DESERT WARRIORS of the SOUTHWEST is a club I started in 2010. We are members of MA3, (Mounted Archery of the Americas), at the moment I am President of MA3.
It started in Mongolia with Genghis Khan, and then went throughout Asia, into Europe and much later it came to the Americas. For our country our heritage of horseback archery is the Native American Indians. What could be more exciting than running your horse with the wind in your hair and drawing a silent yet strong bow and letting loose your arrow to the dead center of a target? Not only are you one with your horse but also the only sound you hear is the beating of your heart in tune with your horse’s hooves.
Today in the US there is a handful of Mounted Archery Instructors. They are trying to make a go of getting horse lovers fired up into wanting to learn the ancient sport and compete throughout the country and the world. In 2010, Bend, OR held the first International Mounted Archery Competition, thanks to Dr Holm Neumann. It was a great success and along with our own competitors, we had competitors from South Korea, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Brazil, Poland and Canada, and there were competitors from ages 14 thru 63.
There are different styles of events among which are the Korean’s, single, two and five shot, The Hungarian three-sided target, along with the Qabaq and the Mogu. Qabaq being the 27-foot pole with an 18-inch tray on top that you must turn up and shoot at (with rubber blunt arrows). The Mogu is a ball made of sticks covered with canvas pulled by a fellow competitor and chased by two other competitors with two arrows each with paint. One shooting right handed and the other shooting left (luck of the draw). Needless to say, it helps to know how to shoot with both hands.
For the most part the archers shoot with the old traditional way of the Mongols with a thumb release. However there are those who still favor the three-finger release. The bows are recurves ranging from about 26 -35 lbs. for women and 35 – 45 lbs. for the men. The bows are horse bows and can not have a shelf for the arrow to lie in and you may use a hip, sash or back quiver.
There is no special breed of horse that needs to carry you thundering down your target line and there is no gender preferred. The joy is the love of your horse and your bow. There are Quarter horses, Arabs, Fox Trotters, Magalarga Marchadors , Mustangs, among the horse breeds.Your horses are your partners and are trained not to be afraid of the flying arrows or bow sounds and are ridden without reins. They are trained to keep an even speed as you must stay at a lope or gallop. Anyone breaking into a trot is disqualified from the target they are shooting at, at the time. All scores are a combination of accuracy and speed. When competing against other countries, we use the host’s horses and likewise when we host an event we supply the horses for our guests. Which leads to the understanding that most of us share our horses with our guests.
My name is Diana Troyk and I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have my own Mounted Archery Course and my club is “Desert Warriors of the Southwest”.
I have been riding all my life, starting about the age of 3. I got my own horse at 10 (Saddlebred/Quarter)and had her for 25 years doing barrel racing and trail riding. Later I had a quarter horse for 17 yrs and now a fox Trotter for. Both of which were my archery horses. At the age of 48 I met Misa Tsuyoshi, a practitioner of Yabusame, and shared my Quarter horse with her. Yabusame is a traditional form of Japanese horseback archery. Impressed, I taught myself to shoot with a bow on my horse, bareback. A clinic with Lukas Novotny and Dana Hotko in Ft Dodge, Iowa the next year changed my life.
Shooting and hitting a flying target off my horse at a gallop was such an adrenaline rush, I new I wanted to do this as a regular sport. At the end of each day of the clinic, the History Channel spent 4 days filming my instructors, one other student and myself for the filler in the movie “The Secrets of Genghis Kan.” Again, this only helped to inspire me to do more. A year later I went to a clinic in Montana with Pat Stoddard, utilizing trampolines for practice. Clinics with Holm Neumann in Bend, OR led me to setting up my own course in Scottsdale, AZ and holding my first clinic with the help of Holm and Katie Stearns.
I have competed in the World in Korea 5 times, bringing home 2 Bronze a gold and a coveted Warrior Award twice. In our own 2010 in OR, I won a third place on my own horse. Besides Korea I have competed in Poland, Japan and Mongolia. I am a member of the WHAF (World Horse Archery Federation) in Korea.
For all the riders out there who want a fun challenge and excitement for a lifetime, come join the Deseret Warriors and help start a momentum in our country of a sport that changed the world. My goal has been to hold a US International Competition in Scottsdale, AZ and now that goal has been met as we will host the first International Competition in AZ this year in Nov 2016. Why not come out and learn the historical art of Mounted Archery l? Nov 2016 here we come!
BJ Smith is my partner in practicing MA. She has been doing MA for about 7 years. She owns a very large Fox Trotter named Ghost and has competed in TX at the Nationals in 2011 , 2012 and in 2014 she went to S Korea to the World Horseback Competition. In 2015 she competed in OR at the International Competition. She is a dedicated horse archer and like all of us is learning all the time. We have a great time on the Magic machine ( a wagon with a barrel horse with a saddle pulled by a UTV), shooting because she is left handed and we can trade off each way. Also she is my right hand person for Demo’s in and around the Phoenix area. She will soon be an instructor.
Joey and Greg Ogburn are my other partners. Joey practicing HA for about 3 years and Greg 2. They have both competed in Korea and Australia (Joey twice in Korea) and here in our US competitions. They will soon be instructors.