The Jousting Life

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mark Caple Wins the Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament 2014

This year's annual Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament took place April 19 - 21, 2014 at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds. [Editorial note: This tournament is also known as The Queen's Jubilee Horn Tournament.] The tournament included demonstrations of Mounted Skill at Arms and Trick Riding by members of Atkinson Action Horses as well as the actual jousting competition. There were four jousters who competed in the tournament: Andy Deane(who won the tournament last year), Steve Morris, Stacy Van Dolah-Evans(who was awarded the Sword of Honour at last year's tournament), and, of course, this year's champion, Mark Caple.

Mark Caple on Aramis at "Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament 2014"
(photo courtesy of Royal Armouries Museum)

The horses for the jousters were provided by Mark Atkinson of Atkinson Action Horses, and apparently the jousters were quite pleased with them. Here is what jouster Steve Morris had to say about his horse Dylan:
"The horses were wonderful, could drop the reins on Dylan and he'd still go wherever I wanted him to just off the leg and seat. Mark Atkinson has him trained to a fare-the-well." -- Steve Morris

Steve Morris on Dylan jousts Andy Deane on the 'Old War Horse' Ted
(photo courtesy of Royal Armouries Museum)

The tournament champion, Mark Caple this year, wins the right to 'hold' the Queen's Jubilee Horn Trophy until the next tournament. The Queen's Golden Jubilee Horn was originally commissioned in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee Celebration honoring the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. When the horn was presented to the queen, she offered it back to Royal Armouries to use as a prize for their jousting champions, thus making this annual joust at the Royal Armouries of Leeds the only tournament sanctioned by the Queen of England.

Jemma Bulmer, part of the museum's 'Visitor Experience' team, holds the Queen's Golden Jubilee Horn(photo courtesy of Royal Armouries Museum)

Stacy Van Dolah-Evans, who not only jousts with Mark Caple as part of the Destrier jousting troupe, but who formed half of the winning English team(the other half being Mark Caple) at last year's Arundel Castle International Tournament, had this to say about the Leeds Easter Tournament:
"Just got home from an amazing jousting weekend at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. A massive thank you to Mark Atkinson and Atkinson Action Horses for turning out such amazing jousting horses; it was an honour to be able to ride them. Thank you to Steve Morris and Andy Deane for being such great opponents. But the biggest congratulations goes to Mark Caple for winning the Queen's Golden Jubilee Horn! I could not be happier to lose to my team mate from Arundel International Tournament 2013. He turned out a perfect score in the final. Congratulations mate!" -- Stacy Van Dolah-Evans

Stacy Van Dolah-Evans at the "Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament 2014"
(photo courtesy of Royal Armouries Museum)

Mark Caple, the champion of the tournament, graciously agreed to do an interview for the readers of The Jousting Life. The interview will soon be published in a separate article.

Friday, April 25, 2014

An Interview with Jouster Jeffrey Basham, Winner of Lysts on the Lake 2013

Jeffrey Basham, who was one of the jousters featured in the commercial "Do Something Noble", was the winner of last year's Lysts on the Lake jousting tournament. Immediately following the tournament, Jeffrey was kind enough to answer some questions for an interview. However, due to a household emergency, I completely forgot about the interview until several months later. When I apologized to Jeffrey about not publishing it, he brilliantly suggested that I publish the interview as a lead up to this year's tournament. Lysts on the Lake 2014 will take place May 9 - 11 near Austin, TX, USA. For more information about the event, check out the Lysts on the Lake website.

Jeffrey Basham at Lysts 2013(photo by The Jousting Life)

1. When, where and how did you begin riding horses?

Growing up I would occasionally tag along with my older brother and his family riding quarter horses on trail rides and watching him compete in rodeos. In 2010, my wife purchased an Arab, and I wanted to start riding again. I soon realized that my former riding experience wasn’t going very well onboard this dressage trained Arab, and if I was going to survive, I needed to take dressage lessons.

2. When and how did you become involved with jousting?

A little more than a decade ago, I was very involved with Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and had the opportunity to train and teach with John Waller, Keith Ducklin and Andy Deane of the Royal Armouries (Leeds, UK).

John Waller was an action arranger and historical consultant for stage and screen. He taught stage combat at drama schools and was the Head of Interpretation for the Royal Armouries. We developed a good rapport, and it was implied that if I wanted to learn to joust that I was welcome to come back for training. However, life and circumstances changed and I never was able to follow through on that offer. I’ve always regretted not making it back over to the UK.

Fast forward to 2011 and a friend of mine, Dakao Do, informed me about a historical jousting tournament taking place in Austin, TX. We made a road trip to go an see what this Lysts on the Lake was all about. He knew a few of the participants and introduced me to Steve Hemphill, Scott Wilson, Dave Wise, Sean Gulick, and so many others.

3. When, where and what was the name of the first jousting tournament that you competed in? How did you do?

I participated in the Tirocinium (novice joust) at Lysts on the Lake 2012 under the watchful eye and training of Luke Binks and tied for first in points. We won the novice melee and would later go on to win the main Mounted Skill at Arms division as well.

Jeffrey Basham hits the quintain during the Mounted Skill at Arms portion of Lysts on the Lake 2012(photo by AzulOx)

4. Tell us about your horse Pooh Bear. Where did you get her? How did she get that name? What other forms of riding do you do with her? Is there anything else you would like to say about her?

A few years back I decided that I needed to find my own horse to ride, and I asked a few friends to look out for a prospect. However, I’d expected at that time that it would be a year or two before I was really ready. A few days later, I get a call from Caren and Keith Wilder telling me that I have to go check out this young mare who would be a perfect match for me. From the first moment I saw her... She had me at “hay.”

She was green broke and hadn’t been ridden in almost a year. The lady who owned her at the time, Renee Oehl, was a former two time national champion in Western disciplines, and due to family and career commitments, she didn’t have time to dedicate to her training. Thus, she was looking to find Pooh the right person to give her a job and a good home.

Jeffrey Basham presents Renee Oehl with roses after a jousting demonstration at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show(photo from Jeffrey Basham)

A few weeks later on Valentines Day, Pooh was given to me. That's right, given to me, a horse that is a descendant of two QH Hall of Famers. Best Valentines present ever! Because Renee’s daughter had originally named her “Pooh” we kept it, and later on I over heard Caren Wilder calling her “Pooh Bear” and that has stuck ever since.

Under Keith Wilders guidance, we started out with natural horsemanship, specifically Clinton Anderson’s Down Under Horsemanship Method. Later, we moved onto Dressage. Today, we train under the mentorship of Pam Fowler-Grace in Classical and Western Dressage and practice jumping with Dev Branham.

5. Describe one or two of your most memorable moments related to jousting.

My first pass during the Tirocinium at Lysts 2012... I took the lance, charged down the tilt breaking my lance, halting at the other end and smiling ear to ear. Then I realized I was gasping for breath! What - wait a minute - Pooh was the one doing all of the running! My adrenaline was flowing, I couldn’t get another lance in my hand fast enough and go at it again.

Jeffrey Basham and Pooh Bear compete in the Tirocinium(novice joust) at Lysts 2012
(photo by AzulOx)

6. How do you feel about riding a Mounted Skill at Arms Course, as opposed to running each skill individually?

I found the Chivalric Equitation Obstacle Course[a type of MSA Course] a blast, for it was more than just riding forward in a straight line and striking a target. It involved elements that included riding a 20 meter circle, a rein back and a jump, combined with the many of the more traditional skill tests you see in Mounted Skill at Arms.

Jeffrey Basham runs the MSA Course on his mare Pooh Bear(video by The Jousting Life)

I fully support any move that adds emphasis to equitation skills along with martial skills. There are historical references discussing and illustrating the training of horses and riders from the 16th and 17th centuries that include working on circles (the most useful schooling figure of all), half circles, figure eights, serpentines, diagonals, lateral work (leg yields, should-in, haunches in, haunches out), jumping and more. These authors didn’t just invent schooled riding methods, they were carrying on and refining the traditions from earlier generations and centuries. They placed emphasis on the rider’s position and the elements of what we today term rhythm, looseness, contact, impulsion, straightness, and collection. To give respect and honor to those Lords, Knights, Cavaliers, trainers and masters of yesterday, so should we!

7. How was the mounted melee?

I found that I was the competitor with the biggest set of cross hairs on his back!

8. How was your overall experience of Lysts 2013?

We were blessed with good weather, great food, and amongst the best people I’ve ever met. I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Jeffrey Basham smashes his lance against Steve Hemphill during Lysts 2013(photo by AzulOx)

9. Is there anything else you would like to say about the tournament?

An event is only as good as the ground crew and organizers, and ours were outstanding! I really appreciate the ground crew, for these people do us such a big favor to take time out of their own busy lives and schedules to come volunteer and be part of the Lysts experience, and let us play knights in shining armour.

Steve and Dawn Hemphill are two of the finest people I know. In the spirit of Texas hospitality, they opened their home and property to our invasion, provided a great meal plan, and handled all of the complications and burdens of planning and administration to make Lysts such a wonderful time for us all.

A special note of renown goes to my fellow competitor, Scott Wilson, who loaned me his Appaloosa gelding, Tanner, so I could finish in the finals. It was just after the melee that we discovered that Pooh had thrown a shoe. My heart sank, after all if this hard work, it looked as if I would have to scratch. Scott spoke up and offered Tanner, and my saddle fit him as if it had been custom made for him alone.

Jeffrey Basham jousts on Tanner, Scott Wilson's horse(photo by AzulOx)

The Lady of Honor allowed me to make a couple of solo canters down the tilt, and on the first pass I shouted out to Scott that “this horse is amazing!” I had never ridden Tanner before. Two very experienced riders had previously told me what a great prospective horse he would be for dressage and/or eventing, and they are right! I’ve ridden over a dozen different breeds of horses including two former world and national dressage champions, and I attest that Tanner has the best canter I’ve ever experienced. At that moment my confidence shot up 110%, and I had my mind back into to being focused on the task at hand. Thank you Scott Wilson - you and Tanner made the difference for me.

Tanner(left) Jeffrey Basham(center) Pooh Bear(right)(photo by The Jousting Life)

10. In terms of jousting, where would you like to go from here?

I hope to be part of many more tournaments like this for years to come and look forward to future travels abroad. Here in the USA - I’d like to compete in the Tournament of the Phoenix, and one day I'd like to be part of a historical tournament that is on the same caliber as The Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel.

Jeffrey Basham on Pooh Bear at Lysts 2013(photo by AzulOx)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Historical Images: Naked Snail Jousting

A while back, I posted an article on The Jousting Life that discussed the strange popularity of images of snail jousting in manuscript illuminations. Those images depicted knights jousting against snails. However I recently discovered another historical image of snail jousting which is a little bit different.

Historical image of Naked Snail Jousting(photo by unknown)

Unfortunately, there was not much information posted with this image. Only the following text:
Beaune - BM - inc. 003, t.III. Baldus de Ubaldis. Lectura super Institutionibus . 1480-1481.

If anyone has more information or even any theories about this image, I would love to hear them.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The First Day of the Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament 2014

A nice write up about the first day of the Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament (aka the Queen's Jubilee Horn Tournament) appeared on, of all things, a blog about Judge Dredd. Steve Hargett, the creator of the blog apparently likes challenges, and writing about jousting can indeed be a challenge. Here is the intro to his blog post:

The first day of this years Easter Tournament, competing for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Horn. Here seen in the parade before the final in 2013.

The Golden Jubilee Horn was commissioned by the Royal Armouries Leeds in 2002 to mark the 50th year of Queen Elixabeth II’s reign. presented to her at Harewood House the queen offered it back to the Royal Armouries as a prize for Jousting Champion. This competition is the only Joust sanctioned by the Queen.

The current Champion from 2013 is Andy Deane.

The horses, ground crew and all but one of the mounted squires for this event are provided by Atkinson Action Horses.

There are three parts to each round in this Tournament. The Skill at Arms by the Mounted Squires. Trick Riding by the Mounted Squires and the Joust of Peace by the Knights.

To read the complete article and see the many pictures he included, click on the link below:
Easter Tournament – Good Friday 18th April 2014 – a review of the day.

Stacy Evans(left) jousts Mark Caple(right) during the first day of the Leeds Easter Jousting Tournament(photo by Steve Hargett/Kelly Fowler)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Promotional Video for St Ives Medieval Faire & Tournament

The St Ives Medieval Faire will take place September 20 - 21 in St Ives, Sydney, Australia. There will be a historical village, a traditional archery range and a birds of prey display, but, of course, the most important feature for those of us interested in jousting will the jousting tournament.

Promo video for St Ives Medieval Faire(video by Ben van Koert/Kaos Historical Media)

The tournament is based on the idea that the olde world jousters(those from Europe) will be challenging the new world jousters(those from Australia). In addition to the jousting(with shaped solid lances such as those used in Sankt Wendel), there will also be a mounted melee. The jousters involved will be:

From the olde world:
Petter Ellingsen from Norway
Arne Koets from the Netherlands
Bertus Brokamp from the Netherlands

From the new world:
Rod Walker
Luke Binks
Andrew McKinnon
Phillip Leitch

For more information about the tournament, check out the St Ives Medieval Faire website and Facebook page.

Andreas Wenzel jousts Petter Ellingsen with shaped solid lances
(photo by Ben van Koert/Kaos Historical Media)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Video: Dr. Noel Fallows Talks About Chivalry and Jousting

Dr. Noel Fallows is an Associate Dean of International and Multidisciplinary Programs in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia. Within the jousting community, Dr. Fallows is best known for his book Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia, for which he was awarded the University of Georgia’s Creative Research Medal.
"Only sparingly given, the medal is awarded by the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., to faculty as recognition of outstanding accomplishment in research and creativity for a research project or creative activity with a single coherent theme." -- Camden House News
The following video was created by Bill Evelyn, a video producer for the University of Georgia, as part of a program to honor Dr. Fallows.

If some of the video looks familiar, it's because it's from "The Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel", a historical jousting tournament which took place in the fall of 2012. (You can read more about it in a number of previous articles on The Jousting Life.) According to an interview with Dr. Fallows, such attempts to recreate historically accurate tournaments as well as other forms of re-enactment can benefit the academic community.
"I am not a re-enactor myself, but I do believe that historically accurate re-enactments can provide plausible answers to some of the questions that arise about how armour actually worked. In turn I also hope that my book will be of practical use to the re-enactment communities that strive for historical accuracy." -- Dr. Noel Fallows
The complete interview is published on the Boydell & Brewer website. Boydell & Brewer are the publishers of Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia as well as a number of other books that jousters, re-enactors and others with an interest in history might enjoy.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jousters 'Do Something Noble' to Help Goodwill Industries

A number of jousters and those associated with jousting donated their time, horses and equipment to help make a commercial called "Do Something Noble" for Goodwill Industries International, a non-profit agency that "works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work."(quote from Goodwill website)

There are two versions of the commercial, the long version:

Do Something Noble, extended version (video by Goodwill Central Texas)

and the short version:

Do Something Noble, short version (video by Goodwill Central Texas)

The jousters involved in the commercial included Jeffrey Basham riding his quarterhorse mare Pooh Bear, Sean Gullick riding his Missouri Foxtrotter gelding Red, Steve Hemphill riding his Friesian/Percheron cross mare Tinkerbell and Dave Wise riding his Percheron cross mare Ladybug. Dawn Hemphill and Jen Jobst who frequently act as ground crew for jousting tournaments also rode horses in the video. Dawn rode her quarterhorse gelding Moose and Jen sometimes rode Red and sometimes her Haflinger gelding Paddington(there was some switching around of horses for various shots).

The King, who was portrayed by Keith Ewing who neither jousts nor rides, rode Jen's horse Paddington. The boy featured in the commercial was Keith's son, who rode Steve's quarterhorse gelding Lucky. Members of the Barony of Bryn Gwlad(a regional group of the Society for Creative Anachronism) portrayed the townspeople. On a more personal note, my husband, who is also a jouster, helped out behind the scenes while they were filming the parts of the commercial set in the medieval town.

You can read more about the making of the commercial and see photos from the set in the post on Jen's blog titled, "In which Paddy makes his acting debut and Red plays a stunt double".

Experienced jousting horse Red(aka Feerless War Pony) is not bothered by having a cameraman(who doesn't know how to ride) with a steadicam attached to him on his back.
(photo by jenj)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Joust For Fun: Unusual Things to Do in Armour

A photo album was recently started on The Jousting Life Facebook page featuring pictures of "Unusual Things to Do in Armour". Rod Walker of Full Tilt Jousting(who you might remember from the tv show "Full Metal Jousting") thought that this video fit the theme of the album nicely. However, since it is difficult to include a video in a photo album, it is being posted here.

Jouster Rod Walker is featured in an unusual ad(video by Alinta Energy)

The knight in the video is played by Rod Walker for most of the scenes, though in a few scenes of cantering down the street a lighter weight girl named Jacinta is riding in Rod's armour to make it easier for the horse. Two horses were actually used in the making of the commercial, neither of which belonged to Rod.

If you would like to see the photo album "Unusual Things to Do in Armour" as well as other pictures and links relating to jousting, check out The Jousting Life Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jousting in Italy: Giostra di Pisa 2014

[Editorial note: This article is based on an information provided by Roberto Cinquegrana, the leader of the jousting troupe Compagnia dell Aquila Bianca, through Facebook and on his blog. Roberto has done his best to share information about his jousting events with me. However, since I do not speak Italian and have had to use Google translate to try to understand what he sends me, there are probably some misunderstandings. I apologize for that. If anyone is fluent in both Italian and English who would like to help out, please email me.]

On March 22, the members of the Compagnia dell Aquila Bianca were involved in a joust in Pisa, Italy. Below is a brief video of some of the jousting passes:

Giostra di Pisa(video by Templare74)

Roberto wrote a post about the joust in Pisa on his blog, "Giostra di Pisa - 22 Marzo 2014". It is, of course, written in Italian. I attempted to translate it using Google translate. However, as anyone who has ever used a computer generated translation program knows, a lot of information is lost in translation. From what I could understand:
The weather in Pisa was not the best and the ground was very wet, so it was difficult to canter at full speed. Despite that, there were some violent lance breaks, and the audience obviously enjoyed the excitement. Pisa is a magical city, as are all historical cities, and the jousters were given great hospitality.

In addition to Roberto, there were two other jousters, Fulvio and Daniele, who showed great professionalism. Gianluigi, Enrico, Margherita and Simona(who I assume were the ground crew) provided a calming and motivational presence throughout the tournament. Roberto is very proud of the whole team.

An official named Roberta Inama tried on Roberto's armour and commented on how difficult it must be to ride a horse wearing 30 lbs of steel.

Roberta Inama in Roberto Cinquegrana's jousting armour(photo from Roberto Cinquegrana)

Many thanks to Roberto Cinquegrana for providing the information for this article.