When arriving at the site for Queen’s Rapier Championship and Equestrian Games this Saturday, April 8, you will be directed as to where to park. Parking is limited, so if it’s possible to carpool, that would be optimal.
Below is a map of where parking is in relation to where you’d be entering the site.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the autocrat, Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe (Jennifer Bahor), via email at or via Messenger.
The next monthly Virtual Marshal Meeting is Tuesday, December 6, this time at 7 p.m.
This is an opportunity for all SCA equestrian marshals or marshals in training to get together and learn about how to keep our equestrian program fun and safe for all participants.
During these monthly meetings we will talk about various topics surrounding our equestrian activities, i.e. insurance, paperwork, delegating workload and responsibilities and general safety in & out of the horse arena. The purpose of these meetings are to ask questions and learn from each other.
We will meet on the first Tuesday of each month, generally at 8 p.m.
Are you an equestrian who could use some garb or one who has the knowledge of good riding garb to share? Are you a sewer or costumer and can lend your talents to those who need garb and want to learn to sew more? Please come join us on Sunday, October 30 from noon to 5:30 p.m.
Our castle (755 Stonegate Drive, Wexford PA 15090) is still a construction site so please park on the street and walk down. We do have two big rooms for sewing but more machines, irons, and ironing boards are welcome!
“Be honorable yourself if you wish to associate with honorable people.” ~Proverb
Sitting in the front row of every scored Tournament for Heavy Weapons, Fencing, or Equestrian activities is a person with a clipboard making sure that the rules are followed, the scoring is honest, and that everyone that came to fight that day gets onto the field. These are your Ministers of the List, typically referred to as the MOL.
The MOL is a warranted position, like a Marshal, so membership in SCA, Inc. is required to act as an MOL. There is no membership requirement to be in the training (MOLlet) program, but you would need a membership to become warranted. Warrants expire concurrently with your membership, so you would update your warrant information with the Kingdom MOL when you renewed your membership.
The value of having a dedicated group of people to do this is manifold:
Before an event, the Marshal in Charge works with the MOL to review the kind of tournament that they wish to run. The MOL can also assist in planning out a tournament by offering suggestions for format, including alternate plans that can be deployed if the number of anticipated fighters changes.
During the planning phase of the event is also when it is most helpful to the MOL to know just how many people they will need the day of the event so that everyone may arrive prepared and ready to go for the tournament(s) that day.
The day of a tournament, it frees up the Marshals to conduct inspections and run the tournament. It also ensures that the business of reviewing authorization credentials and providing authorization paperwork is conducted enough before the tournament so that the fighters can then focus on their pre-game activities.
What does an MOL do?
Before the tournament, the MOL may work with the Marshal in Charge (MIC) to determine the best format for the estimated number of fighters, if the MIC isn’t sure what kind of format they would like to run. The general preference is for the MOL to be engaged before the event is bid as a regular part of the event staff. Often, though, MOLs will be contacted after the event is bid and the MIC will have an idea of what kind of tournament they would like to run. You would then work with them to see what they are able to provide for you – usually a table, cover of some variety, and a chair – and what time they would like the tournament(s) to happen.
The day of the event, the MOL checks in fighters by viewing/confirming their authorization is current and to score the tournament. Tournament is used very broadly here, it can be anything from a simple bear pit to a double-elimination tournament. It doesn’t have to be Crown to be a tournament.
During the tournament, the primary job of an MOL is to keep score and help keep things moving. The MOL will then provide a list of winners based on what criteria has been determined for winning. The MIC is usually the one that announces the winners in court.
MOL is a job that requires focus and fairness. It’s the MOL’s job to make sure that the score is correct and the correct person is announced as winner. It just takes time to understand how to score a variety of formats. The focus of training is to make sure that you are comfortable with the scoring.
How do I become an MOL?
First, contact your local MOL or the Kingdom MOL to arrange a couple of visits to a table at a tournament. This will give you a better idea of what is involved and what you can expect. If you see that being an MOL is as awesome as it sounds, then you would arrange to become a MOLlet and work with a mentor to learn how to sign fighters in, check authorizations, and score the main tournament formats:
● Round Robin
● Bear Pit
This is done using on-the-job training and, if needed, a mock tournament can be held to run infrequently-used formats like double-elimination. There are also some online resources that you can use to learn/refresh your memory on how to run a variety of tournaments.
If you aren’t sure if this is something that you’d enjoy doing, please contact the Kingdom MOL, Odriana (firstname.lastname@example.org), and she will help you find a table to join so you can see what being an MOL looks like in action and see if it’s the right fit for you.
In the glorious year of A.S. 47 during the reign of their Royal Majesties Andreas and Kallista, Maple, a Belgian mare, made her first appearance during the Kingdom Equestrian Championships in the Barony of the Endless Hills.
With thundering hooves and fierce demeaner she carried her warrior boldly through the challenging course, and a few minutes later during the same event, Maple was carrying another warrior with gentleness safely through the obstacle. This impressed the court and left them astounded. This massive 2000 lb war horse, strong as she could be, also demonstrated that she is also just a gentle giant who is here to protect and serve our glorious Kingdom and Mounted Warriors. That day Maple started her journey within the SCA.
Photo credit to Michelle Bauer
Over the recent years, Maple established a solid place in her Barony of the Debatable Lands. She has served her glorious kingdom of Æthelmearc by processing many Royals and Highnesses into Court over the past 10 years. She paraded proudly during the SCA 50 Year Anniversary and carried TRM Byron through the procession. His lovely wife was riding Maple’s friend Daisy, another war horse Maple shares her pastures with.
During the Middle Kingdom’s 50-year anniversary, the procession was cancelled due to weather, but Maple was present and stood happily for some Royal pictures. Of course, Maple did not miss the opportunity to participate in Æthelmearc’s 20-year anniversary celebrations and provide transportation for TRM into court.
Maple loves attention and enjoys making humans smile. She agreed to pose with the pasture sister Daisy for pictures during Debatable lands 12th night celebration in the winter of 2019. This picture opportunity was well appreciated and attended by all.
Marching in processions, parades and posing for photo opportunities is not what makes Maple a war horse. Her athletic skills during the equestrian games and in the jousting list is what earned her the title of Sylvan Horse of Æthelmearc. During the equestrian championship Maple carried four different riders through the challenge course and came out victorious. At the end of that day, King Byron called Maple into his court and bestowed her with the title “Sylvan Horse of Æthelmearc.”
Earlier this year, Maple aided His Highness Byron to claim his throne during spring coronation.
Since then, Maple has carried many riders to their victories in the baronial championship in her homeland. Since 2017 all the Barony of the Debatable Lands champions rode this wonderful strong and majestic war horse Maple. This fact earned Maple an Iron Comet during the Iris Festival earlier this year, from the Debatable Lands. Additionally, Maple has been mentoring and training new SCA equestrians, and was available for rider’s authorizations in games, mounted archery, and jousting. In fact, Maple was used to authorize over 20 riders, 7 mounted archers and 16 jousters between 2016 and 2019.
Today, Maple is over 25 years old, and enjoys her life with her equine friends on the farm in Gibsonia PA. She enjoys her trail rides and eating fresh grass and clover. She always appreciates additional treats like apples and carrots. Occasionally, she is making guest appearances at community events, and is always looking forward making others smile. After so many years in service, Maple is started a new adventure this summer. Since Pennsic, Maple has started training experienced archers, who are brave enough to join the Kingdom’s Cavalry, in the skill of mounted archery. We will be looking forward to the fruits of her new adventures!
‹From the event steward for Iris Festival and Kingdom Equestrian Champs, With Iron Comet Challenge, THL Hara Kikumatsu.
The Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands Iron Comet Challenge, Japanese Iris Festival, and Kingdom Equestrian Champs event is only a few days away, on June 4th. We hope for a beautiful, fun-filled day.
Last minute reminders:
1. SCA Covid protocols as of the event date will be enforced. Please be prepared to show your vaccination record or proof of a negative Covid test upon arrival at the event or at event setup Friday evening.
2. No food will be served, so bring food and drink. No glass bottles please.
3. Remember sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, a chair to sit on and, if you have one, a pop-up for shade.
4. There is handicap accessible parking, next to handicap restrooms, and an all gender changing tent. There are also separate Lords & Ladies changing tents.
5. Service animals only (other than the horses). They must be on a leash.
Iron Comet Challenge Rules:
1. For adults to be eligible for the iron comet challenge, you must enter the A&S competition, and have fought in at least 3 of the four non-equestrian martial tournaments.
2. Scoring will be done by tournament winner get 10 points, second 9 points, etc for each of the tournaments. The scores are added.
3. Youth iron comet winner will be determined by a combined archery, thrown weapons, and arts and sciences tournaments score.
4. Youth scores are tallied for only the youth, not as part of adult scores.
A Little More on the Event:
Here is the event page: http://debatablelands.org/events/2022-06-04%20Japanese%20Iris%20Festival.php. The event will have fencing, thrown weapons, heavy fighting, and archery tournaments. In addition there is kingdom equestrian champion tournament for horses and riders. There is also a arts and sciences competition with no theme. There is an equestrian arts and sciences competition. In addition to the arts and sciences competition, there is a arts and sciences display with an Asian theme.
The combined iron comet challenge is combination of the results from all the non-equestrian competitions.
The event will be held in the horse arena at Brady’s Run, 121 Brady’s Run Rd, Beaver Falls, PA 15010. Preregistration is closed, but you can pay at the door with cash or check.
Adult Event Registration: $12
Adult Member Discount Event Registration: $7
Youth 17 and under are free.
This Saturday, June 4th, The Debatable Lands welcomes Their Majesties and Highnesses to our Japanese Iris Festival as Their Majesties hold The Kingdom Equestrian Championship! This event has something for everyone – martial activities of all types, and A&S. And yes, even jousting! Check out the event announcement.
Cost for the event is super affordable and family-friendly: Adult registration (non-member) is $12. Adult member registration is $7. People age 17 and under are FREE.
This event also features the IRON COMET CHALLEGE (see below) and of course, Royal and Baronial Courts. Here’s the schedule for the day (tentative):
Site opens – 9 am
Part 1 Equestrian Champs – 10:30 am
Fencing tournament – 11 am
Thrown Weapons tournament – 12 noon
Arts and Sciences Competition – 1 pm
Part 2 Equestrian Champs – 1:30 pm
Heavy tournament – 2 pm
Archery tournament – 3 pm
Jousting (weather permitting) – 4 pm
Court – 5:30 pm
Tear-down after court
Have questions? Check out these FAQs:
Q. What’s the Iron Comet Challenge?
All are welcome to participate in the separate fighting, fencing, archery, and thrown weapons tournaments, as well as an A&S competition (no theme).
But for those elite few who want to test their skills as well-rounded medievalists, you can enter the Iron Comet Challenge – enter at least 3 out of the 4 martial competitions, and the A&S competition (required, all levels welcome), and be an Iron Comet Challenger competing for the highest composite score. Who will prove to be the best of the best?
You welcome to come and enjoy the competitions separately without competing in the Iron Comet Challenge, of course.
Q. Tell me more about the Arts and Sciences activities.
The competition has no theme, and all are welcome to enter it.
We are lucky enough to also have an A&S display – if you choose, there is a theme of Asian Arts and Sciences to celebrate the Japanese Iris Festival! Displays not adhering to the theme are also welcome.
There will also be a poetry competition for Japanese forms of poetry, including haiku, tanka, and if we feel brave, collaborative forms such as renga and renku.
Q. Will there be event-provided food?
Not this time, no, due to the pandemic. The event will not provide food. But please do bring your own and enjoy a picnic! (No glass bottles)
Q. What else should I know to prepare for the day?
The event is outside, but the weather forecast looks beautiful! There are a couple of shelters but you may want to bring chairs and maybe a pop-up for a place to relax.
There are three public changing tents – lords, ladies, and all gender. The all gender changing tent is next to accessible parking and accessible restrooms.
All COVID protocols will be enforced, so please remember your vaccination card (or picture of it) and ID (membership card is fine) or else your proof of negative COVID test.
Other than horses, only service animals allowed.
Q. Tell me a little about the Equestrian stuff.
The event is only open on Saturday, but those with horses are welcome to arrive Friday night. Contact THL Gesa for details.
For the Equestrian Champs, there are games and riding before prince activities hosted by Aethelmearc current Kingdom Equestrian Champion Gozen. There is also an A&S element. Contact Mistress Gozen for details, or check out the Aethelmearc Equestrian Facebook page. Activities are part of the kingdom equestrian championship, but it is open to all riders. There is also a jousting tournament!!
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 (email@example.com).
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.