"Helpful Information for Equestrian Ground Crew" compiled by THL Edward & THL Geva de Kent and Baroness Eowyth þa Siðend.
This article was added to this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium, with the permission of the author.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
Note: This was written for the Kingdom of Calontir. Some items may differ in your own kingdom.
Helpful Information for Equestrian Ground Crew
Compiled by THL Edward & THL Geva de Kent and Baroness Eowyth þa Siðend
Qualifications / Requirements
● Ground Crew must be authorized prior to acting as ground crew—contact an Equestrian Marshal in Charge of an event that you plan on attending to obtain authorization (it helps if you can contact them before the event to let them know you are interested in authorizing!).
● Authorization requires showing you have the ability to:
○ Safely handle the equipment and weapons needed for the equestrian activities—this includes the correct way to hand and receive weapons to and from a mounted participant;
○ Maneuver around the horses;
○ Follow horse safety rules;
○ Demonstrate knowledge of Calontir equestrian game rules and set up;
○ Run and score the games; and
○ Help with the horses in an emergency situation.
● There are special rules for minors:
○ In general, minors may not be ground crew or lead a horse for a mounted individual.
○ Minors with sufficient equestrian experience who are aged 10 to 15 can act as ground crew with the approval of the Equestrian Marshal in Charge of an event and under the direct supervision of a Marshal.
○ Minors aged 10 to 15 who are acting as ground crew are not allowed in the arena or list field when horses are actually present and competing.
○ Minors 16 and older can be authorized as ground crew, but may not be an Equestrian Marshal or lead a horse for a mounted individual.
○ All minors must have a legal guardian present at the equestrian area, at every event in which they participate, including serving as ground crew. The minor's legal guardian must sign a waiver authorizing the minor to participate in the equestrian activities.
● Safely Handling Equipment and Weapons
○ When handing off equipment to a rider, the rider should come to a STOP.
○ When handing off equipment (whether a sword or a lance) hold the equipment in two hands straight up and down (perpendicular to the ground)—make sure to leave room on the handle for the rider to grab the equipment.
○ Sometimes the rider may not bring the horse to a stop close enough for you to hand off equipment without moving—if this happens, walk carefully towards the horse's head and shoulder with the equipment held straight up and down to hand the equipment to the rider.
● Maneuver Around the Horses/Follow Horse Safety Rules/Help in an Emergency Situation
○ Prior to a rider beginning the course, the Marshal on the field will call out "Groundcrew, are you ready?"—recheck your area (the wind may cause targets previously replaced to fall off) and respond clearly and loudly either "Ready, Clear, Yes" and a raised arm if the course is reset and there are no hazards OR a loud clear "Hold" if there are any hazards or you are not finished resetting the course. Once the entire field is clear, the Marshal will instruct the rider to proceed.
○ Always pay attention to where the horses are when in the equestrian area and especially if you are assisting in the arena—be aware that the horse or rider may not see you.
○ Do not walk directly behind the horse (it is best to leave 10 feet of space between you and the horse's rear).
○ If you are on the ground and a horse steps on your foot, do not try to pull your foot out from under the horse—often the horse will move off your foot once it realizes it has stepped on you. If the horse does not move on its own, LEAN slowly but firmly into the shoulder of the horse until it shifts its weight then remove your foot from under the horse's stepping area.
○ If you are in the arena and at any time feel unsafe, back away from the situation, leave the arena, and talk to the Equestrian running the challenge or the Equestrian Marshal in Charge of the event.
○ If a horse gets loose—do NOT run after it, report the situation to the horse's owner (if you know who that is) or the Equestrian Marshal in Charge of the event.
● Demonstrate Knowledge of Calontir Equestrian Games/Run and Score the Game
○ The Equestrian running the challenge you are assisting with will choose the activities, the format of the challenge, and the scoring—it is helpful to arrive 30 minutes prior to when the competition begins to help with any course set-up.
○ Before the challenge begins, the Equestrian in charge of the challenge will explain the details to the competition entrants; listen to this explanation as it will include the course set-up and scoring for the challenge.
○ After the rider has finished the course, when resetting the part of the course you have been assigned report the appropriate points to the scorekeeper.
○ A summary of some of the most common games that may be used as part of a challenge is below—for a more complete list, see the Calontir Equestrian Handbook.
Overview of Common Equestrian Games
● Rings—Riders try to spear rings of different sizes suspended from a standard using a ring lance, often the course has riders make two passes at the rings. Only rings that remain on the lance after the passes are complete should be counted. When resetting the rings report the score to the scorekeeper noting the size as well as amount of the rings remaining on the lance and return the lance to where the riders pick it up. Depending on the type of standard used, a taller person or stepstool may be needed to reach the ring attachments to reset the rings.
● Quintain—Riders hit a shield target with a lance (often a different type of lance than a ring lance). If the design of the quintain involves a rotating arm on a post, the number of rotations of the arm should be counted and reported to the scorekeeper. Make sure when resetting the quintain that the shield is placed for the rider to hit it (this is especially important to watch on windy days) and the lance is returned to where the riders pick it up.
● Reeds—Riders use a sword to knock down sticks of varying heights in a row or double row. If the reeds are different sizes, when reporting the score to the scorekeeper state the size as well as the number of reeds knocked down. If the rider hits the standard that the target is placed on, report that to the scorekeeper. After each rider, the reeds will need to be put back upright and the sword returned to where the riders pick it up.
● Heads—Riders weave between standards using a sword to strike foam heads off of the standards. If you are assigned to this area, watch the riders to make sure they weave between each of the standards—report whether the rider missed any weaves along with the number of heads knocked off to the scorekeeper. If the rider hits the standard that the target is placed on, report that to the scorekeeper. After each rider, the foam heads will need to be placed on the standards and the sword returned to where the riders pick it up.
● Axe Throw—Riders throw boffer axes at a target (e.g. foam heads) placed on a standard while riding past the target from a specific distance. If you are assigned to this area, watch to make sure the rider throws the axes from the location specified by the Equestrian running the challenge as well as counting the number of targets hit. If the rider hits the standard that the target is placed on, report that to the scorekeeper. After each rider, the targets will need to be set back on the standards and the axes returned to where the riders pick them up.
● Thread the Needle—Riders toss a short pole through an upright ring balanced on a standard, and attempt to catch the pole on the other side without upsetting the ring. Riders only receive points if they catch the short pole and the ring remains on the standard. After each rider, the rings will need to be reset on the standards and the pole returned to where the riders pick it up.
Tips and Hints
● Wear closed toe shoes, preferably ones with hard leather toes.
● Keep a mug of water around you at the event to drink in between riders—the water bearers do not always make it out to the equestrians. If the arena is dusty, it helps to have a lid for your mug (you can bring some fabric to cover your mug if it doesn't have a lid; Historic Enterprises sells linen lids coated with beeswax that look appropriate for events).
● Wear sunscreen and a hat! The arenas are frequently unshaded, leaving you standing out in the sun.
● Immediately alert the Equestrian running the challenge or the Equestrian Marshal in Charge of the event if you notice any dangerous condition—this could be as simple as a hole in the ground that a horse could trip in.
● If you have any questions—just ask! Look for an experienced ground crew member, the Equestrian running the challenge, or the Equestrian Marshal in Charge of the event.
● SCA Equestrian Handbook: http://sca.org/officers/equestrian/pdf/equestrian_handbook.pdf
● Calontir Equestrian Handbook:
● Calontir Equestrian Web Site:
● Calontir Equestrian List:
Copyright 2015 by Tiffany Parrett. <Eowyth at GMail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.