Mule and Rider Pair Wins National Mounted Archery Competition

equine competition mounted archery Jul 09, 2024
women doing archery while mounted

JoJo, a 9 year old Missouri Fox Trotter John mule, is rocking the mounted archery world!  A national mounted archery competition was held Oct 26-28, 2018 in Mora, Missouri. With mounted archery just now making its way into Missouri and Kansas, every competitor present was able to say that it was their first competition!

Let’s take a step back and do a quick explanation of how mounted archery works.  MA3 (Mounted Archery Association of the Americas) is the only mounted archery association in the USA that can report to the IHAA (International Horse Archery Alliance).  The IHAA is a global mounted archery organization that oversees each country for rankings, competitions, and championships.  A ranking is a way to verify an archer’s accuracy and speed; kind of like a belt testing in martial arts.  The ranking system has two divisions, both of which require the equine and rider to canter the entire time and shoot without the reins being held.  There is a S1-S6, which stands for Student.  The other ranking is an HA1-HA8, which stands for a Horse Archer.  In 2018, MA3 and IHAA added a walk and trot division. 

Rankings can also be used for competitions.  This way the archer can compete and move up in rank at the same time. Missouri has one official MA3 chapter (club) called the Country Tough Mounted Archers.  They consist of a group of men and women from MO, KS, IL and CO.  To nurture a new club, the national competition was centered around growth.  Five archery and mounted archery events including ground shooting, stationary shooting, buck shot (one arrow, 1 dollar, winner takes all), mystery shot (odd shots from the ground), walking mounted archery, and cantering mounted archery.  Each of the events had an advanced, intermediate, and novice category.  However, with mounted archery being this unique sport the names of those categories were changed to sharp shooter, dragon slayer, and warrior! 

Brandy Von Holten and JoJo won the Sharp Shooter title in cantering mounted archery, walking mounted archery, and ground shooting.  They also won the Reserve Sharp Shooter in stationary shooting.  Brandy is now a S4 ranking.  The Warrior Champion in stationary shooting also used JoJo when their horse decided archery was too must to handle for one of the three days.

Brandy and JoJo are the first mule and rider pair to win a MA3 national competition.

Now, if you own a mule, you must know they are filled with quirks, surprises, and little loveable moments.  JoJo and Brandy were disqualified three times; twice for breaking down from a canter to a trot, and one time because JoJo stopped and relieved himself on the course. 

Mules are proving themselves to be valuable in yet another sport, all while being a species unto themselves! 


by Brandy Von Holten 

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