Horse equipment used for horseback archery varies a lot around the world. You will see everything used from modern English and Western saddles, to custom hand made horseback archery saddles. My first recommendation is to use what you are comfortable with and more importantly, what fits your horse! When you are starting out, I think it is best to change as little as possible with your horse’s regular routine when desensitizing it to horseback archery. After your horse is more comfortable, then you can think about switching to tack that is better suited for horseback archery. But don’t forget to practice riding in the new tack before shooting from it!
For general riding and people beginning horseback archery, I recommend a type of English saddle that allows you to sit in some kind of a modified two-point or half seat. I do not like to use Western saddles or Australian saddles because they tend to put the rider in a more “chair” like position, making it difficult for them to keep their legs under themselves and lift their body out of the saddle.
My top three saddles for horseback archery are: My horseback archery saddle made for me by Dana Hotko, McClellan Cavalry Saddle, and my jumping saddle. But there are many kinds of saddles that work well for horseback archery.
My horseback archery saddle is modeled after ancient Chinese and Mongolian type saddles. Many of the horseback archery saddles will slip to the side easily if you are not a balanced rider. So I do not recommend them for beginning riders.
This is Lajos Kassai’s Hungarian horseback archery saddle.
The McClellan is also very similar to ancient saddles, and has free flowing stirrups just like the horseback archery saddles people are making today.
Jumping saddles are designed for you to be able to ride with your bum off of the saddle with ease.
Dressage saddles are not necessarily made for two-point, but are still decent for horseback archery.
Endurance and Treeless Saddles also work well, because they have no horn and they also have free swinging stirrups. However, just like with the horseback archery saddles, they tip to the side easily. So I do not recommend them for beginning riders.
Bridles and Reins: