A letter from the Equestrian Champion

You don’t need to own a horse or ride to participate in SCA Equestrian

If you think that riding is required to participate in equestrian activities, I am happy to report you are mistaken. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved that never require one to get on a horse or mule. Some don’t even require that you get on the list field.

For those who want to be close to the action, members of the ground crew are some of the most helpful volunteers around. Ground crew are the people who reset games equipment, hand off weapons to riders, water bear, help retrieve weapons, or any number of things that need to be done from the ground. Do it often enough and you will end up within arm’s distance of equines on the list. Some equestrians might even offer people a chance to ride (more on that later). Ground crew are the grease that keeps this activity from coming to a screeching halt. The only requirements to ground crew in the Midrealm are closed-toed shoes. Society rules allow riders as young as 5, but anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.

For those who want to be a little farther from the action but still get to see horses, there are opportunities for heralding, running lists, and scorekeeping. These are essential to running lists and are ideal for individuals who love to see horses but are unwilling or incapable (for safety reasons) of being on the list field.

At some events where we have driving (horse and carts or chariots), we allow members of the general populace to practice archery from the moving cart. We also allow members of the general populace to use swords to attack targets from these same moving carts.

Would you like to compete on the list field but are unable to own your own equine? Some equestrians have an animal that they will lend to other riders. This is a very personal decision on the part of the horse’s owner and requires a level of trust between the owner and the potential rider that cannot be developed at an event. These horses and mules are more than our pets, they are our partners, and not every equine is suitable for in-experienced riders. If you are interested in trying to borrow a mount, take professional riding lessons, get to know your local equestrian(s), and find out if they have a mount to loan and what they require from you. These details need to be worked out on a case-by-case basis and having a personal relationship with the animal’s owner makes that possible. Getting to know your local equestrians and becoming a more skilled rider are the first steps in the process of getting to ride and compete at an event if you don’t own an equine.

If you have questions when watching the list, please feel free to ask. Sometimes we get distracted by watching our fellows compete too.

If you are interested in becoming more involved, there are official equestrian practices being held at:

Nitar Training Stables, 9071 Maysville Rd, Ft. Wayne, IN 46815
Sunday, Oct 27, 2019, 1-4 PM
Sunday Nov 10, 2019 1-4PM
Sunday Nov 17, 2019 1-4PM
Sunday Dec 01, 2019 1-4PM
Sunday Dec 15, 2019 1-4PM
Contact Jennifer Mahocker on Facebook or via email.

Near French Lick, IN
Sunday Oct 27, 2019 1-?PM
Contact Lancer Kiltegern MacClibarn for more information

Near East St Louis
Contact Dave Kaemmerer – Sir Saito Jiro no Bitchu. He plays with Calontir and has held practices in the past.

Is making garb and sewing your thing? So you know how to cut fabric, insert gores, and sew seams that will withstand the rigors of heavy combat, fencing, or cut and thrust for any body type out there. What of the challenge of helping to create barding (clothing for horses)? You have mastered the skills involved in creating human clothing, how about trying to apply those lessons to an entirely different body type and range of movement (one with four legs). Perhaps there is an equestrian who would love guidance on creating barding from nothing more than illumination in a manuscript. Maybe what is really needed is your expert advice on how to modify an existing set of barding so that it fits a horse better, drapes beautifully, and flows when in motion. Just as being able to ride a horse may not be in your skillset, some equestrians aren’t that skilled with a needle and thread and would love to have your expert advice and/or assistance.

Is leather work your forte? Are you up for a new challenge? Most equestrians use modern tack because it is what is commercially available. Perhaps you could help someone make a period bridle, breast collar, crupper, or other pieces of tack. Maybe what they really need are just a few pointers to make that leather chamfron “pop” by using a groover or beveling and finishing the edges of the leather. “This is really nice work. Have you ever considered doing X to this piece to make it really draw the eye?” is a wonderful opening.

Does metal casting float your boat? Have you seen the all the ornamental medallions, plaques, and other metalwork displayed on period tack? Perhaps you can help an equestrian create these items themselves thereby sharing the joys of your craft. You could simply re-create these metal artifacts, document them, enter them into an A&S competition, and keep them as examples of your handiwork – BAM! You are involved in SCA equestrian even though you don’t know any equestrians and you never even saw, much less touched, a live horse.

We have been pushing our equestrian community to wear modern helmets while riding. These helmets look decidedly non-period. Many of us have struggled with ways to effectively disguise them. Any help hiding modern helmets would be greatly appreciated.

Should you be interested in becoming more involved in the equestrian aspect of our hobby, feel free to contact me either via e-mail, on Facebook, or in person at events. I will wear the Midrealm’s Equestrian Champion sash to aid in identifying me at events and will endeavor to put you in contact with a local equestrian.

Yours In Service,
THL Reinmar of Shattered Crystal
Midrealm Equestrian Champion
brent_lecher at yahoo.com