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Horseback Archery Adventure in Bulgaria

A spiritual journey in the footsteps of ancient warriors among lush forests and towering mountains, based on the practices of the Hungarian horseback archery Master Lajos Kassai.

Key information

  • Rider Weight Limit: 209 pounds / 95 kilograms
  • Horse Height Range: 15 to 16 hands
  • Tack Type: Rope halter
  • Saddles: English and traditional nomadic saddles
  • Horse Breed: Arabs and East-Bulgarian breed

Meet the instructors

Vladimir & Panajot
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Highlights

  • 5 days of horse riding and archery practice
  • Horseback archery training
  • Scenic trail rides in the mountain
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • Daily meals
  • Airport transfers

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


5 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Bulgarian, Russian
Group size: Maximum of 6 participants
Airport transfer included: Sofia Airport
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Accommodation

Facilities

  • Barbeque facilities
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Meditation garden
  • Multilingual staff
  • Picnic area
  • Free Wi-Fi

Тhe Yurt

You will reside in authentic Mongolian yurts (also called “Gers”), circular domed tents made of felt and skins stretched over a collapsible lattice framework. Yurts are heated and furnished with simple beds, tables, and light, and beautifully decorated with rugs, skins, and nomadic art. They fit up to six people, sharing space nomadic style. They are used by nomads in the steppes of central Asia and are very comfortable dwellings. The lack of any solid walls or straight angles creates a space of positive energy and a feeling of unity and comfort.

The circular form of the yurt is a reflection of the natural world around you: sun, earth, moon, and their circular movements in space. Looking up in the center of the roof is a beautiful round sun symbol carved out of wood, above which the outside covering can be taken away to let in the air. On clear nights, you can lay in your bed looking up at the many stars in the still-dark night skies of the West Bulgarian mountains they call home.

Тhe Guest Lounge

Nearby, there is a cozy wooden lodge featuring a modern rustic kitchen, a bathroom with a toilet and shower, and a spacious living room adorned with a large wooden dining table and a wood stove for those chilly, cozy evenings. All of the water is sourced from the pristine mountain and is not only perfectly drinkable but also exceptionally refreshing. Additional beverages can be found in the fridge. Some local and some not.

Program

About the program

Prior riding experience is not mandatory. Having some basic riding skills is beneficial to help you achieve the best results on the archery track. "The Way of the Horse and Bow" teaches according to your skill level, for a positive and enjoyable learning experience. If you have any concerns, let them know and they will be happy to guide you.

This program is flexible and depends on factors like the weather conditions and the skill and comfort level of all participants. It is not mandatory to perform exercises you are not comfortable with.

Archery

The archery training is based on the system developed by the Hungarian horseback-archery master, Lajos Kassai and has specific stages of perfection that you can practice at "The Way of the Horse and Bow".

In these six days, you will be learning the following archery skills:

  • Getting familiar with archery-specific equipment
  • Basic safety protocols for rider and horse
  • The specific forms for horseback archery
  • Shooting in three phases
  • Shooting in three directions: forwards, sideways, and backward
  • Fast reloading
  • Shooting while holding multiple arrows

Riding and horsemanship

Riding and horsemanship training are based on the "Be With Me" holistic horsemanship approach, developed by Vladimir Mustakerski. It focuses on personal development and self-awareness. This, coupled with an understanding of equine psychology and physiology, grows the horse's innate willingness to forge a connection with humans.

In these six days, you will be learning the following riding skills:

  • Riding with your own body's balance (without the use of rain)
  • Riding in all gaits - walk, trot, and canter
  • Learning how to use the upper body independently when riding, with the aid of bows, drums, and flags
  • Bareback riding to improve your balance
  • Basic principles of the "Be With Me" approach - understanding the horse behavior and physique, ground work exercises, etc.

Daily Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival at Lopushnya village, located 40 kilometers from Sofia in the valley of “The Way of the Horse and Bow”
  • Settle in your authentic Mongolian yurt and begin your five-day adventure
  • Lunch
  • Meet the horses and go on a scenic trail ride in the mountains
  • Introduction to archery
  • Dinner

Day 2

  • Breakfast
  • Groundwork with the horses: learn how to communicate with them naturally through the “Be with Me” system
  • Riding in the arena: practice guiding the horse with just your body by doing various exercises
  • Lunch
  • Free time
  • Afternoon archery practice: learn about “three phases shooting”; practice shooting in sideways, forward, and backward positions; and get to know the basics of quick reloading
  • Dinner

Day 3

  • Breakfast
  • Get introduced to archery forms: focus on exercises similar to “katas”
  • Bareback riding in the arena: balance and confidence exercises on horseback and fighting with foam swords
  • Lunch
  • Archery practice: focus on fast shooting and reloading
  • Dinner

Day 4

  • Breakfast
  • Two hours of dynamic archery
  • Lunch
  • Free time
  • Afternoon training on the horseback archery track: walk, trot, canter; shooting three arrows; forward, sideways, backward
  • Dinner
  • Camping evening around the campfire

Day 5

  • Breakfast
  • Practise аrchery with a focus on individual questions and personal feedback
  • Lunch
  • Free time
  • Small horseback archery competition: progress evaluation and feedback session
  • Farewell party

Day 6

  • Breakfast
  • Depart to Sofia

Keep in mind that the schedule may vary due to weather and other conditions

Philosophy

The Way of the Horse and Bow strives to offer a natural and gentle environment to practice riding and horseback archery. Their horses are a part of the family - their well-being both mentally and physically is the top priority. This is why in horseback archery, they focus on human-to-horse connection and collaboration through the “Be With Me” holistic approach. The valley is home to a total of 19 horses - Arabians, East Bulgarian and some others.

Their preferred tack consists of rope halters and traditional nomadic archery saddles. They provide for guests who prefer an English saddle as well. They also conduct balance training by riding without a saddle or testing your riding skills without using your hands. They welcome participants with their horses. You can also join their clinics led by Vladimir Mustakerski. Just send an inquiry to ensure they have the necessary arrangements for your horse.

Instructors

Vladimir Mustakerski

Panajot Mustakerski

Location

The holiday will take place in Lopushnya, Sofia Province, Bulgaria.

Food

Included in the price are three traditional home-cooked meals a day and soft drinks. "The Way of the Horse and Bow" offers vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian options. To ensure they meet your needs, please inform them of your dietary requirements in advance. If you have any other specific requests, please send an inquiry and they will do their best to arrange a delightful dining experience tailored just for you.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Pescatarian
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 5 days of horse riding
  • All training sessions
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks
  • Archery equipment
  • Transport from and to Sofia Airport

What's not included

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Insurance policies
  • Flights
  • Vegan meals (150 USD)

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Sofia Airport Airport transfer included: Sofia Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
6 days / 5 nights
from --
Early bird discount

There is an early bird discount available of 10% per person if you book or reserve 4 months or more before your chosen arrival date.

Saturday September 28, 2024
(6 days / 5 nights)

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