A world-famous horseback archer and teacher is set to open Iceland’s first horseback archery school in the Ölfus municipality next fall, according to Vísir.
Pettra Engeländer recently visited Iceland and held a short but highly successful course on horseback archery in collaboration with the Icelandic Archery Centre. The Icelandic horse impressed her so much that she has decided to come back and open a school.
“The Icelandic horse is perfect for this. It has a beautiful gait and it’s easy to hit the target during tölt [that extra gait for which Icelandic horses are famous],” she told Vísir.
Archery is becoming an increasingly popular sport in Iceland, particularly among young women, Claudia Schenk, a trainer at the Icelandic Archery Centre, told mbl.is, crediting film role models such as Katniss (The Hunger Games) and Merida (Brave).
Horseback archery is an ancient Mongolian sport which requires great balance as the rider must ride bareback and the horse is unbridled. This also means that it requires absolute trust between the rider and his mount.
In the school, the students – both human and equine – will learn to work on that trust in a new situation. The humans must also do various balance exercises which are prerequisite to shooting a bow from a horseback, not to mention a moving horseback.
Pettra is undaunted and plans on hosting the first Icelandic Horseback Archery Tournament next year.