Horses played a major part in the Middle Ages, and that role is not forgotten in the SCA!
In SCA Equestrian Activities we practice the games of skill that squires and other mounted warriors would have learned in the medieval period.
One of these is hitting the quintain, a rotating piece of training equipment that helps the equestrian practice hitting a solid target. The more forceful the strike, the more rotations the quintain makes. But beware – on the other end is a counterweight that will come around and strike you if you are not quick enough!
We also joust at rings. The rings range from 6 inches to a mere 1 inch, and the equestrian must spear these with their lance, usually while the horse is running at a canter! Other activities include spear throwing and stabbing objects on the ground, knocking (fake) heads off posts with a sword, obstacle courses, and archery from horseback.
Often these games are combined to form a course for the rider to perform, and sometimes teams of riders are needed to do all of the activities. These games allow the riders to display their historic gear and horse costumes, and provide true medieval pageantry.
The games display a partnership between horse and rider. Not everyone needs to own a horse and medieval tack to participate. Ground crews are always welcome to help reset targets and assist the riders. It is a great way to get introduced to our activities! And of course, spectators are also highly encouraged.
Adapted from the Society Equestrian Marshal’s Handbook
If you’re interested in learning more about equestrian activities or trying them out, contact the Equestrian Marshal of your nearest branch to find out when and where equestrian practices are held!