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The Nineteenth Year

Equestrian Prize Tournament
July 7, 1984 (AS XIX)

From The Page (June, 1984):

[Historian's Note -- the copy for this event was HUGE -- a full page of an 8.5 x 11" issue of The PAGE -- I opted to trim this down by omitting contest descriptions and such ...]

Date: July 7, 1984 (AS XIX).
Location: Renaissance Pleasure Faire site, in Black Point, City of Novato, Marin County.

On Friday 6 July, 1984, we will have a "setup" and practice, starting at 5:30 pm. On Saturday 7 July, competitions will commence with qualifications of riders at 8 am. Immediately following at 8:30 will be the following competition events (not necessarily in this order):

(A) RIDING EVENTS: 1) Ring titling; 2) Quintain tilting; 3) "Behead the Saracen"; 4) Obstacle course; 5) Mounted archery (only war-archery-legal arrows and bows allowed); 6) "Save the colors" (flag race); 7) "Rearm the Knight" (bring your own lance if you wish) -- beginner and advanced categories in all these 7 events; 8) Costume: a) Overall; b) Horse; c) Rider; d) Tack -- previous winning entries in any category not eligible.

(B) NON-RIDING EVENTS: The College of Equestrian Arts will be building its own pavilion this year so that we may take it to the Great Gathering in Texas in 1986. In order for the Kingdom of the West to be properly represented and for the College of Equestrian Arts to be suitably exemplary (as befits an office of the oldest SCA Kingdom), it is necessary to draw upon all the talented artists and practicitioners of the sciences this Kingdom can field. To that end, we will be offering the following competitions. 1) Pavilion color design. (details very complex ... omitted). 2) Pavilion structural design. (details very complex ... omitted).

We will also be offering prizes in the following categorise for either non-riders or riders. (We reserve the right to be fair but totally arbitrary!)
1) Best household lounging area -- for one or more people who need not actually be together as a household -- this is for anything that is set up for the personal comfort fo those setting it up to view the tourney (i.e., picnic blankets, pavilions, table settings, etc.). 2) Best equestrian tourney viewing costume.

Nominal entry fees will be charged for the riding competitors only, with quantity discounts (as has been done in the past) in order to help defray costs.

Rental horses will be available for competition. One-half hour lessons may also be provided if enough advance requests are made (contact Vliveden de Cheux for details). Costs (and other details omitted).

For those bringing their own horses, there is a stable 2 miles away ... (details omitted).

SCA merchants will not, unfortunately, be allowed to sell any item at the event, since that would be contrary to the property owner's wishes.

For further information or reservation of rental horses or private overnight accomodations for horses, contact Cliveden de Cheux (contact info omitted).

Directions: (omitted)

From The Page (October, 1984):

The purpose of the West Kingdom College of Equestrian Arts is the study of medieval horsemanship through recreating medieval equestrian skills and crafts and through research into period equestrian science. Participants acquire skill and expertise in these areas by attending and participating in equestrian tourneys, practices, and competitions through lectures or other workshiops sponsored by the College.

Our most recent event was an Equestrian Arts Prize Tourney held Saturday, 7 July 1984, at the Reaissance Pleasure Faire site in the Province of Caldarium. Competitions were held for beginning and advanced riders (both horse owners and those renting or borrowing mounts). Several contests were also held for non-riding spectators.

The day began early in the morning as horses and riders gathered at the site. Those bringing in private horses tacked up, putting the finishing touches on riding costume and caparisons. The rental horses arrived in two truckloads and those renting earerly selected their mount for the day. An early warmup and practice sessio, with assistance for beginners, allowed horse and rider alike to become accustomed to one another and with the day's activities.

A Grand Procession of 32 riders sharing 21 horses, arrayed in full medieval panoply, opened the day's events. As Felicia niChlurain, a former Queen of Atenveldt described it, "Even the rawest first-time riders sat their new steeds proudly, caught up in the pageantry of the moment. A lady in a flowing teal-blue gown and matching headdress smoothed the fur-trimmed skirt over her horse's rump. A two-hear-old held on the fence by his governess waved at each rider and then crowed with delight as his parents rode past."

Whenever possible, two competitions were run simultaneously, to allow adequate time for the full schedule. Riders competed in six events, five of which also counted toward high point riding awards for the day, and in three costume and tack events. Non-riders were judged in two categories. The two pavilion design competitions were postponed due to sufficient entries and will be held later.

The riding events were:
     Tilting at rings: spearing rings varying from 8" down to 3" across while charging down the lists; scored on accuracy.
     Tilting at quintain: striking a 12" or 5" target forcefully with couched lance while charging down the lists, causing it to rotate; scored on accuracy and force.
     Behead the saracen: decapitating "saracen heads" from atop four poles while simultaneously weaving in and out between them; scored on time and accuracy.
     Save the colors: picking up a lance with pennant on horseback and running it down to another lance-rest; scored on time with faults for missed dropoffs.
     Re-arm the knight: start with a "broken lance", gallop down to squire on ground, exchange "broken" for "new" lance, charge back with couched lance; scored on time (faults for running over squire!).
     Obstacle course: horse and rider negotiate a series of obstacles including a gateway with portcullis, jumping a hay bale, negotiating a narrow corridor, rescuing a bound maiden, etc. Scored on time and successful negotiation of obstacles.

As Felicia recalls, "The first competition, tilting at rings, began rather quietly. More knowledgeable riders gave aid and suggestions to those more newly-come to the sport. At first, both spectators and the riders awaiting their turn looked on quietly, applauding politely. Soon, however, restraint was abandoned and each rider was cheered on enthusiastically, both by his fellow riders and those looking on from the ringside pavilions.

"There was a marked impartiality in the good wishes. If one competed, one was cheered. If there were those who feared embarassment at their lack of expertise, they were wrong. When the beginning-level tilting at rings was won by a Caldarian lady who had ridden only a few times, and never in competition, her joy and pride were echoed by all who looked on.

"As each event followed, the cameraderie grew, not only between horse and rider, but between the entrants themselves. They cheered each other on and offered tips on what they had learned. The enthusiasm grew, also. A lady who had been rather demure through most of the events was heard to cry "Die!" as she beheaded a beanbag saracen. It became apparent that honor lay not so much in wining as in having ridden with spirit and to the best of one's ability."

At the end of the day, the prizes to be awarded were presented to the day's victors. They included pewter tankards, silver-lined brass goblets, cloisonne enameled necklace pendants and belt buckles, an engraved silver brooch, a book with medieval scenes, wooden plates and spoons, a poster of a carved wooden horse in medieval caparisons, decorative embroidered reins, trim and decorative brass harness bells.

[From Hirsch: I have opted to not list the winners of each competition ...]

This tourney established a new record of both horses attending and riders competing here in the Kingdom of the West. Plans are being made for equestrian events at the 20-year celebration in 1986, and the West believes it only appropriate that as the oldest established College of Equestrian Arts, we should prepare a grand showing. For further information on 20-year equestrian events, contact Cliveden d'Cheux -- see Regnum.

And with deft perception, Felicia niChlurain closes her account, "Each participant left with a deepened sense of what chivalry is all about and a renewed vision of the dream we all share in this recreation of the Middle Ages."

(This chronicle was authored by Cliveden d'Cheux and Henrik of Havn)

Description of this event (if any), taken from The Page, or from memory of at least one person who attended the event.

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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).