Starting January 4th, 2022, there will be monthly Virtual Equestrian Marshal Trainings. These training will be open to anyone interested in our known world.
Our virtual Equestrian Marshal in Training meetings will occur on the First Tuesday of the month at 7PM EST.
Each training session is designed to last 90 minutes, depending on questions. The monthly meetings will be posted on the SCA Equestrian Facebook page, and if possible, emails can be sent out with meeting agenda and log in information.
This virtual Equestrian Marshal in Training Program will primarily cover the SCA Equestrian Handbook, Weapon inspections, and Event / Practice planning including all required paperwork and marshal reports.
Each Kingdom will be responsible for adding additional information to this program which is specific for their Kingdom.
The Æthelmearc Equestrian Marshal in Training will be on a separate day to be announced. These virtual trainings will cover the theoretical sections of the Equestrian Marshal in Training program.
The program requires hands on sections as well. Please arrange hands on training (i.e. weapon inspection, mock authorization, organizing an event or marshaling a practice) with your Kingdom Equestrian Officer.
The goal to be is to record these trainings for future references and provide additional training videos as we move forward over the next few months.
Requirements for becoming an Equestrian Marshal in Training (EMIT):
Becoming an SCA Equestrian Marshal is not as easy as showing up and saying you want to be a Marshal.
Being an Equestrian Marshal requires a good knowledge of horses, horsemanship, riders, games and the SCA’s rules and regulations.
There are a number of steps which must be completed, under the supervision of an Equestrian Marshal (EQM) in good standing with the Kingdom, in order to become an Equestrian Marshal.
You must demonstrate your knowledge in all these areas in a defined sequence in order to be approved and warranted as an Equestrian Marshal.
1) Establish and maintain membership in the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA).
2) Find an Equestrian Marshal to sponsor / train you and get another to recommend you. Both must sign your EMIT log to document this sponsorship.
3) Authorize as a General Rider and authorize to participate in Mounted Games and maintain these authorizations.
4) Approval of the Kingdom Equestrian Officer is required to become an Equestrian Marshal in Training
For more information, please visit the Facebook event page here
The Kingdom Authorization Clerk has introduced a new online option for filing your Authorization paperwork. The paper form will not be going away, this is an enhancement of the current process. There will still be physical Authorization Cards sent to each fighter.
Here is the new process:
You will fill out either the paper authorization form OR go online to fill out the online form.*
You will either tear off the top portion of the paper form to show at the MOL table OR you will need to have your email confirmation available on your phone to show to the MOL.
You will either send in the bottom portion of the paper form to the Authorization Clerk (remembering to include a SASE) OR the Authorization Clerk will pull the online information.
The Authorization Clerk will then issue you an Authorization Card and send it to you via USPS.
At the MOL table you will need to have your authorization card, a picture of your authorization card on your phone, the top portion of the paper form, or the email confirmation you received when filling out the online form.
With electronic delivery of the confirmation, you *must* have the email pulled up on your phone to show at the table. The MOLs will not be able to provide you with a device to log into your email to produce that information. You may want to consider taking screen shots of the email so you have a backup in the event that there is minimal or no bandwidth available at the event site.
Work in Progress Report: a preview of my virtual IceDragon entry. Interested in entering yourself? Visit the IceDragon website for more information or contact the Pent coordinator at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As all I did last summer was work the weekends and entertain the kid during the week, I had to come up with ways to keep us all entertained. We gardened (sooo many tomatoes and marigolds…), we fermented (home-made soda rocks!), we played with clay (baked crusty bread, fired mugs to drink our soda…). Normally, we’d be kept busy going to events. But not so in the Year of the Plague. Instead, I decided to focus on something I never had, or made, time for that would entertain us all, and introduced mounted equestrian games. Whacking dummy heads with foam swords and catching rings with a converted pool-table lance sure did interest the kid, and had the ponies thinking too. At the end of summer we were all adapting to virtual get-togethers, and both my kid and I participated in a video-submission-only Equestrian Games challenge.
Which made me realize, we humans had great outfits, but our ponies were sorely lacking in appropriate attire. My persona is Viking, a time when heraldry and colorful horse barding were not yet quite a thing (like, at all). I could somewhat envision a style of bridle I could make for him to give him a more historic look, but making a saddle? For the sake of both of us I decided not to meddle with that (saddles do have to fit, hence the mundane existence of the job of saddle fitter). Then my interest in felt and my Icelandic Horse’s heritage joined. Low and behold, the old Icelanders had a padded-seat riding contraption with stirrups which was completely made from felt – no saddle fitting required. And even better, for ‘carpet’-like felted sheets like this pad the wool did not even need to be roving!
I’ve always been fascinated with felting fabric, like the thick sheet felt used in shoes. A good friend of mine makes beautiful leather turn shoes and has poked me a few times already to make some sheet felt to use as insoles. But I did not feel confident in being able to do a good job. And I especially could not quite wrap my head around the amount of roving needed.
Finding enough affordable roving proved challenging. Then I realized I did not have to use roving, as long as the wool was clean and fluffy it worked fine. Luckily, I had watched fellow Dominionite Eadgytha clean wool many times over the years, and last summer I attempted my first suinting experiments. And guided by a several videos showcasing Mongolian felting techniques used to make felt carpets and felt yurt walls, my son and I set out to experiment with the different suggestions. I will share with you the highlights of what worked, what did not, and what I intend to try differently next time.
What did we do:
Collecting the wool. With a project like this in mind I had collected not-so-good quality fleeces over a couple of years. I started with about 5 fleeces of various colors, making one large tub of variegated fluffed wool, but worried this would not be enough for this specific project. Luckily, Eadgytha has a Stash and she gave me two more large garbage bags of fleeces to play with!
Processing the wool. The Mongolian videos instructed to use fluffed wool for the outsides, with the nicest first to create the face of the fabric. The raw fleece is fluffed by laying it out on a tarp and beating it with sticks. This opens the fibers as well as helping it release dirt and hay etc. It was surprising how effective this beating method is, and how much dirt was beaten out of the wool! We were also picking up bits of hay and fluffs of wool for days afterwards.
Construction. Traditionally, Mongolian felt is made on top of an already made ‘mother’ felt, which is then rolled up as a whole. Since I was doing this indoors, I chose to use plastic shower curtains. The fluffed wool was grabbed by the handful in one hand, pushed in place and pulled out of the handful to create a somewhat scale-like overlapping collection of wool tufts. The center of the felt ‘sandwich’ could be clean but untreated raw wool, fluffed, topped with another layer of fluffed wool. The better the tufts are interlaced top to bottom, the better the layers of wool will be felted together. The wool would be wetted with hot water while the different layers were constructed, enough to make it damp but not so much it was dropping wet.
Felt shrinks. I was going for a felted pad of about 30 inches wide by 80 inches long and eyeballed a starting dimension of 40 inches by 115 inches, as the Mongolian videos seemed to suggest more shrinkage lengthwise than in width. This seems to be plausible for their method, but not when using a machine, we learned later.
Agitating the wool. Historically, the baby sheet felt is tightly rolled up with its mother felt around a large wooden post. The outside is protected with hides, duck cloth or tarp, and tightly wound with rope. Two collars are slid around the wooden beam ends, attached to another long rope, and hitched to horses or camels to be dragged around over the grasslands for about two hours, often at high speed!
This obviously was not going to happen with us, as there was still a foot of snow on the ground, and a lack of camels, so we used our own feet. While watching TV, the kid and I would move the felt-roll back and forth and at one point figured out we could use the binding rope to pull it back after rolling it away. We kicked it, kneaded it, sat on it, walked all over it, anything to simulate rolling over the plains at speed while being dragged by galloping ponies. Although this might still happen in the future 🙂
Repack, and agitate. Each time the wrapping loosened, we’d repack. Followed by more rolling, lots of YouTube, another re-pack, and even more rolling. We rolled it on and off for about 3-4 hours over I think 4 days: my legs felt as if we’d hiked a mountain! We added hot soapy water as needed: the soap is not essential, but the alkaline environment will speed up the felting process. As we worked in our living room, in front of the stove, the felt was nice and toasty much of the time, and the wet wool felted as well as suinted.
Agitation and rinsing. Because the wool had suinted, indicated by earthy beige liquid leaking out, it could be rinsed indoors without dumping too much oil into our septic. In the process of suinting, minerals from sheep sweat and the oily lanolin in the wool dissolve in the hot water and bacterially ferment to make a crude soap, which then suspends remainder oils and dirt without leaving an oily residue. At this point I moved the felt roll into our bathtub, removed the shower curtains, sprayed it with hot water and with my bare feet walked all over it. When flattened sufficiently, I’d reposition the roll. When the roll became warm through and through, I changed the water to cold, trampled it, etcetera. I did this until the rinse water was mostly clear (and my feet very, very clean).
Drying. I squished as much liquid out as I could and move it in front of the hot stove. Evaporation while lying flat was not going very fast, even in front of the stove, so I draped the felt over a chair for gravity to offer a helping hand. At the end of the day, the felt was mostly damp, not wet.
And then I second-guessed myself… I felt (pun intended) the sheet felt (left) could use a bit more tightening after trimming off the thinned edges, so I ran it through the dryer on hot (see right). While this is generally very effective, and part of my dryer balls felting process, in this case it was too much. I need to remember, when using the dryer on a new project, to check every 10 minutes or so to make sure the effect is what is wanted. While before, the sheet felt mostly shrank in length and not so much in width (as expected from scrutinizing the Mongolian videos), in the dryer the felt shrank mostly in width, and quite significantly too. It made an amazing fuzzy, springy pillow-type felt which while awesome to sit on, but as a saddle I worried might be a bit tight for my knees.
Turning the felt into a felt-saddle I sewed leather patches to the felt, two at each corner, so it can be folded and securely tied into the pad-saddle shape (see the illustrations in the beginning: the sheet is folded twice, unlike a modern Western saddle pad). Unlike most saddles, the pad-saddle girth is a one-piece which wraps around the ponies belly like a belt and includes attachments for stirrups.
Thoughts? I’ve ridden on the felt-saddle a handful of times by now and found it to feel quite different from my modern felted pad. The barepack pad rides close-contact and I should not need stirrups to balance. The quite comfortable but thicker felt-saddle is not close-contact at all and actually feels a bit perilous to balance on: here, stirrups are not at all a luxury!
What is next? I commissioned the rectangular ring and the stirrups from fellow Dominionite John Michael Thorpe to recreate my recreation of the combination girth & stirrup “belt.” For now, I’ve used a modern girth to try out the seat of this pillow-y pad-saddle. And I have to admit, it sure feels comfortable!
Simon and Elska á Fjárfelli, of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn
Sources for the felted pad-saddle:
Reiðtygi á Íslandi í aldaraðir (2002) by Þórður Tómasson í Skógum, [Reykjavík] Mál og Mynd.
Greetings form the Captain of Horse of the Debatable Lands and Equestrian Marshal in Charge of the Virtual Equestrian Challenge “Victorious over the Unseen Enemy”. Thank you, Brandubh and Hilderun, Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands for sponsoring and judging this event. We would not have been able to do this without you. Thank you.
I cannot express how proud I am of all the riders who stepped out and saddled their horse to defend our lands. This was a long journey, as it had three different parts to it. We enjoyed watching the entries and were cheering everyone on, from behind the screen. Your creativity and artistic abilities that went into your entry left us often speechless or laughing. We could not have asked for better protection for our lands. With this said, it was a difficult task to score each entry, as all of you brought incredibly unique skills into the battle.
From Æthelmearc, Simon á Fjárfelli was out youngest contestant and deserved the title: Youth Champion for his bravery and skills at arms on Audrey. His mother, Elska á Fjárfelli scored a 43 on her Icelandic steed Greni frá Blasted Rock. Her artistic skills and story line gave her the title: Most Creative Contestant.
“Simon and I are brand-new to the wonderful world of SCA equestrians. This is our first foray into equestrian games, and we had a blast! Our ponies were a bit puzzled by all the distractions that suddenly had grown up along their well-known trails, but took the entertainment in stride. Greni has a long career as a trail pony, with the occasional hunter pace and trail trial challenges (when we had transportation). Audrey is new to us, and this, but took all the merriment in stride as well as good care of her not-so-tiny-anymore human, while making sure her barn-mom was never far out of reach (yes, I have trouble filming as she is using me as her emotional support animal!). We are all looking forward to the start of in-person events, where we can be taught how to use our weapons properly.”
To view the virtual entries, simply click on the link to go to a YouTube video!
From the Middle Kingdom we had two strong worriers who came to our aid. Lancer Eschina McDonyll on Max scored a 48. Her showmanship and Max’s trick performance earned her a title of: Master of all Tricks.
“I am Lancer Eschina MacDonyll of the Middle Kingdom (Shire of Mugmort). I’ve been in the SCA about 5years. My fearless steed is Maximillian better known as Max the Wonder Horse. He’s a 23-year young draft cross who loves to try new things. We play in riding challenges, driving challenges, chariot archery, mounted combat, and just started jousting in 2019. Max pulls a 14th century Scottish- style chariot. We are the current Baronial equestrian champions for the Middles Marches. Mundanely we also enjoy jumping, hunter paces and versatile horse competitions, and trail riding with our faithful canine sidekicks. Max has trained and authorized several new riders into the equestrian games.”
Fellow Midrealm partner Captain CuMhara o’Holyhead kept all of us laughing through her journey to victory. Her master steed Lord Magic was supervised and supported by Freedom and his canine friend. She rode on and collected 55 points total during her journey.
“I currently serve as Her Majesty Midrealm’s equestrian champion, although I’m pretty sure I was chosen because I have the best horse. I do, however, have strong feelings for Æthelmearc. I grew up in Steubenville OH, which is almost the Debatable Lands. I was also given permission by my Queen to serve in the guard of HRM Maurya, on the field at Pennsic, many years ago. Magic the Incomparable is a Speak up for Horses rescue who just wishes I would let him open up when we run barrels. He has his Award of Hooves, a Midrealm award to recognize animals who have served in some way. He loves kids because they are light and usually have treats. He will knock over any drink containers to see if they have stout beer or cider. He will drink mead or Gatorade in a pinch. He has won more tournaments than I have, even though I’ve been competing much longer.”
The highest score was achieved by Yarden from the Debatable Lands. He entered his quest on Max and debited the enemy with his final blow. His total score was 55.5 and was awarded the title: Victorious over the Unseen Enemy.
Gesa shared with the Æthelmearc Gazette that “Yadren (Jordan Helmick) is a great rider who has been jousting with me for 3 years. He is part of the Barony of the Debatable Lands and used to come regular to my practice and events. He joined the sca as a member last year June. Moose has been difficult and is doing really well now. Yarden and his lady friend Nicole are awesome horse people. I think he came to my jousting clinic 5 years ago and kept on showing up!”
Hello, dear citizens of Æthelmearc. Today, the KEM of the Midrealm made a sensible call which impressed me. In the interest of the fighters of Æthelmearc, I will do the same–
Marshals of all disciplines:
We have a serious heat problem across our land at this time. Extreme temperatures combined with high humidity are quite dangerous, and can lead to a variety of heat injuries. In the interest of the safety of all participants across our many fields, now hear this:
For the remainder of the 2019 outdoor activity season in Æthelmearc, all official martial and marshal-controlled activities will cease at the Heat Index of 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
This measurement can be obtained by using the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App (which is free and crazy easy to use), handheld wet bulb thermometer, or handheld temperature/humidity meter, (which are not free). The Heat Index measurement must be taken onsite at the time of the practice, event, formal training session, tournament, range, ring, or list field activity. And, this measurement should be rechecked during the activity.
No official Marshal or Martial activity is to be allowed to continue if the local heat index is 103 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.
Local Marshals and MIC’s may decide to stop activities sooner than this if the environment is seen to be inherently unsafe.
Please don’t harass your local marshals over this, feel free to direct all issues and concerns to me.
Pennsic has its own rule set for heat control, and similar decisions of this type will be made by Duke Sir Vissevald (Pennsic Marshal One) in accordance with these policies.
This is a temporary policy and will be strictly enforced.
In Service to All the Warriors of Æthelmearc, I remain:
Fiona of Hartstone and Superman, photograph by Sidney Green
Save the Baroness Hilderun!
Six noble riders braved the challenges posed by the Dragon horde accused of somehow kidnapping our dear Baroness Hilderun from the Debatable Lands and leaving only a faint image of her in effigy. At least that was what her distressed husband, Baron Brandubh, alleged when he sought the help of those noble dragonslayers.
As he explained, the riders would have to endure the thorny thickets, enter the flaming cave of the dragon, slay the King dragon, slay the Mother Dragon, slaughter all of the baby dragons, and dance in their blood. If these tasks were accomplished, then the Baroness would be returned to the Baron.
The first noble riders set off with courage, chivalry, and enthusiasm to brave the challenge to slay all of the dragons, adults and cute little baby dragons alike, so that they might achieve the glory of returning the Baron’s beloved Baroness back to her rightful home.
First Victoria. She did brave the thorny thickets, but failed to kill either the King or Queen dragons. She did report that they were at best severely wounded and at least scared. However, she was very efficient at slaying all of the cute baby dragons and trampled through their gushing blood with zest. This was apparently enough to break the spell, and the lovely Baroness was indeed found back by her Baron’s side.
Lord Nohaaj was also summoned by the Baron with the same pitiful, impassioned plea for help to find his missing Baroness. Nohaaj also struck out into the wilderness, thrashing through the thorny thickets and diving into the fiery cave on his brave war horse Maple. He was successful in killing the Dragon King, but merely offended the Queen dragon with a poorly placed spear and an insult about her bony appearance leaving no suitable target. He wiped out the squealing and adorable baby dragons, and was shocked by the volumes of blood that pooled into the cave, with Maple trampling through the oozing blood. He returned to the Baron to find that his deeds were, if not perfect, enough for the Baroness to be found safe once again by her dedicated and concerned Baron’s side.
But, the Baron was forced to call out yet again for help, and another rider went valiantly up to perform the same challenge, for once again the Baroness had gone missing. Each respective rider performed honorably, and the Baroness would be returned. This process was repeated by Katja, Fiona, and yet again by Catrina. Each time, dragons were slain and the wandering Baroness returned.
When the Baron called out for the sixth time that he needed a noble soul to slay dragons to help retrieve his beloved Baroness, John, riding the majestic Superman, another great war horse, started to question the Baron. “Noble Baron” he queried, “Are you sure that the dragons are in fact the issue here?” He continued, “Just thinking outside the box, maybe a moat, some castle guards, even an ankle chain, might help…?”
But nonetheless, despite his nagging doubts, the noble John set off with his warhorse Superman, to slay dragons and return the Baroness once more to the Baron’s side. And he, too, was successful in driving the Dragon King to requiring therapy (PTSD from having so many errant spears chucked at him) scaring the Dragon Queen, and laying waste to the harmless, cute, defenseless, little baby dragons. Finally, he sloshed through their blood. Upon his return, he noted that the dragons seemed quite indifferent to the whereabouts of the Baroness, who happened to return to the baron’s side ONCE AGAIN, even though the required tasks were only partially accomplished. He observed that the dragon lair was a very large, spacious, and airy cave. He further noted that nowhere in his travels attempting to slay, and succeeding in scaring and abusing, these gentile creatures, did he notice any trace of the Baroness. He concluded: “Perhaps the noble Baron Brandubh should consider that the gentle dragons are not the cause of his beloved Baroness’ wandering tendencies, as alleged?!?”
Rider John recounts his quest to slay the dragons and rescue the Baroness
This shocking concept has caused the Baron to ponder the Dragons’ involvement, and indeed his beloved Baroness Hilderun’s story of alleged kidnapping. It is rumored that the Baron is planning another event to determine the truth. To be continued….
Fiona of Hartstone and Superman, photograph by Sidney Green
On Saturday, June 29, the event “A Kingdom for my Horse” was hosted by the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands. This event included various activities, including equestrian. The event hosted the Æthelmearc Kingdom Equestrian Championship as well as a challenge/obstacle course and jousting. The Equestrian Marshal in Charge was THL Gesa von Wellenstein and the Championship portion was conducted by Baron Tigernach mac Cathail. Several riders and horses from the Kingdom competed for the Championship and were joined by several out-of Kingdom riders who participated in the day’s various activities. The following report was submitted by the Equestrian Marshal in charge of the event (with some editing).
Thundering hooves under the burning sun, in a land were dragons fly, riders of Æthelmearc showed off their skills of arms throughout the day. The day’s first activity was a challenge/obstacle course. Lord Nohaaj was victorious in his quest to slay the dragons and rescue our dearest Baroness Hilderun. Second place was Victoria, followed by John, Fiona, Katja and Katrina.
Lord Nohaaj receives his lance during the Jousting. Photograph by Eilonora inghean an Bhaird
Their Majesties and Royal Highnesses were impressed with the riding performances in front of the court. This was the start of the Kingdom Championship and consisted of the competition known as “Riding Before the Prince.” Recreating an activity from period, this competition challenges the riders to display their skills and that of their horses to their best abilities in order to impress the court. Mistress Gozen was able to impress everyone the most and received the highest scores. She was followed closely in scores by Lady Gesa, Fiona and Catrina. Next in line were THL Aaliz and Victoria.
Mistress Gozen on Rex, Photograph by Lady Pertolongan Kucingyn
The second phase of the championship was a challenge course called Chivalry in Training. In this phase, riders completed a timed course which involved a variety of obstacles and martial targets. THL Aaliz was the master of all skills at arms. Lady Gesa was second, with Mistress Gozen third followed by Fiona and Lord Nohaaj, on his brave war horse Maple.
Lady Aaliz wowed the crowd, holding the unicorn in her teeth, aboard Thelma. Photograph by Lady Sile inghean chein
Following the Championship competition, the court and populace of Æthelmearc and friends gathered to watch the joust. Trampling horses and shattering lances of 6 competitors kept the crowed well entertained. John, Catrina and Victoria were eliminated during the first round. Lord Nohaaj, Katja and Fiona advanced to the second round of the joust. Horses charged, lances shattered, and the crowd cheered. Lord Nohaaj emerged victorious in the joust.
Katja Borsukska and the young jousting mule Frida the Fearsome. Photograph by Eilonora inghean an Bhaird
Scores were tabulated for the riders who completed all portions of the day’s activities, and the winner of the day, with the highest total score was Fiona.
Fiona on Superman. Photograph by Lady Sile inghean chein.
Our Kingdom was enriched this day by the comradery, chivalry and mounted skills demonstrated by the riders. As the Lady of the Lyst, I would like to thank everyone who traveled to this event and rode with us. I wanted to create a fun equestrian day that provided our populace a small view inside of what we do with our four legged partners. I could not have done it without all of you who participated and helped out on the ground, assisting the riders and marshals.
Until next time, Lady of the Lyst, THL Gesa van Wellenstein
THL Gesa on Daisy. Photograph by Lady Sile inghean chein.
Court was held following a procession of Royalty on horseback which has become customary whenever horses are present. At court several equestrians were called to appear before Their Majesties, Royal Highnesses and the Baron and Baroness. Mistress Gozen was called forward and named the King’s Equestrian Champion. As the regalia was not present at the time, it will be delivered and presented at a later time. Lady Gesa was called forth and named the Queen’s Equestrian Champion and vested with the regalia by Baron Tigernach. Both received scrolls to commemorate the occasion. THL Aaliz was called forward and declared the winner of the Chivalry in Training portion and was presented with a scroll and belt favor. Mistress Gozen was named the winner of the “Ride Before the Prince” portion and also presented with a scroll and belt favor. Lord Nohaaj received recognition for his wins in the Dragon contest and the Joust, receiving scrolls and favors for his accomplishment. Lady Gesa was called back into court and inducted into the Order of the Golden Lance of Æthelmearc. (And hence in the above account, her name was corrected to reflect this new title.) The Barony recognized both THL Gesa and Nohaaj for their skills and inducted them into the Order of the Iron Comet as well.
The equestrians of Æthelmearc invite you to join them at the next event which hosts horses and join us in the pageantry and excitement of these activities.
The Kingdom of Æthelmearc is reeling from a discovery made by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin, King’s Equestrian Champion, when she opened the stall of the Mighty Freya this morning. At first she thought that thieves had been at work for there was no tossing of blonde mane, or pawing of hooves in anticipation of the morning’s hay. There appeared to be no horse at all in the stall!
Then a small movement was seen in the back corner, accompanied by a pitiful whinny. What was this thing and where was the Pride of Æthelmearc? The coloring was the same, the blaze correct…but this tiny creature was no more than waist high! After looking the animal in the eye, though, there could be no doubt. Freya had been shrunk by some magical means.
This, of course, would spell absolute disaster for the upcoming tournament season. A quick try of barding and saddle revealed the hopelessness of the situation. Tiercelin vowed revenge, and sent messengers to the King, who in turn sent for one who might be able to solve this awful mystery.
Brother Cadfael, upon arriving at the stables, made careful inspection of the grounds, the other stalls (curiously, only the King’s Champion’s horse was affected), and the surrounding countryside. It was almost evening before he returned, carrying a crumpled purple banner.
“Your Majesty,” he said, “I found this dropped in haste by riders heading eastward. I am not familiar with the heraldry.”
King Gareth took one look, and exclaimed, “I know this well! Purpure, within a laurel wreath vert fimbriated Or, an eastern crown of three grand points tipped with pearls and two lesser points, all Or.”
It may be winter, but the Æthelmearc Equestrians have not been idle. On March 2, as part of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands’ demo which was conducted at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA, the equestrians of Æthelmearc set up and displayed the tools of their trade. The Coordinator for the equestrian portion of the demo was Isabel Johnston who organized the various portions of the display. She and her husband, Tomas, also constructed several clever devices to facilitate displaying various components of the display and creating a fun and inter-active game for participants.
Tomas solved one of the difficult questions that faces equestrian artisans when trying to properly display “barding” or “caparisons” which are used to cover and decorate the horse. These historical “garments” had a variety of uses and functions in period. Because most A&S type events are not conducive to bringing in a horse to model the barding, it is difficult for the artisans to display these items to full effect. Tomas came up with a portable and life sized “dummy” to display a set of Mistress Gozen’s full barding which completely covers the horse from head to —- hoof.
A life sized display of tournament equipment.
The other interesting creation of Tomas was a mock horse that moved. Constructed of a wooden saddle rack and securely mounted on a sturdy wooded platform with wheels, this device was outfitted with saddle, bridle and barding complete with bells. Attendees to the Science Center’s Over 21 Event were treated to an opportunity to mount the “horse” armed with a sword, and attack a series of mounted heads while being pulled through our mock tourney field. This replicated a popular game on the SCA equestrian tourney field commonly called “Behead the Enemy.” This activity was extremely well received, with a constant stream of participants most who waited patiently in line for several minutes for an opportunity to “take a few swings.” Participants included SCA demo participants as well as the young and quite elderly visitors to the Center. Several of the equestrians worked hard in this area of the display including Isabel, Lady Rowena Macara, Lady Leah of the Debatable Lands, and Jackie Caulkins, one of our newest equestrians. They pulled the attendees through the course on the “horse.” Spouses and friends took many candid photographs in this area.
Besides this fun activity, attendees were treated to a display of arts and sciences by Mistress Gozen including a display of barding types in miniature as well as a display of the items needed in a tournament by a mounted rider. This included a medieval styled saddle, bridle, full barding, banners, surcoat and helmet mantle. Lady Gesa set up a display of jousting equipment. Participants were very fascinated by all these period recreations and asked many good questions.
The evening was an excellent opportunity to introduce these people to the wonderful world that is the SCA. Some folks came in garb, some wearing things from their cosplay experiences while others said they had the clothes from prior Halloween costumes. The Science Center allowed the SCA to display various crafts and activities on all the floors of their Center. On the Lower floor, where the equestrians were located, there was also heavy fighting and a local Steel Sword Fighting organization. All the areas were well attended and appreciated by the attendees. We, the equestrians of Æthelmearc were grateful to the Center and the Barony, especially Lady Zianna who coordinated the entire project, for the opportunity to bring our craft to the populace of Pittsburgh!
Article written by Mistress Gozen and the photographs were taken by Baron Friderich Swartzwalder and Isabel Johnston.
The Center’s official press release about the demo can be found here.
The following information was provided by THL Aaliz de Gant, the Kingdom Equestrian Officer based on an announcement by the Society Equestrian Officer:
At the request of the SCA Board of Directors, a new waiver project has recently been completed. This project involved updating waivers to be used to events which include equestrian activities. In the past, waivers were handled in one of two ways. If horses were limited to areas that were restricted to equestrians, the MIC could opt to have only those interacting with horses complete the equestrian waiver. If the event allowed for more interaction, those members with blue cards would sign the additional equestrian waiver at troll. Those without blue cards would sign both the equestrian waiver and the society liability waiver.
Under the new policy, a combined wavier which includes both equestrian and society waiver language has been created which will be signed at troll for all attendees of an event which includes equestrian activities. In other words, the combined waiver will be signed by those with a blue card on file with the society as well as those without a blue card. There will be no need for event attendees without a blue card on file to sign a second waiver.
Due to equine liability laws in various states, there are state specific waivers for two of the states in Æthelmearc. For events held in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, state specific waivers are required. Events held in New York will use the standard society waiver. The Equestrian Marshal in Charge of the event at which equestrian activities are taking place will need to sign each waiver. Waivers will then be sent to the waiver clerk in the normal fashion.
The new waivers can be found at here under Adult Equestrian Waivers.