Last summer I was Googleing random horse pictures and came across some neat pictures of riders shooting on horse back. Naturally I try to learn everything that I can about horses and I came across the really amazing sport called Cowboy Mounted Shooting (CMS). I found that it seams to be a rather unpopular, but a quickly growing sport. So I thought you all might like to learn a little bit more about it.
In CMS an arena is set up with any one of the 50+ patterns approved by the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association. The patterns each consist of 10 balloons. The balloons are on upright poles, similar to pole bending poles just not as tall. Each contestant is given 10 movie blanks, which shoot burning embers that look like a gunshot, but with no bullet. These blanks are placed in their own two traditional single action revolvers or if you prefer a double barrel shotgun or rifle.
An important rule is that you can only use one hand to shoot. The challenge with movie blanks is that you must get very close to hit the balloon with the burning embers, but far enough away that it won’t compromise your speed. All blanks are certified to not break balloons from more than 20ft away. The goal simply is to pop all balloons in the fastest time possible.
There is a five second penalty for any balloon missed and also five seconds for a dropped gun. A ten second penalty is added for running the course incorrectly and you get penalized sixty seconds if you fall off your horse.
For CMS you need a calm, smart, obedient horse. You also want a quick, agile horse that responds quickly to rein queues. The horse needs to be calm around gunfire, balloons and popping balloons. A good way to accustom a horse to gunfire is to start with a child’s cap gun.
The guns used must be .45 single action revolvers. Single action means that there is a hammer to pull back before you can pull the trigger to fire. You’ll need two of these six shot pistols. There are three popular barrel lengths, 3 ½ inch, 4 ¾ inch and 5 ½ inch. Occasionally people use 7 ½ inch barrels, but most find them heavy and clumsy.
There are many options when looking to carry your pistols. You can holster your pistols around your waist or on your saddle. Some shooters carry one on their saddle and one on their waist. You have to be able to take your pistols out quick as well as return them to the holsters, unless you want to leave them in the sand of the arena (not suggested). You can use strong side belt holster or cross draw holsters. Some shooters wear two side belt holsters in the front for easier access.
Traditional western tack is required. Absolutely no synthetic tack is allowed.
Traditional western or time period clothing is required. Traditional western clothing is simply a long sleeved shirt, 5 pocket jeans, chaps, and a cowboy hat. Time period (usually 1800s to early 1900s is acceptable) clothing can be high rise pants (buttons, no zippers) or long skirt, leather vest, chaps, a cowboy hat and any other doohickeys to make your outfit look authentic.
Most riders come up with an alias to ride under. Two Gun Dana and Morning Dove are two names that I came accross in my research. Some people model themselves after people such as Annie Okley or Roy Rogers, they then try to finding clothes and accossories pertaining to their character weather made up or modeled after a famous shooter.
If you’re interested in this fast growing equestrian sport look for local CMS clubs in your area.
I've been horse crazy for as long as my parents can remember. I used to love going to shows to watch all the pretty horses, which sadly for them, lead to a new dream of not only working with, but owning a horse and eventually show ...
The stimulation of pressure points is an exact science and unless the halter is tied on obscenely tight that it hits the correct pressure points any time there is pressure on the halter it doesn’t work. The knots do however create ...
I love writing articles on controversial methods in the horse world, not to start arguments, but to make people think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. To start my series I wrote an article on Slant Load vs. Str ...
One of the most believed myths in the horse world is that blanketing a horse during the winter will actually keep your horse from growing a winter coat. Blanketing your horse earlier or keeping it in a heated barn has virtually no ...
I've had a rough week. This past Saturday the horse that taught me to ride had to be put down.
My first encounter with Snowball started at a small theraputic riding stable years before I started working there. A man donated th ...
Three years ago I started public school, if it wasn’t for them I would have never made it through. Late last fall my parents were separated and I would have never made it through that period if I didn’t have them. These horses are ...
A fictional story my mother wrote for me based on my work with theraputic riding and my first horse Freckles.
He steps forward. The muscles tense and bulge under the tight skin. His compact powerful legs have propelled him ov ...
Two weeks ago I heard a lot of crying, and a lot of whispering. But I never saw what anyone and no one ever came to feed me, or give me water. I peered through the bars into the stall next to me. Maze was looking worse. She was ly ...