Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Preparing for Lysts 2012 -- Jousting Practice January 22

On Sunday, January 22, SH hosted the third jousting practice aimed at preparing for "Lysts on the Lake 2012". My husband Foxfire attended and brought both of our horses. My husband's horse Ziggy is getting old, so Foxfire has started training my horse Shadowfax to joust. Shadowfax did well at the first jousting practice two weeks ago, but then he came up dead lame with abscesses in both front hooves. A small easy to treat abscess in his front right, but a nasty deep abscess in his front left.

We had the farrier out to check on the abscesses and we'd been soaking his hooves with epsom salts, treating the abscesses with ichthammol and keeping his feet clean and wrapped as best we could. He rapidly improved, but was no where near ready to be ridden by the time of the second practice for Lysts down in Katy, Texas, so Foxfire helped SH train DA's horse Moose instead. By the day of the third practice, Shadowfax looked sound walking around in the pasture, so we decided to take him to DASH's and see if he was sound in the arena. We brought Ziggy along in case Shadow wasn't quite ready to be ridden yet.

Sure enough when we trotted Shadowfax around in hand, you could tell he was still a little off, not much, but enough that you wouldn't want him to do any work. So poor Shadowfax got to stay in the arena's paddock throughout the practice. He was not happy about this.

He certainly didn't seem lame the way he was acting up!

He really wanted to be out "playing" with all the other horses.

Hey Buddy! Think you can break a fellow out of here?

Since Foxfire ended up working with Ziggy, he mainly worked on rating Ziggy during the canter and getting him to stop cleanly at the end of the list.

Foxfire on Ziggy, SH on Lucky, and Gideon on Saga practicing riding their horses up and down the list in various pieces of armor and chain, with and without lances.

Gideon's horse Saga, although an experienced jumping horse, is still very inexperienced when it comes to jousting. Gideon seemed to mainly work on desensitizing Saga to the sounds that the armor and chain maille make when worn by the person in the saddle. He also managed to get a little practice in against the quintain.

Gideon on Saga makes a pass against the quintain.

After working with his horse, Lucky, for a while, SH switched to his other horse Tinkerbell. SH rode Tinkerbell for the Joust a'Plaisance portion of Lysts 2011, but according to SH, she can still be a little spooky about the noises armor and maille make. However, she seemed pretty blase' about all the noises associated with jousting on that particular day. During practice, SH, among other things, rode her against the quintain a few times. The following two pictures demonstrate why it is very important to keep going once you hit the shield portion of the quintain.

SH on Tinkerbell strikes the quintain...

...and the quintain tries to strike SH back.

NJ, who is still a very new jouster, seemed to spend most of the practice learning how to carry and control a lance on horseback. It's harder than it looks. Lances may vary a bit, but the ones we use are 11' long and weigh about 6 pounds, so carrying one really changes your center of balance. NJ doesn't have a horse of his own, so Gideon was nice enough to loan him Red, a very experienced jousting horse, to practice with.

Practicing carrying a lance while on horseback.

There were a number of people out to watch the others practice and to act as ground crew. Having ground crew is vitally important to jousting. It simply couldn't be done without the support of those on the ground.

The people on the horses depend on the people on the ground for all sorts of help.

And of course, SH's dog Archie supervised everyone to make sure they were doing it right.

From my gimpy perspective (I am currently trying to heal from a broken kneecap and some soft tissue damage in my leg), it seemed like a successful practice. Everything didn't go perfectly, but progress was made and everyone seemed satisfied.

You can see more pictures from the practice on my "A Jouster's Wife" Photobucket account in the album "Lysts Practice Jan 23 2012" (I know I got the date wrong, but I'm not going to change it now.)

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