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Horse-Events-art - 12/15/10


"SCA Equestrian Events - Everyone is Responsible for Success" by Lady Lyonet Lamoureux.


NOTE: See also the files: Int-Equestran-art, Horse-Games-art, Horse-Barding-art, horses-msg, Horse-n-t-MA-art, horses-bib, horses-lnks, p-horses-bib, saddles-msg, Stirrups-Hist-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


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.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



This article is part of a series of articles originally written for "The Avantgarde", the newsletter for the Principality of Avacal in the Kingdom of An Tir.


All the rules quoted here are based on the "An Tir Book of the Horse", which is the handbook of equestrian rules for the Kingdom of An Tir. Much of it is common in other kingdoms, but you should check your local rules and regulations before starting any equestrian activities.



SCA Equestrian Events -

Everyone is Responsible for Success

Lady Lyonet Lamoureux


Holding an equestrian event, while adding a new element to the game, also brings new responsibilities for everyone, especially event coordinators and horse owners, but spectators need to be aware of their part as well.  Rules exist to govern interaction with horses at an event.  Unfortunately, most horses have not read those rules, so it falls upon us humans to manage the interaction.


Spectator Responsibilities:


Ok, in this case it is all fun and games.  But to ensure the safety of yourself and others, here are some points to ponder.


Etiquette – When around horses one should try to limit shouting running and aggressive behaviour.  Dancers, some horses are unsettled by bells, so keep that in mind if you plan to wear your jewelry near them.  In an equestrian area, always ask handlers before interacting with a horse.  When out and about, horses will have footmen to clear a path, or will be wearing bells to warn pedestrians.  They may not always have the right of way, but please consider allowing them to pass first.  It can prevent problems before they happen.  If the handler doesn’t allow you to pet the horse it’s because a waiver needs to be signed before you can interact with horses.  They are not trying to be mean.


Safety – Many people already have basic knowledge of how to behave around horses, but there are some special cases to note in the SCA.  Ribbons:  A ribbon attached to bridle (head area) marks a horse that bites.  A ribbon attached to a tail marks a kicker.  Ribbons on either side of the saddle marks a stallion (breeding male), this means that the horse MAY be more unpredictable, and extra attention should be paid.  Standard list field rules apply in the equestrian arena.  If you are not sure if something is safe, ask the owners’ or marshals’ advice.


Signage – All Equestrian Areas (defined as a place where horses will be present at some time during the event, i.e. stabling area, tourney site) will be marked by a sign.  There may also be other signs in high traffic areas.  Pay attention to these signs and proceed as directed.  Teach your kids what to look for.


Waivers – If there is a chance that you may come into contact with horses at the event or enter an ‘equestrian area’, you will need to complete a general equestrian waiver.  This may include attending the games as a spectator.  The waivers may be available at troll or the main equestrian site.


Event Coordinator Responsibilities:


Adding equestrian activities to your event is not just a matter of advertising that you can bring your horse to such-and-such event.  You are responsible for complying with the An Tir rules regarding equestrian at events.  Below is a brief list of what you will need to consider.


First Step – Contact the autocrat and find out if they want to have horses at their event.  Make sure that the site will allow horses to be present.  In some cases, you will want to hold equestrian activities but the site is not appropriate due to by-laws, poor ground condition or lack of space.  In this case an off-site tourney location may be an option.  Remember that it may impact attendance, spectators, types of activities and the insurance requirements.


Insurance – Once you have confirmed where and when the equestrian event will be held you must get an insurance certificate.  Detailed instructions for ordering it are in the An Tir Book of the Horse (ABotH) and on the An Tir Equestrian website.  Remember to include the exact location of all equestrian activities (stabling, tourney, processions, etc.) and note the exact times that horses are allowed access to the site.


Activities – Decide which games you will include in the tourney.  Will horses be used in processions?  Will there be classes or authorizations?  Will trail riding be offered?  Will there be different skill categories?  If you expect to get minors, you may want to arrange games specifically for them since in many cases special equipment is required.  An estimate of attendance will help you decide how much time you have and how many games you can manage in the time slots given to you.  Remember to advertise your equestrian event.  If no horses show up because no one knows about it, then all the work was for nothing.


Staff – Once you know what you are running, then you need to assemble your staff.  You will need 1 senior marshal to act as EqMIC (equestrian marshal in charge) and possibly 1 or more senior or junior marshals to aid in the running of the tourney.  Try to estimate the number of groundcrew you will need.  The more complicated the course, the more crew you will need.  Most riders will also be authorized groundsmen, and can easily be counted on to help out when other riders are on the course.  You may also need help with site preparation (mowing, hole filling, etc) depending on the facilities available.


Equipment – Make a detailed list of the equipment required for the games you are planning.  As a general rule the riders are responsible for their own weapons and horse care tools, but the organizers should be prepared to provide the remaining equipment such as standards (heads, reeds, rings), list field ropes, quintain, weapon stands, etc.  You may also want to provide loaner weapons for those who have not yet developed their own.  Don’t forget minors, who will need special equipment to participate legally.  You do not need to have all the equipment yourself.  The area you are from may have equipment as well as some of the riders.  You just need to coordinate the loan and arrival of the items.


Horse Care – Owners are primarily responsible for the care of their animals, however, making sure that water is available, sufficient space for stabling and trailer parking, and possibly some area where the horses can be turned out for exercise would be appreciated by the owners.  You will also want to confirm that a vet/farrier will be available during the time of the event, and their contact info must be posted where owners/handlers can find it.  You may also want to consider vaccination requirements.  Check with local vets to see if there are any diseases going around and advise owners accordingly.  Post such requirements well in advance to be sure the owners have time to get vaccinations done.


Safety – This category could be an article in itself.  Use common sense when making preparations.  If you are not a skilled horseman then consult with your marshal or the equestrian community in general.  They will be able to guide you in making the proper arrangements to meet the An Tir safety requirements. Remember that you may have to make concessions to play safely.  For example, that huge banner at the starting post may look great, but it’s probably not the best place to plant it.


Signage – There are specific rules regarding signage at an event, and these rules should be used at minimum.  Additional signs can be added to increase the ease of equine traffic at an event.  Consult the ABotH for details.


Site – Evaluate your space.  You will need room to hold your tourney and ‘stable’ the horses.  Don’t forget that grooming and tacking will need some space as well as a staging area for horses to wait while others are on the course.  You will also need a parking area for trailers reasonably close to the tacking area as many trailers also double as tack rooms.


Set Up – Horses have special needs.  They can’t drink from a bottle, so troughs should be made available, with plenty of water, or advise owners to bring their own.  Any areas where horses are expected to be for long periods of time should be mowed, especially the tourney field.  Gopher holes need to be filled and any potentially hazardous terrain should be marked in some way.  Is the ground hard or soft?  Advise the owners that shoes may/may not be needed. Will bug spray or portable shade be needed?  These are things that owners will need to know.


Waivers – Anyone who has a reasonable chance of coming in contact with a horse at an SCA event must sign a waiver, for example riders, marshals, groundsmen, handlers, spectators, royals (for procession) and so on.  Examples of these can be found on the An Tir Equestrian website.  These waivers must be submitted by the EqMIC with their event report so it might not be wise to simply leave a stack at Troll and expect everyone to complete one, but this may be best for large events where most of the populace are expected to attend the tourney.


Horse Owner Responsibilities:


Eventing with your horse can be a unique and fulfilling experience, but it’s not just fun, its work too.   While you are away from home, you are responsible for your horse’s welfare and you need to plan accordingly.  Here is a list of some of the things to keep in mind when taking your horse to an event.


Horse Care – Always ensure that you have everything he needs.  Confirm that water will be available, if not pack your own.  What are the stabling facilities, do you need to bring portable stalls? Is hay available onsite?  Pay attention to how much your horse eats and drinks at home.  That way you will know how much you need to pack.  Always bring extra for emergencies.  Evaluate the equipment you will need based on the duration and activities planned.  Also allow for checking in with your horse now and again during the event just to make sure he’s doing alright.


Safety – Pay heed to the marshals.  Period.  When you are in the arena, pay attention to what’s around you.  Try to think ahead and expect the unexpected. See that little girl in the pink dress at the fence?  Expect her to run into the arena during your spear throw and then if it happens, you are ready with a plan.  You know your horse, but eventing is a new experience that can bring out Trigger’s ’not-so-nice’ side.  Make sure your horse is ready.  Desensitize him to weird things, practice with the same equipment at home and socialize him with strangers and other horses.


Etiquette – Treat everyone with respect.  Not every rider is an Olympic class jumper and not every horse is a registered such-and-such, but that doesn’t mean they are beneath you.  Spectators, especially children will hang around you and your horse.  Be sure to treat them with courtesy even when telling them ‘no, you can’t pet the pony right now’.  You may not always agree with a marshal’s decision, but in the arena, their word is law.  You may discuss a decision, not argue, but they get the final call.  Groundsmen are assistants, not slaves. Most will be happy to help, but they are not there to serve you.


Equipment Check List – Not all items will be required at all events.  To save on expense and load size, make arrangements with other equestrians attending the event to split the load, i.e. you bring the hay, and they supply the electric fencing.


- Pre-registration papers (if needed)          - Vaccination Record

- Equestrian Authorization Card                  - Membership Card

- Sign with your contact information


- Electric Fence with Warning Signs, Poles, Hammer, Power Supply

- Portable Paddock (instead of electric fencing)

- Bucket (for water)                                         - Bucket (for feed)

- Bucket or wheelbarrow for waste             - Rake


- Hay, Feed, and Supplements                    - Hay bag

- Small scythe (for cutting grass)                - Water hose

- First aid kit (people and horses)               - Blanket or Cooler

- Medications and/or liniments


- Tack, Barding/caparisons

- Weapons (lance, sword/mace, spear, javelin)

- Riding Helmet (required for some events and for minors)

- Mounted Combat helmet and crest (if required)

- Jousting armor (if required)

- Repair kit, with extra straps, rivets, and buckles


Rider/Handler Responsibilities:


There can be many times when a person finds themselves with someone else’s horse in their care either as a rider or handler, mount loan, medical emergency, processions, for example.  Here are some guidelines on how to deal with that situation.


Horse Care – Follow instructions given by the owner.  Note any behaviour that may be outside the norm for that horse, so that you can report it later.  Visual health inspections for cuts, colic, lameness should be done regularly.


Safety – The instructions listed under Horse Owner Responsibilities apply here as well.  Be extra careful though.  This animal is better known to its owner and you may get an unexpected surprise.


Equipment – Just because you are borrowing someone’s horse does not mean you have to use their equipment too.  Be fair and make an effort to assemble your own weapons and protective gear.


Etiquette – In addition to all forms of etiquette already described above, make certain to listen when the owner directs you to handle the horse a certain way.  In addition to safety, they may be trying to train a horse in a specific manner and being handled differently may cause problems with future training.  If someone loans you their horse, it is often a sign of respect.  Honoring them and the horse in turn can only make the partnership grow.


Have fun!  Be safe!


Lady Lyonet Lamoureux


The writer of this article is always available to answer questions at the email address listed below.



Copyright 2008 by Lya Lamoureux. <lyalamoureux 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.


<the end>


Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org