegrass Horse Archers, USA) = 47
17= Elin Bleijerveld (Equifree, Denmark) = 41 *10yo*
17= Lars Bleijerveld (Equifree, Denmark) = 41 *12yo*
17= Joylene Hill (Battle Born Horse Archers, USA) = 41
20. Kaili Hill (Battle Born Horse Archers, USA) = 40 *16yo*
21. Helen Barnes (Cotteswold Mounted Archers, UK) = 37
22. Stephen Aiano (Cotteswold Mounted Archers, UK) = 34
23. Kirsten Roldhave (Denmark) = 31
24. Per Beinov (Denmark) = 30
25= Alick Natton (Cotteswold Mounted Archers, UK) = 29
25= Maria Volck (Denmark) = 29
27. Lena Blau (Equifree, Denmark) = 28
28= Mikeal Lunding (Equifree, Denmark) = 26
28= Liz Skelton (Bluegrass Horse Archers, USA) = 26
30. Linda Nielsen (HBADK, Denmark) = 20
31. Lonni Hollman (Equifree, Denmark) = 19
32. Annette Trane Knudsen (Equifree, Denmark) = 16
33. Torben Lundorff (Equifree, Denmark) = 6
34. Dennis Falkenstjerne (Denmark) = 3
35. Birgit Ree (Denmark) = 0


Kiowa/Lander – A Mustang Story

Kiowa (previously named Lander) is our new mounted archery horse. I also have plans to do some limited distance miles on him and see how he does.

His story, however, was quite interesting.
Kiowa was born wild on federal lands in the Jackson Mountain HMA in 2006. He also had the misfortune of being born just a year before a bad drought in 2007 that got some negative media attention of horses dying of thirst and resulted in a rather large emergency gather of nearly 900 horses in the fall of 2007. Conditions apparently were so bad that at least 185 of the 900 horses died shortly after the roundup. The conditions and roundup were the feature of an article in Quarter Horse News in January 2008. Luckily Kiowa managed to survive not only the drought conditions, but the gather and the weeks immediately following the gather. There were so many yearlings gathered that year that a “Nevada yearling Challenge” contest was created. About 100 lucky yearlings found homes through the program. ( Kiowa was not one of them.
Kiowa did have a few things going against him for being adopted. He was on the short side. Fully grown, he’s only 14.1 hands. He also had the misfortune of being born “just a bay”. Bays, sorrels, and chestnuts have the hardest time being adopted. He was also out of a ho-hum HMA. He didn’t come from the flashy Kiger herds that Disney made famous or the Pryor Mountain Herd made famous by Cloud. Indeed, even the BLM description of the Jackson Mountans HMA in Nevada describes it basically as just a bunch of escaped ranch horses. In the BLM’s last internet adoption that I followed, most of the horses got a bid. A full third of horses out of Fallon, Nevada failed to get adopted. All of which were bay, chestnut or sorrel.

He did have a few things going for him though. Although bay, he does have a lot of chrome. He is also a gelding. (Mares being harder by far to place). He also was young. (Older horses have a much harder time of getting adopted.
He made it through 2008 and according to what I could find, made his way to the Canon City holding facility around March of 2009. He managed to get picked up for the Wild Horse Inmate Program and was halter broke there. He was even featured in an article in the Denver Post on an adoption event. ( ) If you follow the link, Kiowa is the one on the far left with the big white blaze on his Roman nose and white socks. It’s at the WHIP program where he appears to have gotten the name of Lander, named after the county in Nevada, which probably helped his adoption chances as well as a horse named Lander would probably have been more likely to get adopted than a horse named “#1375”.


Despite being featured in the Denver Post article, it would be another 6 months before he was adopted in March 2010. Somehow through all of that he managed to not become a “3 strikes” mustang and sold outright or sent to long term holding.
As it turns out, he was adopted by people that Rich Scott knew and he went to Rich Scott for 90 days training. After a time he ended up being sold to the husband of Bonnie Jorgensen, one of the members of our mounted archery group, High Plains Mounted Archers. His plan was to use him as a mountain hunting horse and he was renamed to Kiowa. In the summer of 2017 however, his owner passed away unexpectedly, leaving his widow with a lot of horses to try and find homes for. Which is how he ended up with us.

As we have a lot of horses ourselves, and Jen has quite a few “project” horses, the agreement was that any new horse we got had to be ridable by me. I am not the best equestrian by any stretch of the imagination, so that basically left really well broke horses. We ended up going out to see him, to find out that he really had only been ridden maybe twice since 2015. This didn’t help my nerves on trying to get on and ride him. Normally Jen would always take the first ride, she’s a really good equestrian and has started quite a few colts herself, including our first two horses. However, she had broken her arm in April so it came down to me. It turned out I was worried for nothing. He was a perfect gentleman.


Since coming to us, he’s been a mounted archery pony for three separate people. When Jen wanted to start shooting again, knowing that a fall could re-break her arm, I put her on Kiowa. My second ride off-property on him was to do an intro ride at Colorado Hightail Endurance Ride in Greenland. Originally thinking it was going to be a relatively flat 8 mile loop, it turned out to be a 12+ mile ride, with a few rocky stretches, and he carried me through it while barefoot without complaint.

Some of the generalizations I’ve heard about mustangs definitely apply to Kiowa. His feet are as hard as a rock, as our barefoot trimmer, Philip Himanka, constantly reminds me amidst grunts while trimming his feet. He gets fat on air. He definitely knows to take care of himself and I do not have a worry about him eating or drinking while on a ride. And though he is tolerant of others, he still bonds pretty heavily with one person.
I still love my Arab and saddlebred. I do, however, wish I had given other mustangs a chance, too. He’s a good horse.

Kiowa managed to survive a bad drought that killed some horses on the range, being ripped from his home in the wild, some pretty rough conditions that claimed 1 in 5 horses that were rounded up with him. He went through the WHIP program, some formal training, and some informal training. He made it through several owners and yet still has a good disposition. He reminds me that even after going through hardship, we can make it out the other side and still manage to have a positive outlook.


Bows! Where to get them?

So a number of people have asked about bows and where to get them. The following is my personal recommendations, and like any opinion, completely subject to change without notice and your mileage may vary. Separated out from most expensive to least expensive:

Salukis — for when only the best will do. A lot of the top competitors use these. Cost starts about $900-1000 and goes up into the multiple thousands for his horn bows. Each bow is custom built and there is over a year waiting list. Holds value really well because there is a YEAR waiting list. I’ve shot just one of these. My first three shots with one of these were on top of each other. No warm up or getting used it, just thump-thump-thump. I shot a 30 lb @ 30 in and it felt like a 20 lb bow. Would NOT recommend for green horses as breaking a Saluki has been known to make grown, manly men cry. Available from from Lukas Novotny, arguably one of the best horseback archers in the world. I’m hoping to have one of these sometime in the 2018-2019 time frame.

Atilla bows. Have not tried the more expensive Atilla bows. At the $700+ you’re in Saluki terrority. Tried a cheaper model but wasn’t very impressed. If you go this route, I’d advise one of his shorter models.

Kassai bows. Available online and from RMSGear in Wheat Ridge, CO. As much as I love the guys at RMS, and want to send business their way, I can’t recommend these bows. Almost all of them are leather covered fiberglass, and although beautiful to look at, were some of the slowest shooting bows I’ve ever shot. I tried multiple models in the 35 to 40 lb range and they made my wife’s 25 lb starter bow look like a screamer. The one exception would be his laminated bows, which I’ve never seen for sale in the US. But as that would be pushing the $600+ envelope, there are probably better options.

Akosbow Turk — This is a bow that Glenn Weston uses down in Texas. Have never tried, Supposed to be a good value for the money. Serena could probably chime in as she’s shot it. Available from Glenn was very responsive and I’d love to try one of these out some day.

Mariner bows — Imported from China and available from Justin Ma at Cinnabar Bow. These are Jen and my current bows. We really like them and prefer them to our Black Shadows. Fit and finish is really nice. If Justin doesn’t have what you want in stock, it can be ordered, but since it’s coming from a single bowyer, the wait can be long. Think anywhere from three to six months.

Spearman bows/Scorpious bows — Also available from Cinnabar Bows ( Have not tried yet. Fit and finish is said to not be quite up to Mariner, but supposedly very, very fast. Spearman is purportedly hard to get outside of China as traditional Chinese archery is a thing there now and is being bought up by the local market. Will hopefully have a specimen sometime in May or June to try out. Scorpious bow is another take on the Turk bow and is said to be very fast. Expect a very long wait for Spearmans, and a medium-ish (two-three months) for Scorpious.

Alibow laminated bows (Available from or occasionally from Canyon Cappola on Facebook). My personal feelings are your best bets are probably the Turkish laminated, the Crimean Tartar, and Emperor (if you don’t mind a slightly longer bow). I’ve heard mixed things about the Kaiyuan bow. One of our members (Bonnie) has a Turkish bow. It is probably just a hair slower than the Korean Black Shadows, but is a smoother bow, in my opinion. It is also prettier. Shipping is from China and can be an exercise in frustration. Expect at least a three week wait, most seem to be in the month to six-weeks time frame lately.

Korean bows. Freddie Archery Black Shadow and Kaya Korean traditional bows (and possibly the Samick Mind50/SKB). The Kayas are actually harder to find in the States. Mostly available from UK shops such as I personally liked the Black Shadow better than the Mind50. The Black Shadow can be ordered from (shipped from Korea) for $250. Lancaster archery for $219 (…) or ordered locally from RMS Gear in Lakewood at I-70 and Kipling. If you don’t mind popping the glued on rubber arrow rest (and dealing with a slightly unsightly glue on your bow), the Lancaster and RMSGear are great buys. We bought ours from RMS. They are probably the best bang for the buck for any bow out there right now. Carbon core and wickedly fast. A bit on the unforgiving side. Personal recommendation would be to order one from RMSGear, have them set it up for you, and get it re-served from them out of the box. This is probably the cheapest you’ll get a competition-level bow.

Atilla Ufinish bows: Was not impressed. One I tried had what I feel would be an unacceptable level of handshock for me. Was longer, heavier, slower, and a lot more handshock than my Black Shadow at approximately the same poundage. Felt like it was inferior to the Korean bows.

From, they have leather covered fiberglass models. In particular, their Turk and the Tibetan are supposed to be good values. Have never shot one. I saw one locally (a Mongolian style) at the local range and it seemed to be faster than the Kassai bows I’ve shot, but still on the slow side. We have two Turks in 20 and 25 for rental during group practice and other events. If you just want a bow to get you by, these are the ones. The Turk is probably your best bet for speed, I’ve been told they’re decently fast, but I’m seriously skeptical as my experiences with leather covered fiberglass bows have not impressed me. Expect them to weigh at least three times what an equivalent laminated bow of the same style would weigh.

Kids bows:
$200 Mariner — their dandelion model looks super cute. Obviously have never shot one, but they are a laminated bow and fit and finish on Mariners is pretty nice. If not in stock, expect a super long wait (four months+).

$90ish (after shipping) — Alibow children’s fiber bows. Multiple models. Have heard of the occasional bad luck with children’s models being higher poundage than advertised. Not as big a deal for adult bows if your bow is three or four pounds heavier than advertised, but a huge deal for kids. Expect delivery to be at least four to six weeks from order date.

Desensitizing For Mounted Archery

One of people’s biggest concerns when starting mounted archery is how to convince their 1000 pound partner to willingly join in on the fun. While it may seem like an overwhelming task, like anything else involving horses, it just takes a little bit of time, patience, and understanding your equine partner.

Here is an article that does a great job starting you down the path of desensitizing your horse to mounted archery. Article

If you rather watch someone go through the steps, there’s also a video series done by Katie Stearns that gives a lot of good advice and ideas. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

The biggest thing to remember is take your time and have patience. This is a sport unlike anything your horse has probably been exposed to. If you find yourself struggling, feel free to reach out to HPMA. We’re happy to help where we can.