Learn the art of horseback archery at the Horseback Archery Equestrian Center in Al-Shahaniya

Learn the art of horseback archery at the Horseback Archery Equestrian Center in Al-Shahaniya

Qatar Living
By Qatar Living

The traditional sport of horseback archery has ex-equestrian and archer, Kassai Lajos, revived the sport of horseback archery. In the 1990s, the World Horseback Archery Federation, which is considered the international association of mounted archers, garnered recognition by UNESCO. While the reappearance has captured worldwide interest and engagement, Qatar has skillfully emerged at the forefront of the revival of the art of horseback archery.   

What brought this phenomenal sport to Qatar? The multi-talented President, Fuad Almudahka, brought horseback archery to Qatar in 2012. As a result, this made the art the first country in the Arabian Gulf to revive the sport. In 2013, Almudahka met with Kassai. Through hard work, dedication, and intensive training, the sport continued to thrive. According to Vice President Abdulaziz Al-Qahtani, “From Qatar, horseback archery has successfully reached Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, UAE, Oman, and Palestine.” 

These days, one of Almudahka’s roles includes being the head of the organizational committee for the International Horseback Archery Federation. Along with being part of the international team, Al-Qahtani states, “We competed in the international league in South Korea, Turkey, and Jordan. Alqahtani states, “Our first global competition was in 2019, in South Korea. Of the 55-60 riders, the best number in one of the multiple styles was number eight, which was a large achievement for the center.” 

Initially, Almudahka gave comprehensive courses to those that know how to ride and had an interest in archery. These days, the center takes anyone that has a keen interest in horseback riding and archery. Al-Qahtani tells Qatar Living, “There are 200 horseback archers in the Arab world, with 30 of them coming from Qatar alone. While the usual age groups are 14 and above, if you know how to ride, you are welcome. In fact, we have had two competitions in 2020 and 2022. The youngest competitor being 12 years old and the oldest being 42 years old.”  

The center offers horseback and archery lessons. Through their knowledge and expertise on traditional sport, the center has even had the opportunity to train the special forces for an opening ceremony at Sealine. Maintaining the rich history of the sport is significant to the center. Al-Qahtani tells Qatar Living, “One of the main parts in our center is to teach people the cultural heritage, because most of the scripts are Arabic scripts. In fact, the Arabic manuscript of 1500 AD is the only book that has a word for each movement, such as where you put your finger and the name of each element. For example, the word “Katra” is now also being used in the English language for horseback archery.” 

Using the traditional bow, the continuously thriving Horseback Archery Equestrian Center aims to preserve the culture and art of the centuries-long sport. Camps are also offered, with the recent camp being the biggest one yet. This year, nine members joined the camp. As a camp, this was the first outside the country. Within the country, lessons are regularly offered, and collaborations are regularly made that are offered to both males and females. The center itself is warm, welcoming, and inclusive, with female horseback archers being regular valued members of the center.  

In the season itself, the center offers intensive courses led by Almudahka. Individuals regularly come from countries all over the Gulf, including countries such as Oman and Saudi Arabia. This intensive course is four days long and offered to those who know how to ride. This is because the trainers give theoretical information from the old books, along with horseback riding techniques. The training is unique in that it provides the history as well as practical exercises.  

The center is always moving forward, with members soon being able to excitedly take part in ground archery lessons. The center offers horseback riding lessons, horseback archery, and training horses to be prepared to take part in horseback archery. The center is built upon hard work, dedication, and continued love for the traditional art of horseback archery. With continuous success, there are no limits to what this thriving Horseback Archery Equestrian Center will accomplish in the future to come.   

Location: Al-Shahaniya, in Umm Leghab. 

Contact: 5019 6278

Stay tuned for the shows and competitions that will take place this season during the world cup and afterwards.

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