Most mounted archery is done on straight track, with the exception of open field courses. The standard track is 90 meters long, although if you have the space for it I reccomend installing 150 meters. If you are short on space you can install a 60 meter track for practice.
Now, why would you want to install a mounted archery track? Mounted Archery is the fastest growing equestrian sport. Whether you are a facility owner, a club, or a mounted archer, a track is a useful thing to have available. For facilities, a track can be rented out for use by local clubs, clinics and for National Ranking competitions. For individuals and clubs, a track is where you practice, hold gradings, postal matches and can host your own competitions!
In this post we will be focusing on straight tracks as Hunt tracks are much more complex and deserve their own post!
The first step to building a track is making sure you have the space. You will need 140 meters, or 500 feet of flat space in a straight line that's not disrupted by trees, buildings, streams, fences etc. One side should face away from buildings, roads, side walks etc and should have at least 150 of space behind it. If you can position your track at the bottom of a hillside that's ideal as it creates a great backdrop for arrows.
The next step is to make sure you have the funds. An archery track can be done cheaply without proper footing, but it will not be as safe or desirable and will be unusable based on weather.
You need to account for:
Landscape equipment rental
Foundation material like 3/4 gravel
Footing like sand
Plastic barrier posts
Depending on whether you are connected to a club or want permement features you may also need to account for:
Tower target stand
The next step is to plot put your track.
What you will need:
Rolling measureing stick or 500 ft measuring tape
500+ feet of string.
As said before, the ideal spot should be well away from foot traffic, roads and buildings and the best tracks are set against hillsides. You can also create an artificial berm with landmoving equipment.
Before we measure you need to decide whether your run outs will curve or be straight. The run out of your track is the first 25 meters that the horse uses to pick up speed. Theres are a couple rules about this but dont worry we will break them down. Let's say you have a 90 meter track. This 90 meters is what is actually timed and where the archer shoots. The horse is running very fast on the track sometimes 25 mph so they need space to speed up and especially slow down. Both sides of the track, the start and the finish are exactly the same. The first 20 meters of your track can be curved. This helps if you don't have quite enough space and if you like to get your horse on the correct lead for the canter. The last 5 meters of the run in is straight with the track. That way you can focus on getting ready to shoot and not getting your balance on a curve. When you finish riding the 90 meters, the first 5 meters of the run OUT is straight and the last 20 meters can curve. If you're confused about this, don't worry there's a diagram picture attached you can reference!
If you do want a curved track you just need to make sure the curve isn't too tight for horses and riders. If you imagine the run in and outs are the outside edge of part of a circle, that circle should an inside radius of at least 10 meters. Well talk more about measuring that out later.
With your measuring tape, mark out the beginning on your track. Now measure 6 1/2 feet to the side and mark this with a stake. (Trust me. Youll thank me later.)
Now take your measuring take and measure from stake 1 straight out 90 meters (295.276 feet.) If you want to make a longer track you will measure out further. 110 meters (360.892) or 150 (492.126) (Remember every track must have an extra 25 meters (82.021 feet) on both ends, but we will measure that later.
When you reach the end of your track mark that as well with a stake. Now you should have three corners of your track staked. Measure 6 1/2 feet out from stake 3. Now you should have 4 corners of your track marked out. You can make your track wider or thinner, but 6 1/2 is what many archers prefer.
Now you will take your string and tie it to stake 4. Leave at least 16 feet extra to use later. Walk your string down and tie it to stake 2. Leave 16 feet extra.
Take another string and tie it to stake 1. Leave 16 feet extra. Walk down and tie the other end to stake 3. Leave 16 feet