English Mounted Medieval Skill-at-Arms Tournaments - Open To All !
The Festival has an exciting element to offer competent riders - both Junior (i.e. under 17 years of age) and Senior. Not for centuries on English soil has the possibility been presented for open competition in a mounted medieval Skill-at-Arms Tournament. This is not just theatre on horseback - imagine competing in a contest of medieval cavalry training exercises, with actual scoring presenting the opportunity to establish who is "Le Bon Chevalier" throughout the land!
The World Championship of Medieval Skill-at-Arms is held annually at
's Medieval Festival
The restructuring of the mounted element of the Festival was brought about by the introduction a few years ago of a mounted Skill-at-Arms Tournament the only one of its kind in the country! The mounted Skill-at-Arms Tournament will take place over the three-days of the Festival and will comprise - on each day - two tournaments for experienced competitors and one tournament for novice competitors. There will also be twice daily Grand Parades around the grounds to set the scene.
Who amongst you will take up the challenge?
The gauntlet is thrown down. Will you take up the challenge? Parades are open to all but the total number of Competitors in the Tournaments is limited. Applications will close on 30th July.
Each of the three Tournaments is scheduled to last for approximately one hour and each will comprise a number of authentic training exercises used by cavalrymen in medieval times to train both themselves and their horses for war. Riders who will be competing in the Tournaments will ride each day in the two Grand Parades.
The disciplines of each tournament will be familiar to most mounted Skill-at-Arms riders and will need to have been practiced prior to the Tournaments.
's Medieval Festival has developed a set of rules which such medieval period competitions can adhere to worldwide.
The Tournaments will be judged openly and fairly and scored so that both competitors and public alike may follow their progress. Anyone can win. The scores will be displayed each day for all to see, with an award ceremony for the best contestants each day and for the best contestants overall at the end of the three days.
Although open to all horses and riders, their Level of Competence must be proven prior to the Festival. Details are to be found at the bottom of the tournament rules.
Those wishing to take up this challenge, please read the information in this section of the website for further details and complete the online Tournament Application Form. Only riders who are accepted by the Tournament organizers may compete and all Junior riders shall be accompanied by and be the sole responsibility either of a parent or of an appointed guardian.
The Skill-at-Arms Tournament was previously known as the Squires Tournament. The title was changed to more accurately reflect the cross-section of people who wish to enter this competition.
All participants must either provide or hire their own horse as well as certain weapons as listed in the required equipment section of the tournament rules.
Riders who are riding in the Grand Parades are required to muster, in appropriate dress, at the west side of the Castle at times that are set by the Festival organisers for the start of each Grand Parade. They will ride with the Siege Armies and then proceed to the Grand Arena. The exact format and timings for the Tournaments themselves will be posted on this section of the website and emailed directly to all registered and accepted riders.
Both junior and senior riders who are experienced competitors must be prepared to take part in two daily Tournaments and novice competitors (both junior and senior) must be prepared to take part in one daily Tournament. Elements that will be included in the Tournaments (full details of which are to be found in the Tournament Rules) are listed below.
Cabbage Cutting - better known as 'The Turks Head'. Cabbages to be cleanly cut - at the gallop.
Individual Pegging with Sword or Lance pegs to be taken from the ground at the gallop with a sword or a lance. Alexander the Great supposedly started this discipline by training his cavalry to pin elephants' toenails to the ground. We however have to make do with pegs!
- each of two oranges (suspended from a gallow) to be cut with a sword. This requires co-ordination, suppleness and a good eye. Speed is essential.
Throwing Spears - to be thrown over-arm at the gallop. Hitting the target may be easy but hitting the centre for full marks is not.
Quintain - a shield on a pivotting arm with a red bulls-eye must be struck with a lance at speed and with aggression. If this is not done, the sack is likely to swing round and strike the rider on the back of the head.
Skill-at-Arms Course - here the rider is tested with a variety of weapons. Firstly the bladders must be stabbed with a pricker as the rider jumps. The pricker must then be discarded into the bucket provided and a sword picked up for the purpose of running two dummies through. The sword is left in the second dummy and a lance is picked up. An attempt must then be made to collect the two rings (at rider's head height) on the lance. The hole in the centre of each ring is 2.5 inches wide. The purpose of the rings is to train the rider to find the weak spots in his opponent's armour.
Trophies and Prizes
There will be a bronze cast trophy awarded for highest overall score of the three day tournament for both junior and senior experienced riders.
There will be a bronze cast trophy awarded for the highest daily score of all the three days for both junior and senior experienced riders.
Medals will be awarded daily for first, second and third places for each class of riders.
The names of winners of all trophies that are awarded - which are pictured -will be engraved thereon and the trophies will be held at the Castle.
02 December, 2009