Bows and arrows at the ready — British riders showed their skills by picking up team silver at the third international horseback archery competition to be held in the UK.

The final of the European Horseback Archery grand prix series was held at the Centre of Horseback Combat on the Gaddesden estate near Hemel Hempstead on 20-21 September. It was the first time the competition has been held in the UK.

group GP-UK lowres1The event attracted archers from Poland, Finland and Sweden.

The four-strong teams had built up points at competitions in Poland in the spring and Sweden in the summer.

Poland held its significant lead to take gold in the final, with team GB maintaining their silver medal standing.

“The sport is really growing in the UK, it is the first time we’ve hosted an international competition,” said Zana Cousins-Greenwood.

Zana is a stunt rider and has 17 horses, mostly Andalusians at the Centre of Horseback Combat, which she set up in 2010.

“The horses are clever, brave and very trainable,” she told H&H. “We’ve taught over 1,000 people in the UK.”

anders gpIn competitions riders canter or gallop along a track with no reins holding a bow and drawing an arrow from the quiver on their hip or back.

The horseback archers are judged on their timings and accuracy — if they break into a trot they are disqualified.

This weekend (4-5 October) eighteen riders will be competing at the British Horseback Archery Association Championships, held at the Centre.

For more information visit www.BHAA.org.uk