Spotlight: Valerie Doan

Mounted archery may not be the average sport. However, the amount of skill one must possess to accomplish hitting a bulls-eye, while riding on the back of a horse, is tremendous. Sophomore Valerie Doan has been practicing mounted archery since the age of 12, and horseback riding before the age of 10. Realizing her passion and talent for mounted archery, at the age of 13, Doan started participating in competitions.

“I do some professional showcases, like Yabusame in Japan or other private competitions, but mostly don’t prefer to compete. Transporting horses was too much money, so I would have to rent a horse from different stables located in the region of the competition. The problem is that I prefer to ride my own horse, rather than a rented one,” said Doan.

Disliking competitions, Doan started to transition her time into coaching. While coaching at the Black Mountain Archery Club, Doan teaches others how to perfect different types of bows, while riding on a horse.

“With mounted archery, the students usually have their own horse and location. I just come to teach them how to apply archery to horseback riding,” said Doan.

A few years back, Doan’s instructor informed her about the Yabusame demonstrations (mounted archery), causing Doan to feel in her element. Ever since then, she started doing different styles of mounted archery, after perfecting her technique with different types of bows.

“Unlike most sports where there’s a competitor or an enemy team, there’s no worry of who wins or who doesn’t, so there isn’t that constant stress to be better than another. The adrenaline makes you forget about everything,” said Doan.