Horseplay

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
abaddon1974
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: Lincoln

Horseplay

Post by abaddon1974 »

Could someone offer me some advice please.

I have just started exercising a horse for a lady. She knows that I am a 15th century re-enactor and is of the opinion that her horse would be perfect for jousting and re-enactment. She has even offered to transport the horse to and from events for me if I can use it at the odd event.
How can I find out if the horse would be suitable?
Here is a bit of information about the horse. Donnata is a 15hh 12 year old Pre Andalusian mare. She is of the more traditional build so is shorter and stocky than most modern Andalusians.
She is very calm and not phased by anything, but will still go from standing still to canter if required.
Her only fault is that she is a head shaker but this is medicated for.
I also agree with her owner and think that Donnata would be a good re-enactment horse but have no idea where to start with the mounted side of things.

Any one able to offer any advice?

Craig

User avatar
Neil of Ormsheim
Posts: 425
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:37 pm
Location: Deepest Darkest Leeds

Re: Horseplay

Post by Neil of Ormsheim »

Ask your local group to come along in kit and stand quiety in battle formation and walk the horse up to them to gayge the reaction. If this is OK, gradually increase the noise/movment levels of the warriors and the speed of approach by the horse. This is how horses are checked out at smaller Hastings / cavalry other bashes by the Vike and seems quite good at sorting the bomb-proof from the nervous.
Lurv 'n' Kizzez

User avatar
Phil the Grips
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2000
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:01 pm
Location: Auld Reekie- capital village o' Jockland
Contact:

Re: Horseplay

Post by Phil the Grips »

That sort of thing is a looong way down the line for horses and reenactment training- stuff like getting used to flags, waving objects, the sound of fletchings rubbing together (sends the horses I work with daft- simple answer is to tie a sheaf old arrows to their hayfeeder and they get used to it eventually), bows twanging, gunshot and so on are much more required before you start doing big stuff like that.

I ain't an expert, or even a keen amateur, but folk like Andy Robertson and so on are. Try PMing them.
--Angels also carry weapons--
http://www.blackboarswordsmanship.co.uk/

Joram van Essen
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:38 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Horseplay

Post by Joram van Essen »

Hi Craig

I have trained a few horses and riders for jousting and medieval battle demonstrations, including one andalusian stallion. Sounds like Donnata has a lot of potential, both for looks and temperment. Both Phils advice of starting off smaller and Neils advise for getting the horse ready for battle re-enactments (once it has done the smaller stuff) are on the right track. First off each horse reacts differently to training methods so whatever you do you have to gauge the horses response at all times to decide how to continue. So keep that in mind for the following. First off start small and build up introduce new things one at a time and in an an environemen tthe horse feels safe in, that way they are less likely to be phased by the new thing.

Get a sack filled with straw, have that on the ground, get the horse used to riding around it, then have someone on the ground pass it to you, build up so that you can throw it bak and forth while the horse is working and listening to your aids. Next have towel on the ground walk around it. Then have a person on the ground holding it still, then waving it gently, then pasining it back and fowards between you and them. Get the horse comfortable with the towel and the sack being passed over its head between its legs over its back. Do the same thing with short sticks, then long poles (spears). Now depending on the horse this could take anywhere from 10minutes to 10 weeks, so you have do judge how the horse responds, the important thing is not to let the horse get stressed out at anytime during the process.

Once the horse is at this level you should be able to start swinging the stick around while riding, get the horse used in particular to the stick swing past its eyes and over it head, while working for you and listening to your aids. Use the same process for introducing armour, first with you on the ground holding bits of it then wearing bits while leading the horse, grooming etc. Wear bits at a time while riding so they get used to the noise. At this time also start working with sticks and/or swords clanging together while riding. Again judge the horses reactions for how fast to procced.

Once the horse is usd to all this then you are ready to start working on skill at arms games, and introducing another horse and more people on the ground. But for each new element remember to introduce one new thing at a time and in a place the horse is comfortable with.

Hope that helps. Also there are a number of good trainers and cavalry groups around the UK who would be worth contacting such as Dominic Sewell http://www.historicequitation.com/ or Destrier http://www.destrier.org.uk/.

abaddon1974
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: Lincoln

Re: Horseplay

Post by abaddon1974 »

We have started doing a little bit today and will take it slowly and build things up bit by bit.
My aim is to be able to do a little bit of a skill at arms display for next years season.

What in everyones view constitutes the parts of skill at arms?

Sections I have seen others demonstrate include.

Killing cabbages from horseback.
Throwing javelins at a target on the ground.
Jousting at the quintain.
Jousting at rings

I know that I must be missing some, can anyone fill in the gaps?

Now to try and convince the local site manager that she needs a horse on site for events.

I almost forgot to say.

Thanks for the help everyone

User avatar
The Methley Archer
Posts: 299
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:32 pm
Location: Methley, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Horseplay

Post by The Methley Archer »

You just don't stop do you Craig :o
Daughters are a fathers punishment for being a man

abaddon1974
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: Lincoln

Re: Horseplay

Post by abaddon1974 »

No one else has ever been daft enough to offer me a horse to take to re-enactments before. It seems like too good an oppertunity to miss.
Just need to convince Angie to let one into the castle now.

User avatar
The Methley Archer
Posts: 299
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 3:32 pm
Location: Methley, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
Contact:

Re: Horseplay

Post by The Methley Archer »

LOL. Good look with that :D
Daughters are a fathers punishment for being a man

gds13metal
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:37 pm

Re: Horseplay

Post by gds13metal »

hi, you said Donnata was a head shaker and was medicated for it, do you know what causes the head shaking? have you tried kiniesiolgy (spelt wrong i think)
here is the number of probably the best equine practioner in the country, shes worked wonders with my boy (cronic mud fever, reacuring bad back and hoof injury)
and my friends mare(reacuring lamanitic and sweet-itch) 2 years on and no problems! her name is tam 01545 571523
im hoping to be able to do a show or 2 next year with my boy 16'2 and spotty gary

User avatar
Zachos
Posts: 424
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:34 pm

Re: Horseplay

Post by Zachos »

One piece of advice: Never take anything for granted: One horse i was training was fine with big thick lances but didn't like smaller ones. Go figure.

Also, I'm probably telling you something you already know, but always try to end on a good note. Don't push it to the extent that you're both dreading the next lesson.
Slowly realizing just how far is still to go.

abaddon1974
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: Lincoln

Re: Horseplay

Post by abaddon1974 »

I will have a look at the different therapies available for her to see if we can get rid of the headshaking. It's gone at the moment so it would appear to be pollen related not nerve or any of the other causes.
Not much of an update as far a Donata goes but we can now ride one handed quite happily and even swing short and long sticks around while mounted without her batting an eyelid.
Might try and rig up some targets to aim at with sticky things so she gets used to hearing an impact as she goes past.
It looks like if the public sector cuts don't make me unemployed then Donata will soon be my horse as the owner has offered to give her to me along with all of her tack rugs etc.

Craig

User avatar
Andy R
Post Centurion
Posts: 826
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:45 am
Location: Farnham, Surrey
Contact:

Re: Horseplay

Post by Andy R »

abaddon1974 wrote: It looks like if the public sector cuts don't make me unemployed then Donata will soon be my horse as the owner has offered to give her to me along with all of her tack rugs etc.

Craig
Yay..!!

But it usually the keeping that will bankrupt you. This winter is going to be shite due to the availablity of hay and grazing. Differs from one part of the country to another, but on the whole the price of hay has gone through the roof.

Skill at arms - 3" peg with a lance, rings and peg with sword and lance, and balloons, dummies, rings and pegs (with added jumps for that little bit extra) with sword, lance and revolver. All done with extension as you get marked down for going sloooooooooow.

Okay, muddy-evil types do other stuff as well, but I hate seeing it done slowly - slow takes the skill out of skill at arms. Treat it as a martial art where you are trying to deliver a killing blow, not tap a gabbage or hold a sword out lamely to the side to take a ring.

With training my horses the key thing is to advance and retreat. If they do not like something back off and re-introduce it later, slowly desensitizing the horse and build it's confidence with you and it's surrouondings. Getting the horse to follow scary things rather than have them behind also helps. Some horses are naturally bold but the same principles apply. I went with my boy from introducing revolvers to going over jumps shooting balloons in one afternoon, but I was lucky in that respect.

Doing SAA runs took longer as he veered off from the target when doing it at speed. (and only started doing it at his first competition when I was running against the army damnit) but it just took getting used to what he was doing, blocking his shoulder with my outside knee was all it took and bridging the reins rather than running them trough my hands so I could take up more of a contact on one rein or the other as required.

Good luck with it all, and keep us all informed of your progress :thumbup:


Cheers,
Andy
Young men have often been ruined through owning horses, or through backing them, but never through riding them: unless of course they break their necks, which, taken at a gallop, is a very good death to die

http://www.16ld.org

LucyRose
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:26 pm

Re: Horseplay

Post by LucyRose »

Hi Craig, (apologies for the mega length of reply but hopefully some of this will help)
welcome to the world of squished toes, the perminent smell of manure and being broke :-) I kid. Horses are wonderful reenactment buddies but there are some biggies that go along with it -cost being a major - also there are new transport rules in place that not a lot of people don't know about which will affect you if you earn any sort on money through use of a horse! including the possibility of additional transport tests and DEFRa checks/paperwork which you should officially have in place! Bit of a minefield so make sure you're covered.

All the above advice is super sound but the most important aspects (which you already know) you will need to consider is safety and the fact that a horse is massively unpredictable (some people say they're very clever, others say they're really dumb) but they can go from being fine with trebs and muskets and then freak at a daffodil!

Just a point with Mares, at certain points in the season they may be a little more hard work than the lads if you get my meaning! from personal experience I have found geldings and stallions easier work than mares but that's down to the animal you're working with.

Key bit of advice - make it fun and safe for the horse and they enjoy the challenege - a horse is a pack animal, bound by flight - which generally means if it don't like it - it's getting the hell outa there (most have this repsonse - only a few are nuts enough to go "bring it on!"). They are also routine bunnies by nature (usually) so a change in routine may unsettle the average horse so be aware of this - in addition they are not natural reaonsers (meaning if they hurt themselves on a gate they do not think "if I slow down I won't get hurt" they're more likely to think "the quicker I get it over with the less time it hurts") knowing this can sometimes help your training routine.

Start small (flags usually really p*** horses off so start with them) smoke from shoeing is a great start for getting used to smoke/fires in general - most are miffed by tents - if you can set one up in their field and supervise random wondering (on lead) that way they wont freak at an encampment.

These are the obvious ones but thinngs we learnt the hard way... If you are into medieval armour - get them use to the swish sound that maille makes on plate and when riding in plate, make sure you move in and out of the sadle gently as the weight ratio and sound will be different.

Horses work well in an environment of trust - you need to replace either mum or pack leader so act like one (ie be super calm and in charge) also, make it fun - Parelli (nothing new but good system) is a good style - e.g. vocal commands, playing games on foot (tig etc) without tack to bond and then trying more complex stuff with reward (which can be treat - watch the weight - or just love/groom etc) will challenge your horse and they'll love you for it - You want neddy to look to you for guidance rather than thinking "b**ger this I'm off" and you'll then have a horse that is willing enough to trust that whatever you bring to the table is fine to try out.

Hope this is of some help x

Mark Griffin
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 4242
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:28 pm
Location: Wales. Only just!
Contact:

Re: Horseplay

Post by Mark Griffin »

Why not pop along to some of the existing training centres and see what they do and ask advice? Tournament stud for one, or Atkinsons Action Horses if you are oop north.

As for training exercises for war or hunting:

Killing cabbages from horseback. No proof for medieval that I know of. Train horse to horse or horse to ground troops. Routing troops do not stand still in a line. Possible for the later periods, its documented but as for training for mounted combat, thats what the behord is for. And mighty good fun it is.
Throwing javelins at a target on the ground. Bit rubbish, use a lance or have a raised target. You are not killing mens feet, hedgehogs or other tings that crawl on the ground. A deers heart is a good 4ft high, as is a mans. Use a javelin/dart that is a decent length and design and if using a lance do not adopt 19th cent military style, not its tent pegging.
Jousting at the quintain. Fine, but use a decent quintain that gives you and the horse the chance to hit something solid with intent to kill or break a lance, not a tap.
Jousting at rings Later, see below:

The whole 'squires games/hunting skills' is a modern anachronism and has developed into a woeful farago. It should also be done at speed, with panache and to mimic the conditions for war or the hunt. Saw some last year that would have embarrassed 12 year olds at a pony club gymkhana. Unfortunately the perfectly correct 'carousel' of the late 16th and onwards has got mixed up with the need to give those who can ride but do not have an armour the chance to have a go. That's perfectly laudable but I feel training for the hunt should be done as a matter of natural progression through attending hunts (speaking in period terms, not the artificial need to give the audience something to see in the morning) and if you must show training it should be skills with the horse such as formations, manouvering techniques etc. Not self indulgent twaddle at a walk/trot using made up exercises and melons from the supermarket.
http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

User avatar
Andy R
Post Centurion
Posts: 826
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:45 am
Location: Farnham, Surrey
Contact:

Re: Horseplay

Post by Andy R »

Mark Griffin wrote:The whole 'squires games/hunting skills' is a modern anachronism and has developed into a woeful farago. It should also be done at speed, with panache and to mimic the conditions for war
And a gold star for Mr G...!!!

I hate and despise slow skill at arms as it removes the "skill" from the equation. Better to go fast and miss than mince about at a slow pace so you can hit everything.

Heard arguments about period documents saying that hunting games should be at a collected canter, but nothing you hunt can be chased at a collected canter.

It also gives no "wow" factor - regardless of how period the exercise you are doing is, if you are doing it for the public you need to make them go wow, and going slow just doesn't do that.

Look at it as a martial art where you want to get a decent killing cut/thrust in - treat it like that and it makes the whole thing look/feal better.
Young men have often been ruined through owning horses, or through backing them, but never through riding them: unless of course they break their necks, which, taken at a gallop, is a very good death to die

http://www.16ld.org

Mark Griffin
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 4242
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:28 pm
Location: Wales. Only just!
Contact:

Re: Horseplay

Post by Mark Griffin »

Foam rubber deer, bath sponge piglets, boar that get cpr after the fatal blow (on the 10th attempt) and similar sundry self indulgent antics really bug me. Its on a par with squires chucking supposedly steel coronels up and down the tiltyard like ballboys at wimbledon.

Having just been commissioned by a client to do some 'hunting' games at a site for the Aug Bank Holiday I had a look on YouTube for examples. Yikes! From my point of view, why spent £10k plus on harness, kit, tack, lessons and horse hire then to p*ss about making an *rse of yourself? I like the roar of the crowd, not hearing it giggling nervously as

Heard arguments about period documents saying that hunting games should be at a collected canter, but nothing you hunt can be chased at a collected canter.
Absolutely. It maybe that there is a clue in the phrase 'the thrill of the chase'. Trying to follow an animal at full pelt for some time will hopefully wear it out bring it to bay for the finish. But even so its not going to sit there but at the same time, having squires running around a group of mounted riders with a thing on a string with sharp lances and horses legs everywhere scares the willies out of me.
http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

User avatar
STEENIE
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:17 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire

Re: Horseplay

Post by STEENIE »

There are a bunch of things I do, which come out of source of the time of the C17th and also assists me in other periods.

1. Fly 6 foot by 6foot cloth flags at the entrance to the field. Simulates foote colours
2. Have foote units train in the field where the horses are
3. Bang a drum on the yard near the horses when in the stables
4. Feed the horse off the drum head
5. Put crow scarers in their fields and let them pop off as and when.
6. Take the horse to as many horse shows as possible as this accustoms the hors to crowds


just a few things I do
We feast upon those that seek to subdue us. (Adams Family motto but suits my family exactly)

Post Reply