Cowboy Mounted Shooting is one of the nation's fastest growing equestrian sports, and has been described as 'equestrian NASCAR.' 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 (five 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 (five 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'while turning around a barrel and then racing to the far end of the arena'and draws the 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 the 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 15 and 25 seconds to complete.