Cowgirls, Horses, And Guns: Are You Up For The Challenge?


Cowgirl - GunsPC: John Carrel

It takes speed, accuracy, a great shot, and a willing horse! The CMSA (Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association) allows members from all ages, experience levels, and genders. If you like horses, guns, and a wildly fun challenge, than you might be the perfect candidate for this equestrian sport. Find out what it takes to be a competitor!

Riders use two .45 caliber single action revolvers during their class. They are similar to those used in the late 1800s. Five rounds of blank ammunition, specially designed for contestants, is all that is allowed. When fired, the black powder can pop a balloon up to about a 15 foot distance. Cowgirls store their guns in a belt and holster that is either custom made or an off-the-shelf replica.

A willing horse is just as important as your ability to handle the revolvers. There isn’t any limitations on the breed, gender, or age of your partner. Some find that certain horses and mules take better to the sport than others. It is your job to train your horse to turn, go fast, and handle gun shots. Ear plugs for both horse and rider can be utilized.

Traditional western style or attire from the late 1800s is required of both women and men. This can include a western hat, cowboy boots, jeans, and a long sleeve western shirt. Try to look as authentic as possible.

The women’s division has classes from one to six. Riders start at Class 1 and must have four victories before moving onto Class 2. It continues as such up the levels/classes. Accuracy and speed are both judged during competition. A typical pattern can be completed in as little as 15 to 35 seconds. Riders will acquire penalties for time, missing a shot, dropping a gun, and falling off their horse.

Check out the CMSA website: for information on joining, calendar of events, and extra tidbits on this exciting sport. Who doesn’t like the thrill of horses and guns?

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