What are international postal matches?

The concept of postal matches is not a new one. They have been common in target archery for many years. Postal competitions are ideal for our sport: even within our own countries we are spread out and only a fortunate few are able to travel abroad to compete in person with foreign friends. With these postal matches you can compete at home or in your local club, on a familiar horse, and at the time of your choosing.

We welcome participation from everyone; from beginners to masters, regardless of school or affiliation. There are no prizes and people are not judgmental. Let’s all just have fun shooting together!

Our first postal match in July 2013 attracted 63 participants from 6 countries. By 2020 we have hundreds of people involved each month in a variety of matches: at walk, at trot, a canter match on a standard (gradable) track, a try out canter match on a more uncommon straight track, and arena course matches that utilise all the space of a 20x40m arena.

Each match runs for 2 months and you can participate in it at the time and location that suits you (some people take part within their clubs, some at home. The rules and a scoring spreadsheet for the next match will be posted here and results should be returned through our score returns site: Categories mean that within each match people are competing against others of a similar age or experience to themselves. Results are posted here and on our Facebook page a couple of days after the closing date for the match.

Arena course matches

More chances to compete and more fun.
Those were the two main goals in mind when the arena course matches were developed. There are very few riding schools with 90 metre tracks compared to the amount of riding schools with 40x20m arenas and most 90 metre tracks are not safe to ride during the winter.

Accessible for anyone with an arena
So why not set up a postal competition with courses that fit exactly in a 40x20 arena? This way, any riding school or anyone with an arena can participate in a postal horseback archery match!

New possibilities
Adapting existing straight tracks to an arena has been done previously by keeping them straight and making them shorter. But here arena courses have been developed in their own right, making full use of the arena and using it to train the horse and rider on both sides, making both more balanced.

More emphasis on riding
The above means in the arena courses there will be more emphasis on riding your horse, such as more emphasis on canter lead changes. The idea is to encourage more balance, consistency, and versatility in horse training, such that more archery horses will be able to pick up either canter lead easily and be able to go various speeds for different activities.

Walk, trot and canter
To make these matches accessible for everyone, all tracks can be ridden in walk, trot and canter. There are separate general rules for the walk and trot versions.

Shorter matches and more fun
Riders can spend much less time on their horses in an arena course match. Therefore more riders can use the same horse, making it easier for organisers to have an arena postal match. The short time the match takes should also make it more fun to partcipate and more exciting to watch!

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The IHAA was established in late 2013.

Bringing the Global community of Horseback Archers together via Postal Matches and a standardised Grading System.

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