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Luna Tierra 

At Luna Tierra, it’s funny, I feel like the “tierra” - the earth of it - the physical manifestation of it is a manifestation of her philosophy in such a cool way. It’s built so that the horses are happy. It has a lot of fluidity in its layout, in her choices for the types of stalls the horses have, the daily routine. I really appreciate that a lot. The way that she encourages the horses to interact really plays into my philosophy too. I’m really hoping to build a horse archery track out in the back that we can use in the summertime, during the dry months. And to be able to hold lessons here in the covered arena, rain or shine, which is amazing. So I’m hoping we can have some workshops this coming summer and integrate the horsemanship that Annie’s so great at, with some archery too, to help develop some more clientele that have our philosophy as well.

Hilary Merrill

Horseback Archery Instructor / Horse Trainer / Leatherworker

My career with horses began with a city streets pony ride when I was five. It developed from there into hunter/jumper, and three-day eventing. I took a little break for college but then got back into it, and really dove into horsemanship and horse archery.

 

On Horse Archery

Horse archery is a new sport. It’s burgeoning - catching on like wildfire all around the world. It involves shooting targets from a moving horse. In competition, you have to be in a canter, so you’re riding reinless, you’re using your seat and your legs to work with your horse, using voice cues. It takes a ton of trust from the horse, which is why the horsemanship is so important. It’s new so there are a lot of directions it can go in. That’s the exciting part about it. It’s exciting to be a part of that process.

 

How her work as a horse archer affects her coaching and teaching

My involvement in horse archery has affected my teaching in terms of making a better communication system with the horse - trying to learn the language of the horse better so it’s smoother and more consistent. And that goes back to pressure release horsemanship. Getting away from using your hands with the horse too so you can have more of a natural relationship that’s more conducive to a happy horse. It’s funny how practicing horse archery brings you back around into using that same philosophy in a lot of other disciplines too. I have students who will come to me as dressage riders wanting to learn horse archery and then they go back to dressage with those beautiful capabilities. It’s great.

Relationship with Annie

I met Annie through some of my previous experiences working at other barns and competitions. Her focus is horsemanship and communication with the horse. We found that we have a very similar philosophy that I  can appreciate and I know I can learn a lot from her too. That’s been really intriguing, learn and work together. 

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