THL Maeve ni Siurtain previews a new part of the Kingdom Equestrian Competition this June. Based on figures and patterns from period riding manuals, the competitors will take part in a Ride Before a Prince. This specific competition was a war point at Gulf Wars this year.

Beautiful horses caparisoned in colorful fabric at an event are definitely eye catching.

This year at Melee Madness, where the Kingdom Equestrian Championship will be held, there will be a twist to the competition. At the 50 Year celebration there was a class/competition called “Riding before a Prince” which is based on the writings of late 16th century equestrian masters.

The King’s Champion, THL Aaliz de Gant has tasked the competitors to not only practice their martial skills, but their unity with the horse they ride. Harmony between horse and rider, especially at a gallop made the rider accomplished in period.

Just as the fencing community is using the instruction of period fencing masters, so now the equestrian community has begun exploring the writings of Pluvinel, Markham, and Grisone. In what I have read of the fencing masters, there are specific stances and movements of the body. It is the same in riding; there are descriptions of how a rider should sit on a horse, hold one’s hands, and handle the reins. There are patterns to follow, which can be ridden at any gait. Some of them look very strange, with circles and spirals (called “the snail) as well as halts with the horse turning on its front or back legs.

For the Ride Before a Prince, the riders will choose the movements that will best show the horse’s abilities (and their own). These figures will be done to music, much like modern day freestyle dressage tests. This part of the competition will show off not only the rider’s skill in handling their horse, but also the horse’s talents.

So come watch and be entertained by the hard work and harmony of the Kingdom’s riders on Saturday morning at Melee Madness!