Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Going Medieval

Last year the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA) contacted us to see if we would have them out to hold their Cavalier Challenge, a day of equestrian games and courtly ritual. Ginger made the inital arrangements without really knowing I was a big SCA fan. We were thrilled.

So this year I reconnected with them. Last year's event was sponsored by the Boulder Barony: Caer Galen. This year the Fort Collins Barony, Unser Hafen, is interested in holding their Equestrian Championships here on August 3rd (mark your calendars!). They were also looking for a place to do their Archery championships, so it seems that we will be doubling up and doing both out here that day. The equestrian and archery coordinators for this event -- conveniently husband and wife - are coming out this afternoon to look at the lay of the land and talk some logistics.

I went to their first practice of the year a few weeks ago and I've decided to join 'em. At the practice they unveiled their brand spanking new Quintain - an obstacle that has a shield on the end of a spinning arm. It was used as a training aid for jousting. As a game, the goal is to smack the shield hard enough to get it to spin as many times as you can... without getting hit by the sand bag that hangs off the far end of the spinning arm. (Sand bag hadn't been attached yet in the pics below.)

So, since then I've been trying out some of the basic skills necessary to attempt these games. Last week I rode Bambi because Jordan was otherwise busy. Bambi did very very well and it was fun. But today I got Jordan out and he totally surpassed my expectations! We had a terrific ride. Then I snagged the mother of one of Ginger's students who was getting ready for a lesson, and had her take some video of us. You have to use your imagination quite a bit... LOL

The critical things to see are the fact that I'm riding one-handed and Jordan is neck reining very well. Second is that I'm carrying implements and he never objected to them. He did start out getting a little excited as I started swinging the crop around like a sword -- he is very familiar with crops and what they are supposed to be used for afterall! But he came to understand I wasn't winding up to wallop him good, and settled in nicely. Finally, the cantering - down one side and then STOPPING cantering, to turn around and attempt the other side of the line. With all our dressage work, of years ago, the goal was always nice long steady canters - not pickup the canter HERE, and stop HERE. I know - doesn't look like much but it felt good. Watch:

Jordan put through his paces