Training with Horse Archer Hilary Merrill using Fouganza Gear

Training with Horse Archer Hilary Merrill using Fouganza Gear

This past June, I registered for the European Grand Prix Stage 3 Open Horseback Archery Competition that was to take place in Sypniewo, Poland in September. and I was excited to train for it with my fantastic gear from Fouganza. The GP stages combine some of the very best horse archery talent in the world, and I learn so much every time I participate.

Your saddle as the foundation

My Fouganza jumping saddle is a keystone of my practice: its large knee blocks offer security when rotating forward shots and back shots. The stirrup bar easily accepts my personally designed universal stirrup bar extender (patent pending), which sets the foundation for a successful horse archery position. The tree fits my two horses’ backs and shoulders very well, so we can train comfortably together.

Proper apparel as an advantage

In addition, I love my Fouganza competition breeches because they allow me to move with agility in the saddle for my archery positions, but they never sag or stretch out! A useful detail is the zip pocket on the right thigh - I store my thumb rings in the pocket so that I never arrive at the track without them. My thumb rings allow me to release the bowstring cleanly and protect my thumb from fatigue, but their small size means that I could misplace them without the handy pocket in the Fouganza breeches.

Mounted Archery Hilary Merrill

*Hilary wears the Horse Riding Jodhpurs Paddock 

Success at Sypniewo

Such great equipment continues to make my training fun and effective, and I felt solid and exhilarated as I stepped into the track with the talented Polish Thoroughbred mare Floryda for the first run of the Korean event in Sypniewo. With a huge grin on my face, we went on to kill the course, finishing with a personal best of 90 points and putting me in 7th place. This was an incredible placing for me among my mentors and many horse archers whom I admire.

The GP stages exhibit three events that make up HBA Eventing (modeled after 3-Day Eventing), the Korean track, Hungarian track, and the Polish track. With plenty of ups and downs across the three events of this weekend, I finished 14th place overall among 44 competitors, a very fulfilling place for where I am at in my training. Most importantly, I learned an array of finer points, from physical to psychological to emotional, that I am excited to train on when I arrive home again. Thanks for the integral support, Fouganza!


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