I would like to get to the point where I can shoot coyotes from the back of my gelding. Once the crops come out it is not uncommon for me to ride up 2-3 yotes a day on my training grounds.
From a hunting standpoint, I call that lucky. From a landowner standpoint, you have a problem. :)
My weapons of choice would be a 22mag, a .30carbine, or a 20g a shotgun.
I'm just getting into coyote hunting, but I seem to think .22 may be too small.
Since the horse I have chosen for this project is good with shots from around him with me in the saddle and while staked out. I have had folks tell me to just climb on his back and fire the blank pistol..... this seems like a trip to the ER in the making.
If the horse is already good with shots being fired around him, he _may_ be ready for a shot from the saddle. Hard to tell without being there.
Of course, you don't have to start with a full round or any round at all. Dry fire for a while from the saddle and see how the horse reacts. Then you can graduate to primer only loads.
I highly suggest using only blanks in the training process. You do not want to have any kind of live round until your horse is 100%.
My thought is to start slow with him on a lead rope and shoot a few shells from the starter pistol, then the 22mag then to 20ga, then to move beside him to the saddle area and do the same, then to lean over his back, then eventually into the saddle with someone else holding him.
That could work. You might also hold him on the lead rope and have someone fire the blanks from a distance. Practice that and then move closer. When working with a .22 starter pistol you can also use the "nail gun" loads from a place like Home Depot. They are not only cheap, but they come in different strengths so you can work up to full volume.
On caution about firing a gun while holing a lead rope. With a lead rope you are typically out in front of the horse. A pistol/starter pistol makes a big "flash" in addition to the noise. When firing in front of the horse - especially at lead rope distance - you can really freak out a horse with the flash. I would avoid shooting directly in front of the horse.
Do y'all give any command/warning before you shoot to let your horse know whats coming? Obviously I will want to concentrate my shots to 90* of my horses head to limit the percussion.
I have never heard of a command/warning. Mounted shooters use single action pistols. Most know what is coming when they see the gun extended off their side. If that doesn't give it away, every horse knows exactly what is coming when they hear the click of the hammer being cocked.
Mounted shooting is done on a course, and the horse figures out the game quickly. Even when dong shotgun competition, the horse sees the balloons coming up and knows what to do. Hunting is a different game. You will probably be very quiet to avoid altering the game. Thus, the shot will come as a surprise. Just about any horse will flinch under those conditions. At matches, most horses will flinch at the first shot of the day or the first shot after a break.
Frankly, I am not too sure it is a very good idea hunting from the saddle with a long gun. You will be focused on the game and have both hands on the gun. A lot can go wrong, even with a seasoned horse.
I have seen people (with a trained horse) shoot their horse (with a blank) because the horse acted up. Had it been a live round, the horse would be dead. I have seen things go wrong with experienced riders that would have resulted in serious injury or death had live rounds been in the pistol.
Most folks I have spoken to about this recommend dismounting before shooting. Many will use the horse as a platform, shooting across the horse's back.
Sorry if this is beating a dead horse, but Im trying to figure out where im at with all of this.
Mounted shooting was originally started by some SASS folks. Being cowboy shooters, they set up regular SASS targets and shot live rounds from horseback. Very quickly they realized it was a bad idea. A horse is not a stable shooting platform. It wasn't until someone thought of blanks (with a maximum range of 20ft) that the sport was really born.