Horseback Archery Competition Rules

The third international horseback archery competition in Turkey will see competitors demonstrating their skills with two Turkish style competitions. These are named:

1. Qabaq
2. Mamluk style

The exact rules for each competition will be explained to all competitors before the competition plus all competitors will have the chance to practice these on Friday 14TH September, or before.
Below we have outlined some basic information about the two styles. Please note that the exact rules may change but the basic elements of the competition will be the same.

Qabaq is a very old and traditional horseback archery competition practised in the Middle East especially among the Turks and Persians. This year we will see again the re-birth of this special horseback archery competition.

There were different types of targets used for Qabaq but essentially all of them involved the rider to gallop past a high pole and hit the target at the top of the pole.
The illustrations below will give you an idea of Qabaq and the different positions the rider can shoot with.

Note: we will be using blunt arrows for this competition

Why Mamluk?
This competition has tested for the first time in Turkey 2009. After performed at Biga 2011, 2012 and 2013 in success.

The competition has been termed ‘Mamluk’ as it tests the basic four shots a Mamluk horsearcher or ‘Faris’ would need to master.
These shots are:
1) “Jarmaki” shot
2) Front shot / Side shot
3) Backwards or “Partian” shot

This style of competition is suggested to be more of a test of archery skills.

The Course
The course is similar to what is known as the “Korean style” of competition with one track and targets placed along it. The differences between this and the Korean style of course are:
a) The distance of each target varies from the track line and between targets
b) The height and nature of targets varies
c) The time needed to complete the course is less (within a safe points limit)
d) There is a target on the “wrong” side of the track, i.e. the Jarmaki shot

At present until the course has been tested before the competition in Biga these rules below are only a possibility.
The rules of this style of competition are flexible.
Only the following factors have to remain the same:

  • Length of track (100m)
  • Arrows can not be drawn before a start line
  • Arrows can be drawn from both the bow hand and/or quiver
  • Three gallops per rider

This means the following factors can change according to each competition:

  • The distance of targets from the track
  • Time limitation
  • Distance between targets
  • The sequence of shots (i.e. the shots do not always have to be in the same order)
  • The placing of targets can change for each gallop of the rider (but all riders must each experience the same layout)

The rules are the following:

  • Each rider has 3 gallops and the total score is taken from the 3 gallops for his/her final score
  • A rider can touch but not nock an arrow until their whole body crosses the start line. If they nock before the start line any score from the first shot will be cancelled
  • The track is 100m
  • The maximum time allowed for 100m is 11 seconds.
  • Scores are allocated by the organizers of the competition dependent upon the size, nature of targets and type of target face (if any). However, in terms of weight of points the following should be considered the most difficult and therefore afforded the more points

    a. Parthian Shot (most points)
    b. Jarmaki shot
    c. Forward shot /Side shot
  • There are no extra points for speed
  • In the case of two riders having a joint score, there will be a play-off between them to decide. One gallop – the nearest arrow to top wins (This rule comes from ancient competition).
  • Judges are needed to record scores and a judge should be placed at the start line to ensure riders do not draw the arrow before the start line

Example of a track
In this example below we have used the same numbering as in the picture on page 1.

The first shot is to the side, second shot is to the front, third shot to the “wrong” side and last shot is to the back.

Please note how each target is a different distance from the track.

* Special thanks to Neil Payne for developing competition styles & regulations.