Stormsport charge 1

Horses preparing to charge a line of ground fighters at last year’s Stormsport War Muster and Equestrian event.

This weekend the Shire of Sunderoak is hosting Æthelwald Proving Grounds and once again there will be horses on site. The day’s activities, under the apt leadership of THL Meadhbh, include a competition in the morning, and various training opportunities in the afternoon. These include experimental activities in Mounted to Ground Combat.

This activity involves mounted combatants engaging ground fighters and allows both sides to experience some of what combat between cavalry and infantry was like during the medieval period. Obviously, we cannot replicate every aspect of this combat, just as we do not in rattan fighting. The cavalry does not run down the ground fighters, who also do not spear the horses through the chest to stop their charges. But this activity allows both sides to explore what this type of combat was like, the special training that is required, and the complexity of this combat. As equestrians, we are able to develop training strategies in order to foster the horse’s courage and obedience in the face of armored forces advancing on them, making a lot of noise. And we work to train our horses to the level of a medieval warhorse that faced a variety of conditions on the battlefield. The ground fighters are able to work on strategies to defeat cavalry and engage a mounted force. Prior participants have exclaimed about the exciting experience of facing charging horses, with the ground rumbling beneath their feet at the approach of the horses.

Stormsport familiarization 3

Acclimating horses to the ground fighters.

If this sounds like something you want to get involved in, then we have the opportunity for you at APG this coming weekend. As the Experimental Deputy to the Kingdom Equestrian Officer, I will be conducting Mounted to Ground activities and encourage authorized fighters to join us on the equestrian field. We will be conducting some controlled charges similar to what was done at Stormsport’s event last year and fighters are needed to participate. This will also be a chance to screen future participants for the more advanced aspects of the Experiment. For that level of participation, we are looking for fighters with skill, as well as good common sense and some familiarity with horses. In these more advanced activities, we will be experimenting with a variety of combat scenarios and forms.

So, if you are interested in something a little different from the tourney or melee field, I encourage you to seek us out on the equestrian list field this Saturday at APG

–Shishido Tora (Gozen)

Photographs by THL Rhiannon Elandris of Glyndrvdwy