This weekend was Wine List, an SCA event put on by the Shire of Glynn Rhe. This event had no fencing and no dancing, so you might be wondering what would get me to it. The answer is that the event had equestrian activities, and the marshals from our shire were running them. One of those marshals just happens to be my good Lady Fjoleif. I was actually planning to do some riding at this event, but I ended up spending all my time taking pictures. Lady Lora and Lady Fjorleif were the only authorized equestrians to bring horses to the event, but we managed to authorize six people at the beginner level for future events.
Safety class is the first step in the authorization process. Most people who have their own horses know the basics, but there are additional hazards when you start handing long poles with sharp points on the ends to people on horseback. Whether you're a rider or just ground crew, you need to know the rules for handling lances, javelins, and wooden swords in the riding area.
The basic requirement to receive a beginner authorization for equestrian competition is shockingly simple, to my mind. You need only be able to ride the "heads" course at a walk. This means weaving your horse through a series of poles with targets perched on top. Lora's targets are wig stands with features painted on them and silly hats. Below, you can see Reinmar on his authorization run.
After we finished authorizations, we moved on to the more entertaining portion of the day's events. Jousting at a quintain is one of the standard SCA equestrian competitions. A quintain is a pole with a rotating crossbar mounted on top. The crossbar has a target on one end and a counterweight on the other. The counterweight is generally a sandbag. If you've seen the move A Knight's Tale, you saw the hero practicing with a quintain. The idea in the SCA game is to strike the target with a lance and make the crossbar spin as many times as you can.
We didn't bother with a crossbar at Wine List, though.
That's right, we used pumpkins as targets. While the pumpkins we had were surprisingly resilient to lance blows, we still ended up with a substantial heap of smashed pumpkins at the end of the day. We also set some pumpkins on the tops of the poles in the heads course to see how that would go. I think Lora and Fjorleif are hoping to make smashing pumpkins an annual equestrian challenge in the future.