Article from NRA Family Insights, originally published on WeShoot2, a blog supporting women who shoot.
There can be a lot of things to remember when shooting for the first time or when someone is new to shooting. The article Ten Things My Horse Taught Me About Shooting is a great intro for someone who has recently began shooting.
1. You get what you pay for. The old saying “You get what you pay for” is absolutely true. I once got a “great deal” on a water bottle for trail riding. It seemed handy, hooked over the horn of my western saddle and then secured around the fender. Sounds great, right? Well the first time we used it was when my husband (not exactly an equestrian) took my horse on a Poker Run with some friends of mine. It was all good, until my horse started spinning and bucking. Seems the nylon strap that hooked the water bottle over the horn came undone causing the full water bottle to drop onto my horses shoulder, spooking him as it banged into him every time he moved.
Now imagine getting a “great deal” on a cheap holster. Is securing your weapon something you REALLY want to skimp on? Cheap, Chinese plastic may look like a good deal, but if it cracks and breaks while you’re using it, the last thing you need is to have your weapon unsecured or worse yet, fall. While there are plenty of good deals to be had on quality holsters, know what you’re buying, and buy the best quality that you can afford (preferably American made!)
2. Breath. Yes, breathing is important in both equestrian activities and shooting. When I’m on my horse and I get nervous, I sing. I’m a terrible singer, but singing keeps me breathing.
Target shooters know that breathing is key! It is recommended that you take your shot at the end of an exhale to keep things consistent. If you’re having consistency problems, try to remember to take notice of your breathing, and let the shot go when fully exhaled!
3. Keep it clean. Routine maintenance is important. You can’t just show up at the barn, take the horse out of his stall and go for a ride. Keeping a healthy and happy horse means spending a lot of time not riding! Grooming, bathing, and cleaning parts that we don’t even want to discuss here are all part of horse ownership. Is it glamorous, no. Necessary? Absolutely! Maintenance of your firearm is just as important. Routine and regular cleaning is a necessary part of ownership. At basic minimum, you need to know how to field strip your firearm and clean it. Regularly. A clean firearm is more likely to perform better. A bore snake in my range bag and a small bottle of Hoppes #9 allows me to give my favorite firearm a quick once-over before I leave the range. Later, when time permits, I can strip my pistol down and give him a proper and thorough cleaning.
Read more the rest of the 10 Things Horses Can Teach You about Shooting.