Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to beat your horse in three easy steps

Today, the hubby and I went out to practice some mounted combat on horseback. This is a game we do in the SCA where we fight from horseback using padded rattan weapons. The target is the other rider (you get disqualified if you hit the horse in any way) and both horses and riders wear armor. However, generally for practice we don't wear armor since we're just playing around to get the horses used to being maneuvered and having a foam sword swung around their heads.

Getting started... nobody seems to care much, although Red is eyeing the grass.

This is really Saga's first time with this, aside from the day we did the demo at Pioneer Farm, and he was really great. We followed Red around while the hubby hit some fence posts and the side of the round pen - we do this to get the horse used to the noise. Saga was interested but calm. We moved on to swinging the foam sword over Saga's ears, and he really didn't care. Eventually, I picked up a sword too and started to pretend-hit my husband, who can block pretty much anything I throw, seeing how he's been fighting on foot for so long. And then, as we started to maneuver around, Saga decided that he would try a new technique for disabling his opponent.
Yup, it's the old "head-in-the-lap" technique. Disable your opponent by blocking them however possible! (This is the view I had when this first happened.)

We quickly discovered that this disabling technique is pretty effective, and that both Saga and Red were content to stand there all day while we laughed at them. It also made it easy for me to play whack-a-mole on my husband's helmet, since he wasn't going anywhere in a hurry. So we called FuzzyPony over to take some pictures...
So exactly HOW does one defend against this? Hubby is not sure...
Getting the hang of fighting while sitting on an immobile horse sofa with a Saga head in his lap...
And of course, when you can't beat 'em, hug 'em!

We had a short but pleasant, fun-filled ride. I need more of those! Alas, the weekend is over; back to the grind of the work week. Hopefully I'll get a bit more riding in, but that remains to be seen.

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