The Horse Gazette Newspaper
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Local Mounted Archery Competitors Win in Asia
"It is Official we will be going to Korea to represent the United States in the World Martial Arts Masterships on the CIMAC Team to compete in horseback archery there and we will also be competing in Mongolia in the Asian Championships," Trey Schlichting exclaimed! Trey, a H4 & Level II certified archery instructor, was one of a four member, all Texas, team representing the USA in this rapidly growing equestrian sport. Mike Sabo is an internationally ranked H1, Glenn Weston is a Level II instructor, Shelly Ryan is also a Level II instructor, and together they comprised this winning team.
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The Texas team gathered their pennies, planned their travel, and off they went to begin an adventure that would take them to Mongolia, Korea, and back to Texas in 27 days. To say the trip was ardeous would be an understatement. They traveled hours by plane, waited endlessly in airports, crammed into small buses, driven across barren lands, given unidentifiable meals, rode random horses, weathered monsoons, and endured countless bruises (not to mention a few stitches). When asked, "Would you do it again?" Mike Sabo replied without hesitation, "Heck ya!"
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Trey and Mike traveled first to Mongolia to compete in the Asian Mounted Archery Championships. Near Ulaan Baatar, they resided in a native Ger Camp and rode Mongolian Horses in primitive saddles, sometimes with the stirrups tied underneath to allow the rider to lean far to the side for impossible shots. These two men from Texas drank mare's milk, ate fresh goat cheeses, and competed on the Mongolian Steppe along with teams from Brazil, Bulgaria, Ireland, Japan, Mongolia, & Switzerland. They were awestruck to compete in the very land that was the first to give us riding astride and the first to develop mounted archery. Their awe soon faded as they later learned the fate of that development. As Mongolian rulers came and went, so did the magnificent archers of the Steppe. Their ancient weapons were taken from them, modified, and then given only to the military for use. Only recently have the mounted archery training camps been brought back to life. This became very apparent as Mike and Trey were practicing their marksmanship at the Ger Camp. Trey said, "The locals would stop and watch us for hours." It seemed that the sport that had originated in their country, was now an amazing feat performed by a foreigners.
After these championships, they headed on to the big event... the 2016 Martial Art Masterships in Sokcho, Korea sponsored by UNESCO. This new, Olympic styled, martial art extravaganza featured 22 martial arts divisions, 2300 worldwide competitors, and has planned to be held every 4 years. Team USA participated in the opening ceremonies and then went on a short journey out of town to settle into some competitive horse riding and bow shooting. Each team was able to choose their horses from a mixed group of Mongolian Horses, Korean "Halla" Horse, and OTT Thoroughbreds. Given the choice, both Trey & Mike said they would choose a Mongolian Horse. The Mongolian Horse was small, sturdy, dependable, unflappable by noise or objects, predictable, and had a tremendous heart. These characteristics would prove to be invaluable during the competition as monsoon season kicked in to full swing. The rains came and mud deepened, but the show went on! Trey said, "It now became a competition of strategy versus speed because the track was a sloppy mess." Speed is the name of the game in Korea; you must cover 8 meters per second on the track to be considered for the next heat. This factor made the psychological struggle very real as they weighed in the final horse choices, speed decisions, and division strategies.
The competition comprised of 5 events; the Serial Shot (3-5 targets), Double Shot (2 targets), Single Shot (target is 10 meters from the shooter), the Masahee (the arrow must knock down the target), and the Qabak. All of these events are challenging to train for, but Qabak training is a little different. It consists of shooting at melons at the end of a tall pole. You must run directly underneath the pole as you shoot straight up at your target. This event originates from medieval war times. Mounted archers were sent to the fortress wall, people within the fortress would look down over the wall's edge, and well... you get the picture.
74 riders competed in these well run and organized Masterships, and Team USA definitely held their own. Silver medals were won in Serial Shot, Double Shot, Masahee, and a gold medal was won in Qabak. These winning archers are more than just a group of competitors randomly put together; they are friends working towards the common goal of promoting mounted archery worldwide. They all live in the New Braunfels area, have their daily jobs, and train to excel in their sport at the A Company Mounted Archery Training center.
The Team would like to thank the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and the Herald-Zeitung for their generous donations. The travel expenses and entry fees came out of the pockets of the team members, so without fundraising and sponsorship, this trip would not have been possible.
For more information about mounted archery, please contact: A Company Mounted Archery Training located in New Braunfels at 210-860-5353 or find them on the web at www.horsearcher.com