Waves Horseback ridingArchery Sharon

  • Issue: February 1997
  • Designer: A. Berg
  • Stamp size: 20 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 303 - 304
  • Sheet of 50 stamps Tabs: 10 (1.10 NIS) / 30 stamps Tabs: 10 (5 NIS)
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Horseback riding

It was in the Middle East that man first put horses to use. Testimony of this is found in the graves of the Egyptian Pharaohs, in sculptures and writings on ceramic shards from ancient Assyria and Shomer. In the Bible, Solomon's stables are mentioned as housing 1,000 horses, and Avshalom's death was caused by horseback riding. His long hair got tangled in the branches of the terebinth, and he was strangled.

In later periods, the horse was used in the Near East -Turkey and Greece. The earliest horse guide and training manual was written in Greek by Xenophon, and the majority of the text is still valid.

Horses were used for transport, pulling carriages, agriculture and as a swift means of communication between government institutions throughout the vast kingdom. At the same time, the horse was trained for war. The armies of Alexander the Great utilized the horse to facilitate their progress into Eastern Asia, while the Mongolian Genghis Khan used horses to carry his troops swiftly and conquer the plains of Western Asia. Thanks to the horse, Genghis Khan reached as far as the European continent. The Spaniards brought the horse to the American continent on their ships and taught the local Indians how to use it. Different breed of horses were developed in different regions, each according to the local population's specific needs. Most of the breeds were developed from the Arabian horse, known for its swiftness, temperament, intelligence and endurance. In Europe, during the Middle Ages, breeds of large horses were developed so that they could carry knights in armour. These are still the major breeds currently being developed for the sport of horseback riding. Horseback riding covers several areas:

Recently, horseback riding has been used as an extremely efficient therapy tool for invalids and disabled persons. There are over 10,000 horses and about 30,000 riders in Israel. The Israel Equestrian Federation holds about 100 professional competitions in the various categories throughout the year.


The first artefacts pointing to the use of bows and arrows date from the stone age. Flint arrowheads have been found on many archaeological sites. Bows and arrows were used both in hunting and fighting enemies. The bow is probably the first "machine", "invented" by man, enabling him to preserve energy and release it in the desired direction. The ancient Egyptians were famous archers. The bow was their major instrument of war. The Egyptian bow was slightly shorter than the average man, and the arrows measured between 60 and 80 centimeters long. Their arrowheads were generally made of bronze, although they also used flint. During the same period, the Israelites also used bows made of wood, rushes or horn for both war and pursuit.

In ancient times, archery reached its apex in Asia. Most Asian peoples were considered excellent archers, with Atilla the Hun and Gengis Khan the most famous of them.

During the Crusader period, the crossbow was developed, with a metal string and a butt similar to that used on guns. The crossbow suffered from a limited range and reloading problems.

The use of the longbow probably began later in England after it had been conquered by William the Conqueror in 1066. The length of the longbow equalled the average man's height. It was capable of shooting an arrow up to a distance of 250 meters. The longbow was actually responsible for the demise of armoured knights, since arrows shot from this weapon pierced armoured, making the knights vulnerable.

The bow has greatly influenced the outcome of many battles throughout history.

With the introduction of firearms, the bow declined in value. King Henry the VIII was known to have established groups of archers who practiced archery as a sport. The first recorded sporting competition, attended by 3,000 people, was held in Finsbury in 1583. Today, the bow serves as an instrument in the sport of archery. It has been a recognized Olympic event since the 1900 Paris Olympics. During the first stage of the competition, each contestant shoots 144 arrows. Men shoot from ranges of 90, 70, 50 and 30 meters, while women shoot from 70, 60, 50 and 30 meters (36 arrows per distance).

The 24 best archers move on to the second stage of the competition and shoot 36 arrows (9 per distance). The 18 archers with the best scores advance to the quarter finals and shoot 36 more arrows. Twelve of them advance to the semi-finals, and eight reach the finals.

The scores are not incremental and competition is separate during each stage. In the semi-final and final stages, the arrows are shot in opposite order, from the shorter distance to the longer.

The bow that appears on the stamp is the Olympic bow, the most widely used sporting bow in Israel. The Compound is another bow popular in Israel.

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