This was a special event for me in a number of ways. It was the first time I have been to a Horse Archery event, surely a unique sport. It also was the first time to be at the Royal Hashemite Court in Amman and last not but least the first time I have been cordially invited to an event.
For the third time after 2011 and 2012, this year the Al-Faris Horse Archery Championships are hosted in Jordan. For two days 48 knights from 24 countries all over the world compete in three different styles (The European, The Asian and The Al-Ghara Style). The idea is to hit the target with your arrow while riding along. Depending on the style there are different amount of targets, different angles and other rules that apply. Also there is a time frame in which you have to hit the targets, which means you have to be fast. I am not a horseback rider and I have only tried archery once in my life but I imagine it is a really challenging sport.
After the opening ceremony with a staged fight between two armies and archers, the contestants from the different countries were introduced and the fights began. Weather was excellent. Everything was also recorded live and broadcasted onto large screens. Anyway, there were still empty seats and it was possible to get quite close to the action and my son was walking up to the front as he was very excited about the horses.
It seems to be very difficult to hit the center as not many knights managed to do so. However, the representative for Jordan must have been practicing a lot as he did very well. I guess they don’t want any blame to come upon them as the host of this event. However, the other knights did well, too. It was interesting to follow the shooters and how they collected more points the closer they hit towards the center of the target.
I do have to mention that the event was organized very well. There was a shuttle from the parking, free water, enough space and a family area that offered games, pony riding, animal petting, handicrafts and food. If there is something to point out that wasn’t good, it is unfortunately the latter. We had Mandi and Ouzi and both were far from exciting or anything that I used to know from the Arabic cuisine.
We might return for the second day to see more of the championships and different competitors. It was a really nice day out with the family. If you want to know more about the event or the sports itself, check out their website or Facebook site.