Cowboy mounted shooting is one of the nation's fastest growing equestrian
sports. Mounted contestants compete in this fast action timed event using two
.45 caliber single action revolvers each loaded with five rounds of specially
prepared blank ammunition. Courses of fire are set in a variety of patterns.
The first half (5 targets) of a course of fire will vary with each go and
requires the horse and rider to stop, turn, change leads and accelerate
rapidly. The second half (5 targets), called the "run down", is a
straight course with targets set at 36 foot intervals.
Typically, a competitor crosses the timing beam at a full gallop and
engages the first pattern of five targets. After a shooter fires the fifth
shot, he or she returns the empty revolver to a holster and proceeds to and
turns around a barrel and then races to the far end of the arena while drawing
a second revolver. At the far end the horse and rider turn another barrel and
then engage the five remaining targets of the run down at full speed. Scoring
is based on elapsed time plus a five second penalty for each target missed or
barrel knocked over. An average course of fire normally takes a contestant
between 30 and 35 seconds to complete.