Genevieve here. :-)
Back in September 2009 I attended the Barony of Madrone's Emprise of the Black Lion event. I posted my observations over on my LJ blog, but I apparently never posted them here. Since I brought that experiance up at the meeting this last Saturday, I thought I'd post my blog entry with y'all. I thought it might be particuarly useful in any consideration of a WK Rose-company, or related-up-the-ante-pagentry-tourney-pas event this group might want to do.
Here it is:
This last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Barony of Madrone's Emprise of the Black Lion, held in the town of Kent, WA (just south of Seattle).
The Event Itself: The idea of the event is to re-create, in an SCA-suitable way -- Rene Anjou's Book of the Tournament (see
). The Madrone Equestrian Guild has been running this event for 8 of the last 9 years (last year's was, unfortunately, canceled due to a Kingdom conflict). The maturity of this event was clearly evident from the spendid infrastructure and the pagentry displayed by the participants. Some super-cool pics may be found here:
Lots of very good looking crests and super nice barding (of horses, riders, and heralds). Guillume (sp?) and his crew looked especially like they had just stepped out of a 15th C illumination. He also got bonus points in my book for having different kits for the first part of the day and jousting. ;-)
Another very cool thing was that the barn the horses were housed in was wooden, and people decorated the stall doors/walls with thier champhons, joust shields, and banners/pennents. So when you looked down the aisle it, again, looked like something out of an illumination.
This being a Tournement, all the activities were of a marshal nature, and so wouldn't have been something that I, personally, would have wanted to ride in. But that doesn't change the fact that this was a Super Cool Event!!! :-) I kept thinking of how much Marguerite and Juliana would have loved to have been there. The day started with a procession of and proclaimations by the entrants before the 4 Noble Judges (one of whom was my sweetie :-) ). (Take-away lesson for me: uber cool idea to have this activity, with personal heralds in livery to boot, but there should be a time limit per entrant).
Next up was mounted crest combat, which they called by it's proper (French? German?) name which I'm not remembering (starts with a "B"...) On the Inter-kingdom Anthropology front, I commented that I'd never heard the term before and that we just called it "mounted crest combat". The reply I got was that that term had just caused confusion with "mounted combat" and so they had adopted a period term (which is, of course, cooler because it's period ;-) ).
Next they ran pig-sticking and another "B"-word game (?birhas?) that involved throwing a small spear through a hoop and catching it as you ride by, with ?2? (or was it 3?) hoops on your path. The pigs were entertaining because they were made of a thick pink foam that squeeked when speared. At first I thought they had some sort of squeeker in the pig, but, no, it was just the foam. I joked that if it was the West, some silicon valley engineer among us (like Georffrey Scott) would develop and implant a chip that would sqeek, and then probably file for a patent on it. ;-)
The "birhas" game was something I've heard of before but had never seen, and looked like something I'd want to try. Looked like you were best off doing it at a canter, though, since momentum seemed to be one's friend when tossing and catching the little spear.
The final event before lunch was speed quintain. The judges chose the 2 in targets, so I'm sure the entrants were challenged. ;-) Sir Raphael made the quintain and I'm told the plans are available on the Madrone EQ Guild website. An exciting event to watch and people seemed to have fun riding it, so I'm thinking this would be something our EQ group might want to build and practice.
After lunch I got to ride a little bitso I don't know what they did. By the time I got back to the main activites they were at the SCA styrofoam jousting stage.
After the horse events were through the event moved on to the foot-combat pas. I gather it was counted blows in various weapons forms, and then at a barrier. I did try to watch and learn, but I confess I mostly just chatted with folks.
Right before dinner there was a wonderful pas de due (sp?) based on St. George and the Dragon. I was a big fan of the woman who was the Dragon, and the costume she made for her Friesian/Welsh cross was based on a 16th C illustration I recognized. I asked her if I could steal her ideas if I gave her credit. ;-) You can see the outfit in the pictures -- check it out!
Dinner was very good and provided by the Madrone Culinary Guild for a very small fee (as was lunch). You've got to give it to the Barony of Madrone, they've got a lot of good stuff going on. :-)
Sunday was a challenge course. As I recall, entrants had to tilt at rings, throw a spear into a haybale, move 4 flags on spears to different haybales, run cloverleaf saracen heads, Move a red apple on a paddle to a basket, and a green apple on a paddle to another basket, and then hit a quintain to get as many rotations as possible out of it. They also had archery for folks who weren't mounted both days. If they did any mounted archery J/S and I missed it.
A few observations on factors effecting the West putting on such an event:
We'd have some significant obsticles to overcome. For one thing, they've been doing this for 9 years now and have had the time to build the infrastructure. Everything was wooden. After asking around I found out that most of it was owned (and stored!) by Sir Raphael and his lady Kerij-e.
Heavy infrastructure was also made more do-able by the cooperation of the site. Site crew was able to bring the equipment in the weekend before, so it wasn't all hauled in and and set up in one day. Nor was it coming from a great distance. There was no camping on site, so there was no issue of having to haul pavillion set-ups along with the EQ infrastructure. I know ownership, transportation, and hauling of wooden EQ infrastructure is a problem for us in the West. Maybe the answer is to develop relationships with specific horse facilites so that we can overcome some of these issues in the same way that the An Tirian's have.
There is also, currently, a different demographic of potential entrants. This event had a significant proportion of fighter-riders (and, dare I say, a significant proportion of male riders) -- more so than I see currently in the West. I'm not sure we have the significant mass of fighter-riders yet here in the West to have our own King Rene Emprise, at least right now. I think with enough lead time (2 years maybe?) we could get a minimum number of fighter-riders, get them practiced enough to be viable, and to build the barding/costume/crests. Persons or persons would also have to build and fund the infrastructure, which may be more problematic. But, again, Madrone *has* been doing this event for 9 years; our "Rome" wouldn't be built in a day, I'm sure...
Again, I thought this event was splendid, but I would never want it to be the *only* type of eq activity here in the West. I still liked how our WK EQ Championship was run. We should strive to have activites for all types of riders.
---end blog post
P.S. My sweetie has been asked to be a judge again this year, so I'll be going to this event again (in September -- hope it's not the same weekend as Equestrium...). I'll make sure to report back this time. :-)