Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Horses at Estrella

As I mentioned in the last post, there were no battle scenarios at Estrella for the forth martial art - Equestrian. In general the equestrian group is far behind the others in terms of prevalence, participation and representation, throughout the SCA. Which is ironic, because really horses played a very large role the middle ages, so to have them segregated in modern day events is disappointing.

Obviously, there are many modern day hurdles that lead down that path: The expense and extra effort it takes to own a horse these days, for instance. Not to mention the fact that people, while excited to see horses in action and have them around, aren't particularly excited to have the 'full' experience of, say, the ever present manure. As in, in the middle of your campground or battle field. The SCA, after all, is quick to say they like to selectively recreate the middle ages.

Anyways, getting more integrated with the rest of the barrony is something I'd love to see our Equestrian Guild work on, and since I'm Guild Head this year... Something we've already done in this effort is in planning for the Equestrian Champions Tournament. Last year, at the Coursers and Quivers event, we combined equestrian with archery championships. THIS year we are combining all of the martial arts - Rapier, Heavy Fighting, Archery and Equestrian. At Sun Pony Ranch. It's going to be a fun time - August 1st, if anyone wants to put it on their calendar. We're really not sure where we are going to put all the cars... But that's just details.

So -- back to Estrella -- what Equestrian activites did they have? About a dozen people brought their horses to war. The site has an arena set up and horse pens lining it. Those with horses typcially camp over in this area, which is on one edge of the main camp ground.

The first event was really very fun - it was a Pas D'Armes.

According to Wikipedia, the Pas D'Armes was a form of martial 'game' that existed in the 14th and 15th century.

It involved a knight or group of knights (tenans) who would stake out a traveled spot, such as a bridge or city gate, and let it be known that any other knight who wished to pass (venans or "comers") must first fight, or be disgraced. If a traveling venan did not have weapons or horse to meet the challenge, one might be provided, and if the venan choose not to fight, he would leave his spurs behind as a sign of humiliation. If a lady passed unescorted, she would leave behind a glove or scarf, to be rescued and returned to her by a future knight who passed that way.

You know, the more I read about medieval knights, the more their reputations seem to resemble hoodlums, rather than the chivalric ideal popular today. *sigh*

Anyways, in the SCA the Pas D'Armes has survived as a tournament where instead of an structured competition with an elimination tree, the competitors issue challenges to each other. The goal is to entertain and impress the gallery(audience), who, in addition to being encouraged to cheer for or boo the feats they have displayed before them, they can also request specific acts to be performed. It is up to the gallery's whimsy to award points to competitors according to what ever criteria they desire, and thus declare a champion at the end.

The field of competitors were first introduced to the gallery.

Upon which challenges began to be issued. There were several obstacles set up to choose from: quintain, rings, reeds and javelin targets. Each competitor declared the events they intended to compete in, and we, the gallery, had a set of score cards to note the results of each challenge as well as bonus points along the way. Mistress Yasamiin, for instance, won bonus points right off for bringing her own herald to the event to introduce her.

Yasamiin challenges Danielle to a run at the rings.

Jacque had a fantastic pass at the quintain,

As did Yasamiin.

Lady Virginia takes a nice javelin shot.

In all we saw a lot of fun competition, and the structure of Pas makes for a wonderfully varied and participatory event.

The following two days was held a Jousting Clinic. I didn't have a horse, but audited the class intending to bring it back to conduct in our own guild. It was very helpful and I'm excited to start working on these introductory techniques. Through this process I've gotten to know our Kingdom Equestrian Officer - my direct superior in the bureaucratic organization. She lives in Las Cruses but I'm hopeful she'll be able to pay us a visit sometime this summer.



Blogger Birdie said...

I was hoping to see you on horseback! Still, this is pretty cool. Any more pictures?

3/11/09, 2:51 PM  
Blogger C├ęcile said...

Monica, This was all fascinating. i spent too much time reading and don't have any more time to comment.

3/12/09, 7:57 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

Hello Birdie and Cecile! Thanks for commenting.

Oh - no, I wasn't planning to ride. If they had had rental horses available... maybe. But really we jumped onto the Going To War bandwagon late and with little though - other than we need to go and just experience one so that perhapse we can plan to get much more involved next year.

Anyways - keeping the thought of trailering horses down there the whole week, I'm pretty much set that that is a VERY long trip and it would be arduous for us and the horses. I think instead we need to focus on traveling to more equestrian events in Colorado this year, and in doing so hopefully expanding the number and range of EQ Events here.

3/12/09, 9:08 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

And, no more pictures, unfortunately. Dave had the camera during one of the tournaments - off taking pictures of tents!

3/12/09, 9:17 AM  

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