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RE: [WestKingdomEQ] Feedback on Spring Equestrium Jousing Class

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  • Henrik Olsgaard
    I didn t participate in the class and missed it s content , this time. Last year I took the ground portion only and missed the mounted portion, so here I can t
    Message 1 of 2 , May 8, 2007
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      I didn't participate in the class and missed it's content , this time. Last year I took the ground portion only and missed the mounted portion, so here I can't comment either. I understand the instructor was intending to modify the content from last year, but I don't know what they were.
       So with all this lack of basis to reply, I would like to offer comments based on my intermitant observations on the ground as part of the mounted class progressed, while helping to arm and rearm and disarm a few of the riders.

      It looked to me that many of the riders were overextending their abilities to handle the various pieces of equipment. In some cases riders were not fitted to their equipment effectively and one rider seemed unable to handle the gear due to improper sizing of helm and shield/ecranch. There wasn't a whole lot of gear available, and many of the riders may not have had much experience with personal protective equipment of this nature, so for them to make educated decisions on what gear to wear and how to do so, is understandably not unusual. The physics and methods of weapons and armor use and fit is not easy for any of use to know, even if having done so a lot. Most riders have not had much experience and so this seemed a lot more difficult for most of them. 

      The resulting effect seemed to be that some of the riders sometimes had marginal control of their lances and sometimes even their horses. Luckily no real disasters occured that I saw, but if a horse had panicked, it may have been a different matter. I don't mean that the activity should be stopped, rather that riders should begin at a simpler level and advance as their abilities and and mastery of the equipment allows. I think placing some of the riders in a "joust" with another should be done more gradually by eliminating some of the requirments at first so those in use can be mastered, before others are brought into play. If this prevents full jousting being possible, then partial jousting can be accomplished by substituting activities in to satisfy the simplified needs. For instance if a rider can't wear a helm, then that rider should procede practicing jousting at one who does wear a helm, but who doesnt carry a (full length) lance and avoids striking the helmless rider. Likewise if a rider can't work with a shield or ecranche , the rider should substitute one that is more manageable, even though it may be smaller or lighter in weight. Even a cardboard shield or ecranche ,carried by string or light rope ties or enarms, will help a rider develop the sklils to work with a more realistic regular one later. The mechanics of jousting is not too complicated, and any rider should be able to do so. But the handling of the equipment can be difficult, especially if tried all at once. Working with the lance alone, first against a still target and later a moving one, is important. This applies especially with the foam tipped lances which balance oddly when moving at speed, due to air resistance of the lightweight tip portion. Using a 2 inch diameter foam pipe insulation or pool noodle, instead of styrofoam, saves on broken styrofoam tips and weighs and handles about the same. Tilting at a lightweight quintain with this setup is good practice for learning to aim and hit a target. Riding with a shield or ecranch is also an important skill to master. Especially since it effects the use of the reins in the process of holding the lance in one hand and the reins in the other. Simply using a cardboard shield or ecranch substitute, is a good starting point, which should be followed by a proper shield or ecranch later when strength and ability allow. Reining a horse while one's reinhand and arm are encumbered with a shield or ecranch is actually quite easy, but it requires different positioning of the hand and fingers that hold the reins, to do so effectively. Practicing riding while doing this is important and should be mastered by itself, before jousting in full gear is done. For instance wearing a shield or ecranch on the left arm can interfere with reining to the right, since the body of a shield or the enarm straps of an ecranch, may inhibit the passing of the reins to the right over the saddle pommel or whithers of the horse. This may require raising the hand to clear the shield and reins to move to the right, or it may require the loosening or repositioning of the ecranch enarms, to allow the left arm and hand to move to the right.

      Until a rider can ride effectively with all the required protective and decorative gear they wish to use, and move their horse in the desired patterns, so encumbered, they shouldn't really expect to be able to joust , either in competition or perhaps even in a class.

      Much of the skills needed can be self acquired, by simply going out and getting some practice equipment and riding a horse with it. The learning to use the gear in competition can follow later, after it's carrying while on horseback becomes easy. "First you learn to hold and swing the bat, before you learn to hit the base ball." First you learn to hold and aim the lance, before you strike an opponant. First you learn to carry and ride with a shield, before you use it to "defend" (present it as a target) from a lance strike. First you learn to ride and see out of a hlemet, before you wear it as defensive armor while jousting. First you learn to ride and manouver while wearing body armor, then you use it to defend against accidental lance tip hits that miss the shield or ecranch target. First you learn to perform all the required actions in required armor with lance and shield or ecranch, then you go and Joust!

      If I were teaching skills classes, I would do so in stages, with several classes being used to cover each element as listed above. Then riders ( and horses too) could come to the final jousting classes with a familiarity of riding with all the gear first, and so concentrate on combining the elements into a whole with the jousting.

      Henrik of Havn


      From: bulotki@...
      To: WestKingdomEQ@yahoogroups.com, corwyn@..., kknib@..., deliriumskid@..., rachaelo@...
      CC: equigal_99@...
      Subject: [WestKingdomEQ] Feedback on Spring Equestrium Jousing Class
      Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 16:25:46 -0400

      Greetings Equestrians,
      While jousting isn't for everyone, making it possible for those that want to participate is important to the growth of the group.  Jousting in the West has been making great progress due in large part to the efforts of those that teach the skills required for it.  I'd like to get some feedback from the students on the most recent class so that we may continue to improve our program. 
      Did the class satify your needs?
      Were the objectives clearly explained?
      Were the exercises useful?
      Did folks feel like they accomplished something at the end?
      Were the instructor's critiques/advice/tips useful if not, why not?
      What could the instructor do to make the class better in future?
      Would folks want to take a class from her again?
      And if so, what things would people like to see taught in the next class?
      Thank you for coming to Equestrium, bringing your horses, and taking part in the classes.
      In Service,

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