The Jousting Life

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Jousting Horses of "The Grand Tournament of St Charles"

Many of those who read this blog are just as interested in the jousting horses as they are in the jousters(as they should be, in my opinion). Those readers will be very pleased to learn that "The Grand Tournament of St Charles", in addition to having a champion jouster, also had a champion jousting horse. Rilius Maximus, called Riley, was named the Champion Horse for "The Grand Tournament of St Charles". Riley was chosen based on his overall excellent behavior as well as the fact that he carried international jouster Sarah Hay to first place in both the tilting(actual jousting) and MSA portions of the tournament.

Riley's owner, Andre Renier, was extremely proud of his big boy(photo by The Jousting Life)

"Over the years Riley has earned his place as one of the finest horses I have ever worked with. The partnership and team work I have with Riley is deep and abiding. It's great to have a partner that I can trust with my life and who trusts me with his." -- Andre Renier

Riley is a 14 year old thoroughbred/Percheron cross gelding owned by Andre Renier and ridden by international jouster Sarah Hay from Australia. Jousters who travel long distances to compete in tournaments are frequently offered the best and/or most experienced horses to ride, and Riley certainly served Sarah well. Riley and Sarah tied for first in the Mounted Skill at Arms (MSA) portion of the competition and earned the most points in the tilting(actual jousting) portion of the competition. You can see Riley and Sarah's run of the MSA course and several of her tilting passes on The Jousting Life YouTube Channel.

Riley, a Percheron cross gelding, flirts with the camera as he is ridden by Sarah Hay during practice(photo by The Jousting Life)

"It was a privilege to ride Andre Renier's horse Riley at the jousting event near Chicago a few weeks ago. The great thing about Riley was that he was a particularly willing and responsive horse to ride. I knew that if I kept cool, he'd keep that's the way I rode him...nice and relaxed. Not only does Riley look fantastic, he's really 'with' his rider. He waits to see what you want, then delivers what you ask for. I also like riding bigger horses. They feel so powerful. Riley was a deserving winner of the Champion Horse award and he'll always be a very special horse to me. Thanks again to Andre for allowing me to share some special moments with Riley." -- Sarah Hay

Of course, other horses also participated in the tournament, and here is some information about them:

Angel is an apx 17 - 20 year old quarab(quarterhorse/Arab cross) ridden by her owner Chris Greenway. This was Angel and Chris's first serious jousting competition. And they should be proud of holding their own among such an experienced group of jousters.

Angel, a quarab mare, with her owner and rider Chris Greenway(photo by Xin Zhao)

"Angel was a rescue case from the Virginia Tech veterinary school. As a three year old, she was 405 lbs, completely emaciated, with double pneumonia, and had to be held up in a sling after collapsing in a field. Now she is beautiful and has led a wonderful life teaching people to ride, jousting, and being a great way for people to learn about rescue horses. She was named Angel by the vet school because they didn't see how she could possibly survive without a guardian angel to help pull her through. Now all these years later she has done so much and touched so many people." -- Chris Greenway

Chevy is a 7 year old Percheron gelding owned by jouster Andre Renier. Chevy is Andre's secondary jousting horse and is still fairly new to the sport of jousting. He was mostly ridden by Andre during the tournament, but Stacy Wasson also rode him occasionally. Chevy and Andre tied for second in the MSA portion of the tournament, and you can see their run in this previous post.

Percheron gelding Chevy carries his owner Andre Renier into the jousting tournament
(photo by The Jousting Life)

"Chevy is one of the the most comfortable horses I've had the pleasure to ride. He is an amazing platform to joust from. He is just so solid under me. Because Chevy is so sweet and gentle, he has quickly become a crowd favorite." -- Andre Renier

Lucky, full name Lucky Strikes Gold, is a 20 year old quarterhorse gelding ridden by his owner Steve Hemphill during the Mounted Melee and Tippet Tag. (The Tippet Tag event was done just for fun and was not counted as part of the official competition.) Lucky and Steve won both the Mounted Melee and the Tippet Tag. During practice on the Friday before the tournament, Lucky also helped Holiday Hogg fulfill her dream of breaking a lance for the first time.

Quarterhorse gelding Lucky poses with his proud owner and rider Steve Hemphill after the tournament(photo by The Jousting Life)

"Lucky is a twenty year old registered American Quarter Horse gelding with an impressive cutting and reining pedigree. He is 15.2 hands high and, although he is a dedicated and fearless jousting competitor, his strength lies in his nimbleness in the melee and medieval games. Lucky has put up with a lot from me over the years but we've both learned and grown together over the past 11 years. When he isn't playing the part of a mighty warhorse, he does his best at dressage and eventing but especially loves fox hunting." -- Steve Hemphill

Luna is a 9 year old registered Appaloosa mare owned by Lesley Wilson and ridden by her husband Scott Wilson during the Mounted Melee. Her full name is FC Fancy Lena.

Luna, ridden by Holiday Hogg at Gulf Wars 2013(photo by Whitney Rahfeldt)

"Luna was 'rescued' for a pittance from an auction barn with no knowledge of her history. She already had several deep scars and a mistrust of riders, but some of the best ground manners and a real drive to do "exactly" what you asked of her. It's been a long, tough road to figure out how to get past her nervousness and make her happy to work - we know that she loves the Mounted Combat, where she can use her possible past training as a cutting horse. We've only had her eighteen months, but we are growing closer to a better relationship." -- Lesley Wilson

Pooh Bear is a quarterhorse mare ridden by her owner Jeffrey Basham. Pooh Bear is actually a close cousin to Lucky, Steve Hemphill's horse described earlier. Pooh Bear and Jeffrey came in second in the Mounted Melee portion of the competition and tied for second in the tilting(actual jousting) portion of the tournament.

Pooh Bear, a quarterhorse mare, and owner and rider Jeffrey Basham are introduced to the audience(photo by The Jousting Life)

"Pooh Bear is a 10 year old bay American Quarter Horse and her registered name is Royal Nelly. She comes from the bloodlines of two AQH hall of famers, Doc Bar and Zippo Pine Bar. She is a solid level 2 dressage horse and is currently in level 3 training. She and I are both mentored by Pam Fowler-Grace." -- Jeffrey Basham

Solovino is an Azteca (Andalusian/quarterhorse cross) stallion trained by Enrique Martines of the Monte Christo Equestrian Center. This was Solovino's very first experience with jousting. He had one day of jousting practice on Friday before competing on Saturday and Sunday. His inexperience showed occasionally, but everyone who rode him or had anything to do with him said what a wonderfully willing horse he was. Most horses take a lot of time to adjust to all the strangeness that a jousting tournament entails, but this amazing stallion seemed to take it in stride. In fact, Solovino and Stacy tied with Sarah Hay riding the Champion Horse Riley for first place in the Mounted Skill at Arms(MSA) portion of the tournament even though Solovino had never actually run an MSA course before, not even in practice. You can see Solovino and Stacy run the MSA course in this previous post.

Azteca stallion Solovino poses with rider Stacy Wasson after the tournament
(photo by The Jousting Life)

"As for Solovino himself -- he has utterly stolen my heart. Called up from the "Minors" at the last minute - Solovino had only seen Leo Lastre in armour a handful of times before we met him. When we arrived, we had two days to turn him into a war horse. His trainer Enrique Martinez thought he would do well - but he had never trained a horse for jousting. Alert and curious Solovino took in all the chaos of the festival around him with interest and enthusiasm. In all my years of jousting, I've never met a horse who took to it with such ease and serenity. Eager to learn, he was responsive, yet unhurried - a perfect gentleman. I got the impression that he was delighted to go down the list with me, but would have been just as happy to sit down for tea and scones - whatever was my pleasure. You couldn't ask for more in a jousting horse -- my only regret is that I had to leave him in Illinois." -- Stacy Wasson

Solovino, the Azteca stallion, flies down the tiltyard with rider Jeff Wasson during practice(photo by The Jousting Life)

"I was a little nervous since Solovino had never jousted before. Usually it takes awhile to train a horse to have someone in armour on them, then to run down the list at another horse and rider, and then on top of that with a lance, and to have the lance shatter on impact. It is a lot of variables, and much to our delight Solovino had no problems at all with any of it. And on top of it he was a stallion -- which also has it's own set of issues. So I felt we really lucked out." -- Jeff Wasson

Tanner Tanner is a 5 year old appaloosa gelding who is still new to the world of jousting. He was ridden mainly by his owner Scott Wilson, but also ridden by Stacy and Jeff Wasson occasionally during the tournament.

Appaloosa gelding Tanner practices jousting with his owner and rider Scott Wilson
(photo by The Jousting Life)

"Tanner's full name is Lads Tan Executive, but at home we sometimes call him Mr. Wuffles. I have been training him to joust for about a year and this is his first joust. He has finally decided that it is not so bad. I hope that he soon gets bored with it." -- Scott Wilson

"I also rode Tanner, Scott Wilson's horse. This was Tanner's first tournament and I think he did really well. This was a good experience for him. He'll make a great Jousting horse." -- Jeff Wasson

Tinkerbell Tinkerbell is a 10 year old Friesian/Percheron cross mare ridden mainly by her owner Steve Hemphill, but also occasionally ridden by Stacy Wasson. Tinkerbell and Steve tied for second place in both the MSA portion of the tournament and the tilting(actual jousting) portion of the tournament. You can see Tinkerbell and Steve's run of the MSA course in this previous post.

Friesian cross mare Tinkerbell shows great form during practice with owner and rider Steve Hemphill(photo by The Jousting Life)

"Tinkerbell is a 10 year old Friesian/Percheron cross mare and at 17.1 hands high, she has a heart to match. I'd known "Tink" for about a year and wasn't looking for another jousting horse when the opportunity to purchase her presented itself about two years ago. After seeing that my jousting saddle and trailer fit her, I fell in love and took her home and she's carefully held my heart ever since. Although she hadn't competed in jousting before, she rode to victory in her first joust during the "Lysts on the Lake 2011" tournament just one month after I bought her (against the largest field of competitive jousters in modern jousting history at that time). When she's not flying around the tilt yard, Tink has found a niche in dressage, eventing and fox hunting too....although sometimes she tries to convince me that the most efficient way to get past a jumping obstacle is to bulldoze through it vs. jump it!" -- Steve Hemphill

You can find out more about "The Grand Tournament of St Charles" which took place during "The Festival of the Horse & Drum" in these previous articles:

"Mounted Skill at Arms at the Festival of the Horse and Drum"

"Andre Renier Wins 'The Grand Tournament of St Charles'"

"More Information and Video from 'The Grand Tournament of St Charles'"

You can see more pictures from the tournament in "The Jousting Life" Facebook page albums:

Festival of the Horse & Drum 2013 Friday Practice

Grand Tournament of St Charles 2013 - Saturday Jousting

Grand Tournament of St Charles 2013 - Sunday Jousting

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