GETTING STARTED
IN
MOUNTED SHOOTING
Raw Horsepower...Hard Ridin'...Straight Shootin'
"YOU CAN SHOOT OFF ANY HORSE ONCE!"

Of course we can't guarantee that you will get a chance to do it again!  While this is a favorite joke among Mounted Shooters, it is definitely NOT the way to try Mounted Shooting with your horse.  You are likely to get hurt and set up a fear response in your horse that could take months to re-train. 

There are many roads to a successful start in this sport.  The best first step is to attend an event in your area, talk to the shooters and ask a lot of questions.  We love to talk about our sport and you will get plenty of advice, information and support.

Attending a clinic with your horse is a great place to start.  Your horse can be around gunfire, but with the security of non-reactive finished shooting horses to keep them calm.  Use that "herd-mentality" to your advantage, they will feed off the calm energy of other horses.  We will post here and on Facebook when we offer clinics or demonstrations.

We also have the benefit of many great trainers on the East Coast.  Get in touch with us and we can put you in touch with several trainers you can interview.  They will train your horse for you, or help you find the right finished shooting horse to get you started.  Shooting off a trained and confident shooting horse is a great benefit to a beginner.  You have so much to think about yourself, it's great not to have to worry about your horse!

MOUNTED SHOOTING BASIC RULES AND GUIDELINES

On our Forms and Documents page you can view the full CMSA Rules for Mounted Shooting
or you can visit the CMSA website.

A Brief Overview

Mounted shooters ride one of 60+ courses of fire.  You must follow the course properly and shoot 5 balloons of one color, change guns and shoot the remaining 5 balloons.  This is a timed sport, fastest time wins.  There are penalties for missing balloons, knocking over barrels, and failure to follow a course of fire.  There are also prescribed dress codes for men and women and penalties are assessed for failure to follow the dress code.

We use single action .45 caliber pistols.  Each gun has 5 rounds of special Mounted Shooting blanks.  The ammunition is filled with black powder which has a range of 12-15 feet to pop balloons.  There are no projectiles in the ammunition.  Shooters use two holsters for their guns, and must make a gun change half way through the course, usually while rounding the "rundown" barrel. 

We use Range Masters to ensure the safety of riders, balloons setters and spectators.  The Range Master also determines if any penalties are assessed to a rider.

Riders compete in classes ranging from 1-6.  These classes are gender split and we offer senior classes for those over 50.  Everyone begins as a level one and by winning competitions against a certain number of riders in your class, you progress through the levels. We also offer Wrangler classes for kids under 12.  This is truly a family sport.  Children can compete at any age...even being led through the course on a lead line by a parent.   We have senior riders in their 80's.  So no excuses!  There is something for everyone at every age! 

All breeds of equine are eligible to participate.  The AQHA recognizes Mounted Shooting and offers AQHA sanctioned shoots throughout the country which allow you and your horse to earn points and attend the AQHA Worlds in Houston, TX in March of each year.  The APHA also offers sanctioned shoots at some CMSA events, allowing you to earn special recognition for your Paint Horse.