Activities within the Kingdom of An Tir
by - THL Catelin
Spenser, EM - An Tir
So, you’ve got a horse, or an inkling
towards the horses and you’d like to know if there’s a niche for you?
The following information is taken
from the Kingdom of An Tir’s Equestrian Handbook and outlines some of the
basic information needed to take part in horse activities in the SCA.
Horses have been a part of the SCA
for more than 25 years. Equestrian activities occur in every kingdom of
the Known World. Although their numbers are small in comparison to other
martial activities, SCA equestrians are dedicated to their sport and most
willing to assist an individual in getting started.
Equestrian activities take place
in a variety of forms and venues: Martial Games and contests, Non-martial
games and contests, and non-competitive events to include, training sessions,
quests, trails rides and camping events. A martial competitive event is
an event where one or more of the competitive games involves skill-at-arms
in conjunction with horsemanship. A non-martial competition event is an
event where none of the games involves skills-at-arms.
Equestrian activities within the
SCA endeavor to recreate the equestrian pursuits of the Middle Ages.
The Equestrian Handbook outlines
information on the following recognized activities:
As with any martial activity within
the SCA, equestrian events are governed by marshals. These marshals report
to their kingdom Equestrian Affairs Officer, who in turn reports to the
Society Equestrian Officer. The Society officer is the liaison between
the equestrians of the Known World and the corporate structure of the SCA.
- A classic display of accuracy with lance or spear. Rings of various sizes
are suspended from an metal or wooden arm and riders attempt to spear them
on the tip of their weapon.
- A display of lance work against a simulated opponent. A shield is attached
to a horizontal arm that rotates about an upright post. A padded, weighted
bag may be attached opposite the shield. The rider approaches, with lance
couched and strikes the quintain as would have been done to an approaching
opponent.Beheading the enemy - Simulate heads are set on poles at predetermined
intervals. Riders weave between the poles, striking the heads from the
poles with simulated sword. This is a timed event.
- Spearing objects on the ground. Targets or simulated heads are placed
on the ground and the rider attempts to spear the object with his lance.
- Carry a cup of water from the starting line around a set point and back
to the starting line. This is a timed event, the amount of water left in
the cup figures into the final score.
- Two riders are given a piece of ribbon to hold between them as they ride
a set course. This is a timed event, if the ribbon is broken or dropped
the score is altered accordingly.
- A flag is picked up from a holder in the ground, carried to another holder
and placed there. Another flag is picked up and carried back to be placed
in the holder at the starting line. This is a timed event.
- from a starting line a rider races into and out of a keyhole shaped figure
laid out on the ground. They then return to the starting line. This is
a timed event.
- Throwing a javelin through a ring as the rider goes by.
- The horse is ridden at various gaits over a predetermined course. The
course may include cavaletti, water hazard, slalom etc.
- A test of skill or intelligence. A trail ride with points to locate,
puzzles to be solved and/or skills to be demonstrated.
- from horseback
The Kingdom Equestrian Marshal is
responsible for seeing that an Equestrian Marshal (EM) is present wherever
a horse is at an event, and that the special SCA equestrian liability insurance
has been activated for that event. Without these two things equestrian
activities can not take place. The Equestrian Marshals are a kingdom wide
group responsible to and reporting to the Kingdom Equestrian Officer of
An Tir. The primary considerations for appointment to the post of equestrian
marshal are the demonstration of skill in the equestrian arts, common sense
and the ability to exercise self-control and diplomacy in dealing with
others. An Equestrian Marshal must maintain such visibility in the SCA
equestrian activities that he/she is accepted as an authority in the filed
by members of the marshallate of the kingdom of An Tir.
General considerations and rules
for SCA equestrian activities
An EM must be at least 18 years
An EM must be an authorized ridre.
An EM must have competed as an authorized
rider in a minimum of three equestrian events within the past two years
(waived if no events were conducted).
An EM must pass a written test administered
by the Kingdom Equestrian Officer.
An individual may be selected as
an marshal by the Kingdom Equestrian Officer only after having been recommended
by two authorized equestrian marshals.
In order for a rider under 18 years
of age to compete in the games the following requirements must be met:
Each rider, recognizing the possibility
of physical injury to himself or his mount in competition shall assume
unto himself all risks and liability for harm suffered by means of such
Riders shall behave in a courteous
and chivalrous manner and with due consideration for the safety of others
at all times.
Use of edged steel for demonstration
on objects and actual live mounted combat, and jousting in particular,
is expressly prohibited.
Rider Authorizations and Demonstration
Minors must have a parent or legal
guardian present and be authorized.
The parents or legal guardian must
have spoken with an EM who will explain to them the hazards and risks involved.
The minor, and minor’s parents or
legal guardian must sign a waiver allowing the minor to participate.
The minor is required to wear an
approved Snell riding helmet at all times while mounted.The minor must
ride their own horse.
In order for a rider to participate
in any manner they must first perform a demonstration ride at the fastest
gait in which they intend to compete. Equestrian activities are performed
at three levels - beginner (walk only), intermediate (walk-trot/jog/intermediate
gait), advanced (walk, trot, canter or gallop). Individual riders shall
be responsible for demonstrating their own skill level and that of their
horse. If the judgment proves to be incorrect, they will be asked to ride
at a lower level. Once having completed a demonstration ride satisfactorily
to the EMIC a specific rider on a specific horse may thereafter perform
at future events at that level unless the EMIC of such event deems performance
at that level to be unsafe.
It is possible for a rider to be
authorized at different levels on different horses depending on the horses
suitability/experience level with SCA events.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you joust?
No, SCA insurance and liability
prohibits jousting. The quintain event is a re-creation of the exercises
used to prepare a knight for this activity.
I don’t have a horse, can I ride?
Many active equestrians in the
SCA do not own horses. Most often these individuals seek out others within
the Society, in their kingdom or local branch who do own horses and private
arrangements are made. On occasion an event takes place where rental horses
are available or can be brought to the site. All of the usual rules for
Can children participate?
Absolutely, children must be
at least five years old and able to stay in the saddle unassisted and control
their mount unassisted to be eligible for a minors “permit to ride”. All
minors must wear, while mounted, ASTM or Snell Equestrian Riding Helmets.
Do I need special equipment to
As you begin you venture into
SCA equestrian activities you’ll want to take some time to determine what
time period you’ll want to model after. In order to participate in an SCA
activity you’ll need to wear clothing appropriate to the time period 400-1650,
dressing your horse is a little different. There are many ways you can
hide or disguise your everyday tack to blend in. Many riders compete in
covered English or Western saddles. Some have done great amounts of research
to come as close to authentic as possible, including building saddles and
tack for their persona.
Can we get together to practice?
Anytime equestrians gather in
an official SCA practice, an EM must be present and the Equestrian insurance
binder must be obtain from the Society corporate offices, through your
kingdom officer. Such practices can be unofficial outside the sanction
of the SCA.
Are helmets required?
For minors while mounted at
all times and for anyone participating in any jumping/leaping activity.
Helmets are always encouraged.
I have a cart horse, can I get
While formal activities have
not yet been written for cart horses they are being worked on in an experimental
basis. Many of the games can be modified to be done with a cart. Check
with the Equestrian Marshal In Charge (EMIC) of your local event for more
Can I fight on horseback?
Mounted contact (including boffer
and heavy weapon contact) are prohibited.
How can I get my horse ready
for SCA events?
Many of the events are much
the same as might be performed at a Gymkana or Playday. Getting your horse
used to the lance and spear in the comfort of familiar surroundings is
always helpful. Getting your horse accustomed to the barding it will wear
and banners blowing in the breeze, will also make your first event more
How can I get more information?
Please visit the page created just for
SCA horse activity. especially in An Tir
return to the
Spencer~Longfellow Trading Company