BHAA International Series – GB v Sweden  (1-2nd June)


For some time the BHAA had been keen to host an international competition but we always came up against the problem of having too few trained horses to cater for a large number of competitors. Then we hit upon the idea of having a series of small international matches - a visiting team of four against a Great Britain four. The idea continued to grow and the 4 Brits became 8 - the first team to be the best 4 people we could field and a development team where the priority would be given to bringing on competitors who had not yet had the chance to compete internationally being mentored by team-mates with greater experience. In this way we hoped to enable people to meet foreign horse archers, to learn new techniques and make new friends, and ultimately to gain the experience and confidence to travel with their horseback archery and compete abroad in the future. 


Well, the weekend eventually arrived on 1-2nd June after more than a year of planning, being postponed from August 2012 and only 3 of the 2012 squad being available in 2013. However, to cut a long story short it was a GREAT SUCCESS!!! :)


The Swedes were collected from Heathrow and by the time I arrived late on Friday they had trialled the horses, the track had been set up and the BBQ and beers were in full flow.


The Qabaq competition was the first event on Saturday and we had many near misses and concluded at the end of everyone's 3 runs that a 30cm diameter cymbal 8.5m up is just a bit too tricky; we were level pegging at "nul points" all round. The afternoon saw the Hungarian event with each rider having 6 runs. Emil was having a tough time being a leftie with Niagara running the reversed course slightly downhill at great speed, however his coaching was great and several of the Brits made significant improvements to their technique in this event that we often neglect in preference to riding the Korean course. Once we'd cracked open the beers once again the scores were totted up to reveal that GB-A were leading Sweden by only 0.1 points - the equivalent of 1/10ths of a second! Then off to the local pub to share some traditional British dishes with the Swedes.


Sunday was again a pleasantly sunny day and we started off with the Korean event shooting 2 single, 2 double then 2 five-shot runs on the 150m track. The 150m 5-shot course was a really satisfying one to run - long enough that you could settle into your stride better and very pleasant to be cantering along parallel to the edge of a wood where a couple of red kites and a buzzard were soaring overhead (and making a fair bit of noise!). Several of the archers on both sides started to find their form at this point and the points tally began to climb more quickly with Sweden taking a comfortable lead. Gurbir recorded a personal best, nailing the double shot and both Chris and Sissela picked up bonuses for hitting all 5 targets on the serial shot.

In the afternoon we experimented a little with the Mamluk event - I had wanted to add in something new and a bit different, something that would test us a little more; and Anders contributed his knowledge from competing at Biga for setting it up. We used the 150m course and put in a close ground shot where bonus points could be gained from shooting Jarmaki style, a double shot, then an offside shot, and finally a 15m side shot. The Mamluk turned out to be almost everyone's favourite event and Adam and Zana both shot very well indeed, gaining more points on this 3 run event than in the rest of the competition combined. 


Once Sunday was underway there was no doubt as to the victorious team and we offer the Swedish team (Emil, Anders, Kalle and Sissela) our congratulations - we couldn't have wished for better opponents and a more friendly, good-natured match. Congratulations also to Chris Harding who had the highest combined personal score riding Oscar. Thanks to Michele Freedman for umpiring, to Karl and Zana for providing their venue and lovely horses (on whom they were complimented several times over - I think Anders would have quite liked to smuggle Smokie home!) and to all the grooms who helped score or prepare the horses. 


We are very much looking forward to our next international match, there are subtle improvements to be made but overall I am delighted by how well it went. We hadn't even got through dinner at the pub on the Sunday night before the first offer to be our next year's opponents had come in ;)











Emil Eriksson
Anders O Jönsson

Kalle Möllerberg
Sissela Ågårdh Orsmark






GB – A

Dan Sawyer

Chris Harding

Jon Savage

Claire Sawyer






GB – B

Zana Greenwood

Gurbir Singh Bhangoo

Oisin Curtis

Adam Snowball