The Jousting Life

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Remembrance of Kilvarough -- A Great Jousting Horse

On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, Matthew Mansour's jousting partner the Mighty, Mighty Kilvarough passed away. He was a truly great jousting horse and will be sorely missed by the jousting community.

Brian Clark shared this picture of Matthew Mansour and Mighty, Mighty Kilvarough (referred to as MMK) with the title "King of the Wind".


King of the Wind

"It [King of the Wind] is the title from a book that I read in the fourth grade. MMK always reminded of the story when you two took to the field." -- Brian Clark

"There is a special bond between horse and owner that is even greater between a jouster and his steed. They carry us, we rely on them as they rely on us. Once in awhile though there is a horse that surpasses even the normal bonds of knight and steed. There are those horses that leave an impression not only on the ones who love them but on all who are privileged enough to see them in their glory. One of the best jousting horses I've ever seen has passed. Matthew Mansour, Kilvarough will never be forgotten. We will all miss his beauty, spirit and dedication. May he ride on in the green pastures of the afterlife as his memory will ride on in our hearts. If there were a jousting hall of fame Kilvarough's picture would surely grace the walls." -- Angela Marie Keys Harris


"The joust won't be as magical without Kilvarough" -- Angie Young

"I'm so sad to hear this, seeing Kilvarough own the joust field always filled me with awe. He was a powerful, majestic, beautiful animal. He will be missed by many." -- Kat Brown

"As we connect and bond with our horses, they become part of us, an extension of our souls and spirit. Losing them is like losing part of ourselves. My deepest sympathy goes to you Matt." -- Steve Weems


"Matthew Mansour, you and your family continue to be in my thoughts today. I truly believe that our lives are not complete without the companionship of animals. You were very lucky to find such an amazing friend in Mighty, Mighty Kilvarough. He will continue to live on in your heart and memories until you meet again at the Rainbow Bridge. The loss of his presence will be felt by many. I feel very blessed to be able to have watched him perform for so many years at Bristol. My heart is with you during this time!" -- Anna Batchelder Kaufmann


Kilvarough and his family

"Dean told me today. My heart is breaking for you Matthew, as well as for your whole family. MMK was the most amazing horse--beautiful, powerful, smart, sweet, trusting and trustworthy, and a professional performer. I know a part of you went with him. Love, sympathy, and prayers are being sent from our family to yours. We love you guys. ♥" -- Wendy Murphy Farrington

"So very sorry to hear this. Always hard to see the great ones pass. So glad he got to be your partner for so long. I'll pour some out for him tonight." Richard P Alvarez

This photographic recreation of the famous painting "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" by Sir Frank Dicksee inspired by the poem of the same name was taken by photographer Ron Tencati with Kilvarough, Katie Morgan and Matthew Mansour as the models.


La Belle Dame Sans Merci featuring the Mighty, Mighty Kilvarough

"Sometimes...there are no words...only shoulders to lean on, hands to hold onto, and hugs to comfort you as best as they can. Sending Deepest Sympathy to You and your Family. Mighty Mighty Kilvarough will be missed. And his memories will live on in all our hearts." -- Stacey Lee Matthew

"The Mighty, Mighty Kilvarough sleeps. Go knowing you are loved and will be missed. My condolences to you Sir. Raise a cup of oats with his mates for me." -- Carl Kyle F


"Goodbye to the mighty war steed Kilvarough. I am so sorry for your loss my friend. An enormous hole was punched into the world of jousting today." -- Pamela Morgan

"I learned to ride on MMK. I remember the day all of my lessons hit me at once, it felt as though my body extended through his front legs and we were one. It was one of the most amazing feelings I've ever had and I'm sure I experienced it because he was working with me. He was such an amazing animal and I am sad to see him go." -- Timothy Allen Noel Chadwick


"My heart goes out to you and your family! Kilvarough was the mightiest war horse and the gentlest giant! Every life that soft muzzle has touched is fortunate and honored to have witnessed such a jousting team. There will never be another. RIP Kilvarough" -- Hannah Lynne


Savannah on Kilvarough

"MMK sure seemed to love jousting, the applause from the crowd and especially skimming that tilt rail like no other horse I've ever seen. You could tell also how much he loved you and your family and especially loved Savannah walking him out in the arena after the joust...he was always so gentle with her. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the pleasure of meeting (treating) and watching MMK in action, especially after all of the amazing stories I had heard about him. Much love to all of you!" -- Alison Gifford


Savannah on Kilvarough

"Kilvarough will always be remembered." Eileen Gifford

"Rest in peace, Mighty Mighty Kilvarough. May you run in forever green pastures with carrots that grow on trees. Our thoughts and blessings are with the Mansour family. We will remember him for the years to come." -- Hayl Daugherty


"He was a steed of unending might and great beauty. His memory will be proof of that, because none of us will forget him." -- Kate Biggerstaff

"I learned how to ride, and joust with Kilvarough. He was the first horse I 'felt' the connection with that made riding magical. Jousting opposite of him made everyone look better. I'm so sorry. Hugs." -- John Gruber


"Sorry to hear about Kilvarough. He was a joy to watch, an absolute beauty and always an inspiration even on the hottest Georgia days. RIP." -- Sarah Craig

"I was briefly given the privilege of feeding and mucking the stall of this gorgeous horse. He used to eat M & M's out of my shirt pocket. He'll be missed Matt. So sorry for your loss...but he leaves behind a tremendous legacy." -- Morgaine Taith


"I'll drink to him tonight. A damn fine friend, that horse. Shame I couldn't get one more headbutt from him." -- Alan Vuchichevich

"Ah, Matthew, we know what it is to lose a partner in this Ren life. When it's someone with whom we create the beauty that we throw into the crowd, it leaves a hole. May you keep him in your heart with gratitude, may you move forward with compassion." -- Susan Hickey Csikos


"I took this last year at Bristol. So sorry to hear about your loss, Matt. He was truly a beautiful, amazing horse. My thoughts go out to you and your family. Stay strong buddy!" -- Crystal Hanson


Photo by Crystal Hanson

"I am sorry to hear that my brother. The great injustice in our world is that our animals don't share our entire life.

A friend of mine once told me her theory is that they go first so that when we die we see them first, and because there is complete trust, we are not afraid.

I hope that is true..." L Dale Walter


"Sometimes it seems like we cannot tell our animal friends how much they mean to us, and this can make losing them very hard. But they do understand when they are loved, even without words, they understand." -- William Dezoma


Matthew Mansour and Kilvarough

"I still remember that day last year where the two of you were back behind the globe and you were sitting on a picnic table, and you put your head on his, and it was one of the coolest most moving moments I've been privileged to witness!" -- Robert Thomas Schmeling

"Rest in Peace, Mighty, Mighty Kilvarough. Beloved steed of Matthew Mansour , aka Sir Maxmillian, the jousting Earl of Braden. It was an honor to watch Kilvarough participate in the jousts of the Carolina Renaissance Festival. He possessed the body of a horse - but the courage of King Arthur." -- Ron Tencati


Matthew Mansour and Kilvarough

And from Matthew Mansour:

"I have read each and every post and email which has been sweet yet incredibly difficult. Kilvarough touched so many lives and in such a positive fashion.

He never faltered. He could be a wicked devil and an angelic teacher, all within the same 20 minutes. He could peel an experienced rider off on a tree yet my kids could effortlessly ride him bareback.

I loved that horse more than I could ever possibly say and I have lost a part of my heart. However I was so blessed to have found him as a coming 4 year old semi-wild punk. What adventures we have had!

He lived an amazing life. He traveled from coast to coast, performed for thousands and was adored by all, even the morons who seriously thought he was "half mule"...


He never got sick, never went lame. Once I brought him in for shoeing and as the farrier was working I notice some fluid inside his left hind leg. I go to check and he had impaled himself on 12 inches of a branch way up in his groin area while in the pasture. He did not even limp. Two weeks of antibiotics and it was like it never happened. "Tough as nails" does not even do him justice.

He suffered inept riders, endless miles of trailering, great variants in feed, crazy environments, 4 shows a day runs, 3 shows a day runs, 36 weekends of show seasons, heat waves, frost jousts, costumes, parades, millions of pets to his nose, and ME. He did it all with grace...if you had carrots.


He lived to the magnificent age of 24. He was a powerhouse to the very end. Classic Kilvarough where just a few weeks ago he performed brilliantly and yet gave me no ends of attitude, just like his whole life.

Rock star. Smart Ass. Partner. Friend. I am in your eternal debt for the sheer and utter joy you have brought me. Shag those mares and rest Mighty, Mighty Kilvarough, I love you." -- Matthew Mansour


The Mighty, Mighty Kilvarough

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