From the ideas and dreams that come to you late at night, the name “Middernag Gedagtes” was with a vision to become experts in Falconry and Horseback archery. What started as a dream in 2014, to revive the heritage sport of falconry and horseback archery is now available to anyone interested in learning the basics of this sport.
ABOUT OUR FACILITIES
We are based in Plot 68, no 9 Bart Street, Laezonia just outside Centurion in Pretoria.
We have 3 self-care** cottages available for stay-over during a training weekend.
There are 9 stables for our endurance/horseback archery horses and 4 mews for the hawks.
The dressage arena doubles as a flying space for the Hawks during training
** “Bed and Breakfast” indicates that breakfast is provided. In this case, you may indicate a dry breakfast consisting of yoghurt, cereal, a small container of milk, and dried fruit. In the case of self-care, the guest supplies all food. You may indicate a coffee station. (consisting of a kettle, pre-packed instant coffee, tea, small pre-packed milk and pre-packed sugar, canderel and/or rusks. Ouma rusks supply an individual pre-packed rusk.)
ABOUT HORSEBACK ARCHERY
Horseback archery is mostly shooting a traditional bow while riding a horse. Through many ages and thousands of years, mankind has developed and used horseback archery very effectively in war. The Mongolians, Hungarians, Turk man tribes, Koreans, Russian Cossack and many others, each developed a target style set up to suit their own combat or attack requirements. Re-created today into a structured modern type of martial art sport, it can be enjoyed by all ages. Our main archery track is a 130 m Hungarian style, set up with a rotating target. This gives the rider one focus point, and the body needs to turn and follow the target from a front shot all the way to a back shot. With this style, the aim is to canter as slowly as possible, which takes more balance, and to follow the target with the shoulder line and to shoot as many arrows as possible. This helps to set the foundation and basic horseback archery principles of the sport. There are faster styles but it does not create such a solid foundation as the Hungarian archery style. We also have a 220 m Track at the Rosefield Polo Club in Doornrandjies, Pretoria, where we have hosted local and international competitions on various styles and disciplines. In January 2023 we assisted in hosting the WHAF world cup qualifier and 12 international countries were represented.
WHAT WE OFFER FOR HORSEBACK ARCHERS
BASIC ARCHERY LESSONS
We offer introductory archery lessons with ground shooting to establish technique before getting on the horse. We cover various drawing techniques that are required in horseback archery, as well as bow set-up, types of quivers, types of arrows and how to hold arrows while riding. We offer horseback archery lessons in the Hungarian style. Also, competition preparation, training days as well as clinics. We do not offer basic horse-riding lessons and it is assumed that any person who would like to enter the sport can already ride and canter the horse. For more time in the saddle and to build better confidence we would like to recommend long-distance riding experiences like endurance riding. For more info on endurance riding, please visit: www.premierequestrainclub.co.za Apart from the training, we offer custom-made bows, arrows, and quivers.
Our school for falconry is running in partnership with East Coast Falconry.
We started in 2017 with East Coast Falconry as our first instruction course and now 2023 will be open to the public for bookings. Falconry is a very time-consuming sport that requires constant dedication and devotion to keep and properly maintain a flying bird. This sport is not for everybody, but if you feel that you would like to know the basics of falconry and see if you have the time and patience to care for a bird, we offer a weekend introduction course.
NOTE: We do not teach you to hunt with the bird, but what it takes to properly take care of a bird and possibly assist you in pursuing the sport of falconry.
ABOUT OUR BIRDS
We mainly use self-bred, Harris hawks for our introduction training program.
The Harris hawk is a very forgiving bird and will tolerate small mistakes from the beginner. Currently, we have 5 adult birds available, and we can handle 10 people on one course.
WHAT WE OFFER FOR FALCONRY
We offer a weekend introduction training program to the basics of falconry. This will give any enthusiast the opportunity to get a full understanding of what it takes to be a falconer and to take care of a bird.
The course covers the following:
* Introduction to Falconry
* Introduction to basic equipment
* Types of falconry birds
* Making/creating anklets, jesses
* Manning a bird
* Pick up and Approach.
* Carry and handle the bird
* Weighing a bird
* Documenting the bird’s weight and behaviour
* Feeding and food preparation
* Weekly feeding planning
* Flying the bird
* How to cope the beak
* How to imp ( repair ) a broken feather
* How to identify and treat a sick bird
The course runs from a Friday Afternoon, until Sunday afternoon.
All the required equipment can be bought from www.eascoastfalconry.co.za
MEET THE MIDDERNAG GEDAGTES TEAM
Johan du Toit
Johan is also the founder and owner of Middernag Gedagtes School for Falconry and Horseback archery and the name was inspired by his own dreams.
He started horse riding at the age of 40 years young and his dream was to do long-distance riding and to become a proficient horseback archer.
He has completed close to 5000 endurance kilometres Have completed 4 x Fauresmith 200 km endurance rides.
After a shoulder reconstruction surgery in 2017 (from using the wrong archery techniques and
equipment) Johan has competed locally and internationally in the following countries:
• Iran 2018, 2019 and 2021,
• Kazakhstan 2018,
• Russia 2019
• Mongolia 2019
• Turkey 2022
He assisted in the drafting of the first IHAA online judges’ course and is also a current IHAA level 2 judge.
Currently, he holds an IHAA horse archer 4 Grading.
Johan has been an active falconer working with Harris Hawks since 2018.
Jethro is a full-time groom, endurance rider, horseback archer and falconer and has done so for the past 7 years. His core function is to maintain and train all our horses for endurance riding and horseback archery.
He has completed 1 x Fauresmith 200 km endurance ride and has groomed and supported on 5 additional ones.
Jethro has completed thousands of kilometres of horse riding and has competed in various horseback archery competitions including the WHAF World Cup Qualifier in Jan 2023.
He has worked with untrained horses and birds to a point where both are people-friendly and safe to handle. His calm confident approach to working with animals makes him one of our most valuable assets in the team.
Age : 17 years
Breed: Arab cross boerperd
Shadow is our oldest, wisest, and most experienced endurance horse and archery companion. He always put the safety of the rider first weather you are old or young.
He has completed close to 4500 endurance kilometres and has completed 3 x Fauresmith
200 km endurance rides. This horse will teach you about patience.
He is also the MAASA national champion 2019 with Daniel Griffin.
Age: 13 years
Breed: Arab cross boerperd
Nisr is the half-brother of Shadow and always wants to please his riders. Female riders are his favourite. He has completed close to 1,500 endurance kilometres and competed in various horseback archery tournaments.
In WHAF World Cup qualifier 2023 South Africa, Nisr gave two riders more podium positions than any other horse.
Age: 15 years
Lynx is a white-socked chestnut that loves to run. He has completed close to 3000 endurance kilometres and has also completed 2 x Fauresmith 200km.
On the endurance track, he will teach the rider about patience.
He is very fast and needs an experienced rider.
Age: 12 years
Swayze is has completed close to 2500 km endurance rides with various child riders and has competed in various horseback archery tournaments including the WHAF 2023 World cup qualifier.
He has also completed his second Fauresmith 200km.
He is a gentle hard-working boy that can do both slow and fast disciplines. Perfect horse for novice riders.
Age: 12 years
Raman is a true champion. He can do both endurance and horseback archery and has completed multiple competitions.
After breaking his left knee in 2020 the vet wanted to put him down. He has since then made a full recovery and is competing in horseback archery. He needs an experienced rider.
Maalik Al Fars Ejaz
Age: 8 years
Breed: Arab (Straight Egyptian)
Ejaz is also the half-brother of Raman. He has completed his novice endurance ride phase and is considered ready to compete.
Ejaz has done various horseback archery competitions including the WHAF 2023 World Cup qualifier.
He is a gentle you boy who will first test the rider but is also very keen to please.
Saluki is a dream in the making. He is the first foal of my first endurance mare. We’ve been blessed to watch him grow into the most promising endurance and horseback archery prospect.
He has completed his endurance novice phase and can now start competing. He has also helped me get to my first H5 grading on both the tower and raid tracks.
Keen to work and keen to please.