How Horse Bows Are Made

traditional archery bows

How Horse Bows Are Made

Horse bows are archery weapons designed for use on horses that have been around since prehistoric times. Generally short recurve bows with flexible limbs, these bows have been around since ancient times in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Traditional horse bows are constructed from wooden billets glued together and then sanded and filed to achieve the desired look. A layer of horn is then applied to the back for additional strength and durability, then scraped down so it blends in with the wood below for a uniform appearance.

Horse bows can be made using several different types of horn. Water buffalo horn is the most common, but horn from other animals such as boar, elk and deer is also often employed.

The horn used in bow construction is typically robust, capable of withstanding compression and storing energy efficiently. Some horns even resist heat and fire damage.

Although horn for bows can be pricey, it can be sourced from various places. Usually, this process involves working with a specialist bowyer who will collect the horn and then take it to either a wood shop or crafter to be transformed into an appropriate component for use on a horse bow.

Once the horn has been attached to the bow, it must go through several drying and conditioning stages in order to prevent it from expanding too much or cracking under pressure from the string. This procedure can take a considerable amount of time; often taking weeks or even months.

Once the horn has dried completely, it is placed into a special box to maintain an even temperature during drying. This step is especially crucial when working with hard or soft horn. Once dry, special scrapers can be used to shape down the surface of the horn for an even union with its wooden core.

Some traditional horse bows even feature siyahs, or hard tips that rest on the back of the bow where the string is tied. When released, an arrow may touch these siyahs and give off a slight pop and boost its accuracy.

Horse bows can be a fun way to practice archery with your horse, but they are generally not recommended for hunting. This is because horses may become agitated if an arrow is shot from their back and may quickly dash away, plus, these arrows tend to be heavier than other kinds of bows and thus more challenging to control. Nonetheless, horse archery remains an enjoyable activity enjoyed by all regardless of skill level or experience level.

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