The Jousting Life

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some Jousters and Their Jousting Horses

Recently on FaceBook, some jouster friends of mine started posting pictures and telling brief stories about the horses that they have used for jousting. Horses are vitally important to the sport of jousting, yet there doesn't seem to be much attention paid to them online. So I'm creating a list of horses used in jousting with, hopefully, a little information about each of them. It's obviously not a complete list, but I will try to include as many jousting horses and their stories as I can. Feel free to email me with pictures and stories about your jousting horses to be included.

Ann Harrington Shilling and Knarr
"Knarr. He was not my horse, but I was kindly loaned him for a couple of years and he taught me a lot. He was about 35 in this photo, still going strong." -- Ann Harrington Shilling

Andre Renier and Riley
"Rilius "Riley" Maximus - When Riley came into my life I had no intention of jousting with him. Several years before I had put out an add for a horse that began with, "Utility horse wanted..." and ended with. "I don't mind if they're smarter than me as long they don't rub it in my face." L dale Walter called me one day to tell me of a horse that was perfect for me. Riley is perfect for me. When I arrive each day at the barn we greet each other from across the many acres. Walking toward each other for a hug and then back to the barn to begin our day. While I am an accomplished rider he continues to teach me daily. His patience and understanding have made me a better man. His friendship has made me a better friend. My hope, is that in some small way, I am able to return the gifts." -- Andre Renier

Arthur Smith and his horses
"I have had 2 main mounts in my 6 years. The first was a spotted draft named Whisper. She was great, But I was new and MAN did she have my number! She could drop me 1 out of 5 passes my first two years. She'd stop right at the point of impact when I was not concentrating on her, I'd come off, and she'd look at me like, "What?" lol" -- Arthur Smith

"My second mainstay is my Clydesdale Elijah. He's a big old puppy dog. Use to be I was the only one that could get him to work. I think he and I were just on the same wave length: lazy when we can get away with it!" -- Arthur Smith

Bill Woodford and the horses he's ridden



Bobbie Patterson and Apollo
"What can I say about Apollo... he is my equine soul-mate, he can make me laugh and cry, I am blessed to have such a talented horse as my mount, a true Spanish Andalusian, trained and shown in Spain and the Netherlands, until he was imported into the U.S. Having a mind of his own took him out of the dressage ring and into the Joust arena... he's my boy, I love him." -- Bobbie Patterson

Charlie Andrews and Jaegermeister

Dale Walter and Brenin
"Brenin is a 8 year old Belgian/Quarter cross who has been referred to as a "hay burning dragster" due to his unbelievable speed and acceleration ESPECIALLY for a horse his size. Brenin is the finest horse I have ever ridden, and he LOVES the competition of jousting. He and I have been an inseperable team from day one." -- Dale Walter

Dave Wise and Ladybug

David Mesimer and Reggie
"Here is a pic of Me and my jousting Tennessee Walking Horse,Reggie. I'm the Program Director for EAFK in the Carolinas. We are new to the jousting world." -- David Mesimer

David Young and Boccaccio
"This is Boccaccio. 12 year old Thoroughbred/Percheron cross. Unfortunately, my lance is shooting blanks in this photo." -- David Young

Dustin Stephens and Sampson

Dusty Martel and Vego

Elizabeth A Laubhan and Sweet Zorro
"This is me with my Sweet Zorro. He is a Welsh pony Missouri Fox Trotter cross. He is just under 14 hands but doesn't know it. He loves facing down the big horses in he list and does not bat an eye" -- Elizabeth A Laubhan

Federico Serna and Captain

Heather Perillo and Darktanion
"Darktanion is a 15 year old friesian stallion. He is trained in lower level dressage and is our breeding stallion at New Horizons Ranch. We thought we'd see how he liked the joust field in 2011. Both of us were brand new to the jousting world, and, after only 6 lessons, we did an 8 weekend season at a local renn faire competing in the Skills-At-Arms. After the faire ended, we proceeded to compete at Lysts on the Lake 2011, where we ended up placing in the middle of the ranks for the Skills-At-Arms. He was used by a different rider for the joust during the renn faire season and did very well in that also. All in all, He's proven himself a wonderful joust horse and I look forward to having him as my partner for years to come." -- Heather Perillo

Jefferson Pike and Frankie
"This is Frankie...a 16.3 Thoroughbred who was left in a field to die and was basically a skeleton. Now he is my wingman and is incredible in the lists, jousting since day one in the tiltyard. Schoolkids love his story, and he's a great horse for training our new riders. At 20 yrs old, he's been jousting for about two years now." -- Jefferson Pike

Joel Hill's horse Ares
"This is Ares. 16.3hh Knabstrupper, Warmblood, Thoroughbred cross. We're both learning how to train to joust and do the games which is becoming an adventure to say the least." -- Joel Hill

Kelly Hicks and Sam
"Sam is 12 years young now, at 16.3hh. Shortly after I started jousting, I started looking for a prospective mount. The first horse I looked at was Sam. Very under weight, and unhealthy, I knew there was something special about him, so I took a chance and bought him, and boy was I right! After 2 months of training, we both were competing in tournaments, and winning several matches. He has proven to be worth his weight in gold to me, and I don't think there is any other horse I would rather joust off of than him!" -- Kelly Hicks

Krissie England and Loki

Matt Daniel and Rock
"This is Rock. When he isn't jousting, he works as a patrol horse in Houston. I don't think I've ever been on a better horse." -- Matt Daniel

Ryan Saathoff and Ziggy
"When I first met Ziggy, he was 150 pounds underweight, covered in rain rot and had serious problems with ulcers. I knew the moment I saw him that he was a very sweet horse in spite of the neglect he had suffered, and that there was no way in hell we were going home with an empty trailer. He's taught me so much about being a good horseman, and at 24, he's still going strong! I don't think I could have asked for a better first horse." -- Ryan Saathoff

Scott Wilson and Pocket

Sean Gullick and Red

Shawn Morrow and Starbuck

Steve Hemphill and his horses
"This is Lucky. 19 year old, 15.2hh, American QH, my first jousting horse and I've ridden him since 2003. He can turn on a dime so he's fantastic at the games and the melee. I also do eventing and dressage with him. He knows his job and loves his job. When I close my visor and take up a lance it's all I can do to keep him from heading down the tilt." -- Steve Hemphill

"This is the newcomer "Tinkerbell"...a 9 year old, 16.3hh, Friesian/Percheron mare. I wasn't looking for a new jousting horse but she fell into my lap after I had watched her for a year before buying her. She was perfect for the joust so I swept her up, trained her and we rode to victory as the winners of the joust at "Lysts on the Lake" 2011 one month later. I'm currently training with her in dressage but her idea of "jumping" is more like "bull dozing"! She's strong, dedicated and has a heart of gold. Some of her fans have given her the motto "Tinkerbell go SMASH!"" -- Steve Hemphill

Steve Martel and Aries

Tiffany Geissendorff and Ladybug

Virginia Hankins and Casanova
"Casanova stole my heart the first day I saw him. He was standing on a hill over a herd of horses in pasture one day when I was driving to the barn. It was like one of the beautiful black stallions from my childhood dreams had suddenly come to life. You can imagine my delight a few months later when I was in the market for a new stunt horse and he was in the line of animals to try out. My Azteca is the most fun-loving and people-friendly horse I've ever met; I absolutely adore him. He greets me every morning with a whinny and a hug and will even make funny faces when I'm feeling down!" -- Virginia Hankins
(Photo by Andrew Nimrod)

In Memoriam

Duke (ridden by Steve Weems in photo)
"To Duke,
Never Faltering, Ever Steady, Always waited patiently at the end of the list until I was ready. You were the heart that keep me warm with your soft cheek against my face and your calming breath on my neck, and you always watched for me to show you what was next. We put our faith in each other, and though that we gained strength & trust, building a bond such as no other. Now that you have taken your leave with an eternal rest, I will always remember you as one of the best.
May you rest in peace my most dedicated Friend, Companion, and Partner" -- Steve Weems

Sadly, Duke passed away in February 2012 due to complications from cancer. He will be sorely missed by many in the jousting community. Click here to see the Duke's memorial page.

Zeus (ridden by Steve Weems in photo)
"Yesterday [April 21, 2010] was a sad day. We had to Lay Zeus to rest due to Cancer that had caused his lungs to fill with fluid. He was 13 years old.

Anyone that had ever seen Zeus was awe inspired not only by his size but also his Presence and Speed. He was 18.2 hands tall, weighed close to 2100 lbs and could run as fast as an Arabian. In fact he beat an Arabian in a flat out race once. Zeus Definitely lived up to his name for he was a god among horses. To joust on him was always an adventure. With his sheer size and speed it often made opposing knights uncomfortable to have to Joust against him. He would take off at a charge so quickly that a "whip lash effect would travel through my Armour causing it to sound like a metal "Bullwhip". Lances would sometimes fly 30-40 feet backwards from the speed and virtuosity of a well placed hit!

Zeus had a "child like" personality and would act up on occasion. Only if you proved to him that you were really his partner and were working together then he would shine. He would require an extra effort on the part of the handler/rider but when that connection was made, he would really prove what an incredible animal he really was! Anything not worth working for is not worth having! Zeus had a non stop attitude and would run and run, even with abscesses and torn ligaments, he would not stop. I once did 11 non stop Passes with him and he charged full speed on everyone of them while my opponent's horse would "trot" down.

He has also been immortalized in the Music Video "N' Dey Say" by Nelly, and a International Print Ad for the "Honda Ruin" Motorcycle. He has traveled the county competing in Jousting Shows Entertaining thousands and thousands of people. He may have passed at a young age but he has done more than most humans. "The Light that burns twice as bright burns half as long" and he has ever burned so brightly!

When he was sedated yesterday before being euthanized, He lay down and I held his head in my lap and arms while he passed.

May you forever charge through the heavens." -- Steve Weems


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