- Jan 31, 2014
I'd been involved in the SCA for about six months when I went to Pennsic for the first time. I remember sitting on the Snow Fence after the Hadrian's Wall Battle. Heinrich and I were chatting with the camp steward from our local group who was in chatelaine mode answering our many questions. I remember relating that I had been terribly frustrated when I had tried to become involved with equestrians in my then Kingdom; I had walked away from that encounter feeling basically blown off. He gave me some advice that I'm not sure I fully internalized at the time, but I have a greater appreciation for its truthiness with some time and distance. His advice was simple. "The SCA is what you make of it"…
Gong Hey Fat Choy! Today is the first day of the Year of the Horse. When I look to the things folks have written over the last few days on the WK Eq FB page, I find myself inspired. Winter is upon us with short days and wet weather (finally!). I am using this time to plan my riding goals for the coming months because Spring is just around the corner and there is a power packed collection of opportunities ahead.
This is an exciting time to be KEO as I stand on the ground work done by so many before me and with my inner mad scientist backed by a full slate of deputies. I appreciate everyone who has stepped up to make the West Kingdom Eq program one that is easy to be proud of. I laud those who have kept things going through the economic woes of the last few years. I am tremendously encouraged that attendance at Crowns and Coronations has been up 10% each year for the past two years – we are recovering. I am thrilled that we have 70+ authorized riders and at least 40 privately owned horses that come out to practices and events – I look forward to seeing them and new riders and mounts coming out to develop and show off their skills.
In 2014, there will be two locations hosting special training workshops. Training workshops happen 2-3 times a year in each location and are geared at developing a specific set of skills. Some of these are beginner friendly; others assume you already know how to ride. Cynagua will be hosting workshops in Brown’s Valley and the Westermark will be hosting workshops in Sunol. Six branches are exploring holding routine practices – Tarnmists, Hawks Haven, Canale, Fettburg, Golden Rivers, and Silver Desert. Practices tend to be a more general time to get together and learn and practice horse skills. These are the best places for beginners to come out to start developing their skills. We can’t promise to teach you everything you need to know, but horse hair is addictive and many of us are willing to provide that first hit for free.
The 2014 calendar has four Equestrian events:
WK Spring Equestrium – Red Bluff, CA – A full day of equestrian classes for the new and established rider. Arts and Sciences classes, Heavy and Rapier practice in a covered arena, missile and thrown weapons classes.
Cynaguan Spring Coronet – Quincy, CA - Match Races on Saturday and general riding revelry throughout the weekend.
Day at Smithfield – Modesto, CA – Horse show style activities meet the see and been seen culture of London’s Friday Night Horse Markets from the 11th through the 16th centuries.
Kingdom Championship – Lodi, CA – Three Kingdom Level Championships – Equestrian, Rapier, and Archery - in a single event. It is a full day of play in each of the activities with time to watch others ply their skills.
In 2014, there are also two inter-kingdom wars with horses on the left coast – West-AnTir and Great Western War. If you are interested in any of the above events, practices or workshops and need more information, contact me (equestrian@...) or visit the Equestrian Events Database (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArxbGb-zOH_AdFlKeF9WNkxZU0JHbjJQZGZaWjlnTlE#gid=0 ).
As I met with so many of you these last few months to talk about horses and the Equestrian Program at events, in coffee shops, and virtually, two themes came through. One, horses are your addiction and you are passionate about them. Two, there are things you need to know and questions you want to ask, but sometimes you don’t know where to start regardless of how long you have been in the SCA.
The Equestrian Arts team has revised several existing training and administrative documents and placed them on the Equestrian Arts webpage (http://www.westkingdom.org/officer/kingdom-west/equestrian-arts ). The goal is to have this webpage serve as a central location for documents, so that the information can be shared regardless of your personal social media choice. There are more documents coming including a detailed FAQ on how to get involved in equestrian, how to learn the things you need to know and what are the mostly likely means to get access to horses.
On behalf of myself and my deputies - come on out and play. We are thrilled to see you, thrilled to meet you, and thrilled to have you back. Horses were an integral part of all levels of medieval society and we are happy to support you whether your goals are to enjoy the spectacle, recreate the mounted warrior, swan around looking fabulous astride or aside, or dabble in a little bit of everything. I do ask one thing – keep the communications flowing from your end. Any day I get to talk about horses is a good day.
The SCA is what you make of it...and it's the year of the HORSE!
Else Hünrvogt, OP, OWGS
West Kingdom Equestrian Officer
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