The Jousting Life

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Teaser for the Upcoming Video of the St Hallvard's Tournament

A little taste of the video that is to come from Ben van Koert/Kaos Historical Media of the St Hallvard's Jousting Tournament which took place May 23 - 25, as part of the Oslo Middelalderfestival. The tournament was held on the grounds of the historic Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway.:

Teaset St Hallvard's Tournament(video by Ben van Koert/Kaos Historical Media)

"After three days of vigorous jousting and melee combat, St. Hallvards tournament is over. We documented the entire event, stay tuned for some awesome images!" -- Ben van Koert
(photo by Ben van Koert/Kaos Historical Media

Joram van Essen and Luke Binks break both their lances during a jousting pass(photo by Ben van Koert/Kaos Historical Media

Related Articles:
Promotional Video for St. Hallvard's Jousting Tournament

The Jousters of St Hallvard's Tournament

Random Pic: Practicing for St Hallvard's

New Video of "The Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel"

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rampant Silliness: Mini Jousting

Admittedly, this has nothing to do with actual competitive jousting, but it was too funny not to share.

Though, if you have horses, or participate in any form of historical reenactment, one of the things to consider when buying a car or truck is... Can it haul all of my stuff? What kind of activities do you participate in? And what vehicle have you found to fit your needs?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pictures Showing the Process of Creating a Historical Saddle

Jezz Smith, a jouster from New Zealand, also makes saddles based on historical designs. Here are a series of pictures, taken by him, showing the process of making a historical saddle. Jezz Smith's saddles are very similar to the saddles made by Joram van Essen and Wouter Nicolai that were discussed in the two part article, "Re-Creating Medieval and Renaissance Saddles" written by Arne Koets.

There are actually two different saddles shown in various stages of creation. However, the saddles are similar enough that, for the purpose of displaying the process of making a historical saddle, it doesn't matter that pictures from the making of two different saddles are used.

The template for the side bars of the saddle. The side bars are the part of the saddle that actually rests on the sides of the horse.(photo by Jezz Smith)

The laminating frame is used to create the curves necessary for the saddle to fit the horse's back.(photo by Jezz Smith)

A side view of the laminating frame(photo by Jezz Smith)

The side bar is clamped(and screwed when you run out of clamps) to the laminating frame. The screw holes will be filled in later.(photo by Jezz Smith)

Four layers of 3mm plywood glued with polycarbonate laminating glue(photo by Jezz Smith)

You can see where extra blocking can be added to the laminating frame to alter it to fit different horses.(photo by Jezz Smith)

From top to bottom: The pieces used to create the cantle(back), pommel(front) and side bars of the saddle(photo by Jezz Smith)

The pieces are temporarily glued together for a fitting(photo by Jezz Smith)

Another view of the pieces clamped and glued together(photo by Jezz Smith)

Checking to make sure the saddle fits the horse(photo by Jezz Smith)

Rear view of the saddle on the horse(photo by Jezz Smith)

Side view of the saddle on the horse(photo by Jezz Smith)

Checking to see if the saddle fits the rider,Simon Paul Tennant. According to Jezz, the cantle needed to be moved forward about an inch.(photo by Jezz Smith)

After adjusting the cantle, the pommel and cantle are permanently glued into place, and the pieces making up the seat are added(photo by Jezz Smith)

A top view of the seat pieces glued into place(photo by Jezz Smith)

After the glue dries, the seat pieces are sanded into a smooth shape, and strap placement is checked(photo by Jezz Smith)

The saddle is covered in black resin(photo by Jezz Smith)

Another view of the black resin covered saddle(photo by Jezz Smith)

According to Jezz and others who use this style of saddle, padding for the seat is not necessary, though the seat and other parts of the saddle can be covered in leather. Decoration can also be added to suit the owner of the saddle.

Related articles:
Re-Creating Medieval and Renaissance Saddles: Part One

Re-Creating Medieval and Renaissance Saddles: Part Two

An Interview with Joram van Essen: Grand Champion of "The Grand Tournament in Sankt Wendel"

Sunday, May 25, 2014

TV News Coverage of the Tournois de Chevalerie au Chateau de Chambines

The Tournois de Chevalerie au Chateau de Chambines took place May 18 in Hecourt, Eure, France. A French tv show called Culture & Nature created a nice video of the jousting troupe Association Chevalerie Initiatique and their involvement with the tournament.

(video by Maxime Humbert/

If anyone would like to create an English transcript of the video, it would be much appreciated.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Random Pic: Practicing for St Hallvard's

Ivar Mauritz-Hansen will be one of the competitors in the St. Hallvard's Tournament which starts today in Oslo, Norway. Here is a picture of him practicing in his brand new armour on a borrowed horse just days before the tournament.

Ivar Mauritz-Hansen on the Andalusian gelding Sigismund(photo by Renate Skeie)

The horse's name is Sigismund, he's an Andalusian gelding that originally belonged to jouster Arne Koets and currently belongs to jouster Petter Ellingsen(the organizer of St. Hallvard's). He was ridden by Andreas Wenzel in the Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel. According to Ivar, when it comes to jousting, "He knows more about it than I do."

The upright post that he is breaking his lance against is a form of shock quintain.  Shock quintains come in a variety of forms, but no matter what they look like they serve much the same function.  Unlike the regular quintain whose target spins quite easily, the shock quintain's target is very difficult to move, making it good training not only for hitting a rather small target, but also for withstanding the shock of hitting a heavy object with your lance. 

When asked about St Hallvard's Tournament, Ivar had this to say:
"I'm very excited for this tournament as it will be the biggest in Norway in a long time, and I am deeply honored to be a part of it. It will be my first solid lance tournament, and it has been a tough time to get the equipment and horse ready in time, but thanks to a number of great friends that have helped me with my troubles, I'm now confident that St. Hallvard's Tournament is for me going to be totally awesome!" -- Ivar Mauritz-Hansen

Related articles:
The Jousters of St Hallvard's Tournament

Promotional Video for St Hallvard's Jousting Tournament

A Dictionary of Jousting Terms

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Video of Tournois de Chambines 2014

[UPDATE: I was notified that there were no English jousters involved in this tournament.  All the members of the 'English' team were actually French jousters who pretended to be English for the tournament.]

A couple of members of the French jousting troupe Association Chevalerie Initiatique have been trying to share information about their tournaments with me. Unfortunately, their English is a bit limited, and I don't speak French at all. Fortunately, the video and pictures below speak for themselves.

Tournois de Chambines 2014(video by Alexandre Leon)

The Tournois de Chevalerie au Chateau de Chambines took place May 18 in Hecourt, Eure, France. From a google translation of one of the group's Facebook posts, there were two competitions during the tournament. Gérôme Russell of the English team won the first competition,

Gérôme Russell(photo by Billy Baheux)

and Meryl Touque of the French team won the second competition.

Meryl Touque(photo by Billy Baheux)

The photos below were taken by Emilie Peron and Billy Baheux, though a few do not have watermarks, so I cannot credit them properly.

The French team and the English Team(photo by unknown)

Alexandre de Chambines tilts at rings(photo by Emilie Peron)

Arnaud de St Esprit tilts at rings(photo by Emilie Peron)

Valentin de Tourvilles jousting Arnaud de St Esprit(photo by Emilie Peron)

Quentin de Grand Lieu jousting Alexandre de Chambines(photo by Emilie Peron)

Gerome de Russel jousting Arnaud de St Esprit(photo by Emilie Peron)

There was also a Tournois des écuyers(Tournament of the Squires) where children could participate in Mounted Skill at Arms. I'm not sure if scores were kept. No winner was announced as far as I can tell.

Three squires(photo by Billy Baheux)

Squires compete at MSA(photos by Billy Baheux)

You can learn more about the Association Chevalerie Initiatique on their Facebook page.

Related articles:
Jeffrey Hedgecock Wins the "Tournois de la Lance D'Argent 2013"

Competitors From Around the World to Compete at the 2012 European Championship Jousting Tournament

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Jousters of St Hallvard's Tournament

St Hallvard's Tournament will be taking place this weekend, May 23 - 25, on the grounds of the historic Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway. It was organized by Petter Ellingsen of the jousting troupe Ridderhest and will be a featured part of the Oslo Middelalder Festival. The participants will compete in both the mounted melee and the joust. The jousting will be done with tapered solid lances with steel coronels, like those used in the Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel. This means that the skill and armour requirements for the jousters are higher than at many other tournaments.

There will be ten jousters from three different countries competing for the championship of the tournament.

Alix van Zijl of the Netherlands

Alix van Zijl on Torero(photo by Katla Menada)

Alix van Zijl is a veterinarian who runs a practice employing four other vets. She's been riding horses since childhood and has competed in dressage. In 2003, she began training in historical riding with Joram van Essen and Arne Koets. In 2009, she ordered a custom made museum quality Milanese Armour, and in 2010, she competed in her first public joust. She is currently a board member of the historical riding group Stichting HEI. She fought in the mounted melee at the Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel in 2012, and became the first woman in Europe to compete in a joust using tapered solid lances with steel coronels during the White Bear Tournament in Nyborg, Denmark in 2013. Alix rides her own Andalusian stallion, Torero. She bought him in Spain when he was four years old and has trained him herself according to the baroque principles taught at the Hofreitschule in Buckeburg, Germany.

Andrew McKinnon of Australia

Andrew McKinnon(photo from Arundel International Tournament)

Andrew McKinnon had never ridden a horse before turning 40. Yet when he discovered that real jousting still exists, he began training with Rod Walker and less than three years later competed in his first joust. Since then Andrew has competed successfully in jousts in Australia, New Zealand and France. He first competed with tapered solid lances at the Blacktown Medieval Faire in Sydney, Australia. Andrew is currently organizing the Tournament of St Ives which will take place in northern Sydney in 2014, and will feature jousting with tapered solid lances. Andrew's armour is an Italian spring steel harness circa 1460-1470 made by fellow Australian jouster Luke Binks. When not jousting, Andrew works on developing his dressage skills and playing the blues. He also owns a communications company with his wife Andrea, and has three strapping sons.

Arne Koets of the Netherlands

Arne Koets on Maximillian(photo by IsisSturtewagen/Stichting HEI)

Though of Norwegian descent, Arne Koets currently lives in Germany. He has been interested in military history for as long as he can remember and is one of the founding members of Stichting HEI. He began riding in 2001 and participated in his first joust in 2002. He has since participated in over 750 jousts in fifteen countries on three separate continents. In 2010, he won the Ironfest Joust, the first international jousting tournament to use solid tapered lances with steel coronels in modern times. In 2012, he organized and competed in the Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel. When not jousting, he studies and teaches the historical dressage necessary for mounted combat.

Bertus Brokamp of the Netherlands

Bertus Brokamp(photo by Isis Sturtewagen/Stichting HEI)

Bertus first became involved in medieval martial arts in 2001. He later joined forces with Stichting HEI and began learning how to ride in 2004. He started out working as ground crew for the mounted members of the group, then in 2007, he participated in his first joust and also became a member of the board. That same year he received his Master of Science degree by writing a thesis on landweren, the late medieval defense lines in the Netherlands and Holy Roman Empire. In 2011, Bertus became the proud owner of the Andalusian stallion, Talento. After some intensive training, Talento was ridden by Wouter Nicolai in the Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel in 2012. Since then, Talento has continued to carry jousters into the tilt and has been trained in classical dressage. Bertus broke his first tapered solid lance in 2013, during the White Bear Tournament in Nyborg, Denmark.

Ivar Mauritz-Hansen of Norway

Ivar Mauritz-Hansen(photo by Renate Skeie)

Ivar has participated in many demonstrations and competitions in Norway and northern Europe, both on foot and on horseback. He started out training in Olympic style fencing when he was nine years old. Through the years since, he has learned to fight with the epee, longsword and pole axe on the ground, and now competes with a lance on horseback. He began riding in 2006 and broke his first lance in 2008.

Joram van Essen of the Netherlands

Joram van Essen at the Times & Epochs joust in Russia(photo by Andrew Boykov)

Joram van Essen was born in New Zealand, but moved to the Netherlands in 1999 to pursue his passion for historical european martial and equestrian arts. He was a founding member of Stichting HEI which was started in 2000 to promote historical education and authentic historical re-creation in the Netherlands. He has competed in numerous jousts around the world, including the prestigious international jousts at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, England, at the Times & Epochs international joust in Moscow, Russia and at Nyborg Slott in Denmark. In 2012, he was tournament champion of the Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel, considered one of the most historically accurate jousts of modern times. Joram’s philosophy is that jousting is an Art, which requires training, dedication and team work between horse and rider.

Luke Binks of Australia

Luke Binks at Blacktown Medieval Faire(photo by Garry Davenport)

Luke Binks has had a lifelong passion for knights and the chivalric culture of the middle ages. Not satisfied with what he could learn from books, in 2002, Luke began making armour, learning to fight and to ride horses. The following year, Luke competed in his first international joust. Since that time, Luke has competed in jousts in aproximately a dozen countries around the world, including tournaments in Australia, Europe and North America. He has also spent time living and working on all three of the above mentioned continents, in search of like minded people, the ultimate pass with a lance and the skilled clash of a sword.

Per Estein Prøis-Røhjell of Norway

Per Estein Prøis-Røhjell at Tonsberg Medieval Festival 2013(photo by Espen WinPics)

Per Estein Prøis-Røhjell, aka Pelle, owns and runs Trollspeilet with his wife Hanne. Trollspeilet is a company which offers riding instruction all over Norway and further abroad. Hanne also writes a blog about their work. Pelle and Hanne have two children. Pelle has participated in jousting tournaments in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and France as well as in his home country of Norway. In 2012, he was tournament champion at the Tournament of St Olav in Trondheim, Norway. Pelle recently retired his best tournament horse, Hugo, and many people are curiously waiting to see how well he will do with a new and inexperienced horse in 2014.

Petter Ellingsen of Norway

Petter Ellingsen at the Times & Epochs joust in Russia(photo by Andrew Boykov)

Petter Ellingsen began riding in 1998 with the sole purpose of learning to joust. He has striven to accurately recreate the way medieval knights rode. Eleven years ago, Petter began jousting internationally and has since jousted in thirteen different countries around the world. He has participated in more than 400 shows, tournaments and events. In 2012, he competed in the acclaimed Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel in Germany. in 2013, he jousted in front of over 200,000 people at the Times & Epochs jousting tournament in Moscow, Russia. Petter runs his own company, Ridderhest, which trains and supplies horses for video productions and live events. Recently, his horses were featured in a reality tv series called "The Last Viking". He also happens to be the organizer of this tournament.

Wouter Nicolai of the Netherlands

Wouter Nicolai at Arundel 2013(photo by Richard Pearn)

As a member of Stichting HEI, the premier Dutch display team for medieval mounted soldiery, Wouter is one of the Netherlands’ top historical jousters and is a highly active international competitor. In 2013, he competed in the White Bear tournament at Nyborg Slott in Denmark, in the Arundel International Tournament in England, and the Tournament of the Phoenix in the USA(at which he was named Most Chivalrous). His occupation as a professional jouster at the well-known Archeon Museum Park enables him to constantly hone his skills with horse, lance and sword. Wouter is also active in researching and reconstructing historical horse equipment, such as medieval and roman saddles.

Related articles:
Promotional Video for St. Hallvard's Jousting Tournament

There are numerous articles about The Grand Tournament of Sankt Wendel, several of which feature interviews with jousters who will be competing in St Hallvard's Tournament

Mounted Skill at Arms & the First Round of Jousting at "Times & Epochs 2013"

The Mounted Melees at the "Times & Epochs 2013" Jousting Tournament

Historical Jousting Tournament in Nyborg Slot in Denmark

Monday, May 19, 2014

Jim Myers Wins Lysts on the Lake 2014

"Lysts on the Lake 2014" was held May 8 - 11 near Austin, Texas, USA. The tournament consisted of three competitions based on skills and one competition based on honourable behavior. A winner was named for each competition, and based on how well the competitor did in all four competitions, an overall champion of the tournament was decided.

Seven people took part in the jousting competition. Jim Myers, on his Shire/TB cross gelding Moose, came in first, Sean Gulick earned second place, and Galen Bevel and Scott Wilson tied for third.

Jim Myers on his Shire/TB gelding Moose at Lysts 2014(photo by Dave Rauum)

There were also seven participants in the mounted melee. Sean Gulick, on his Missouri foxtrotter gelding Red, overcame all other competitors to win the melee, with Jim Myers coming in second place and Scott Wilson earning third.

Sean Gulick on his Missouri Foxtrotter gelding Red(photo by

Ten people competed in the mounted skill at arms course. Jeffrey Basham(who was the champion of last year's Lysts) received the highest number of points riding his quarter horse mare Pooh Bear. Arien Jade came in second, only one point behind him. And Jim Myers and Scott Wilson tied for third one point behind her.

Jeffrey Basham throws a javelin at the target during the MSA Course(photo by Dave Rauum)

Based on his behavior throughout the competition, Douglas Wagner was chosen by the Lady of Honour as Most Chivalrous. A choice that was proven to be the correct one, when he was spotted cleaning up the kitchen after the competitions were over. Because Douglas was unable to bring a horse of his own to the tournament, a couple of different people allowed him to borrow theirs during the various competitions. For the jousting, he generally rode Arien Jade's solid paint mare Daisy, but occasionally rode others. He rode Michelle Caddel's TB/Fells Pony gelding Taran for the mounted melee and mounted skill at arms course.

Douglas Wagner does mounted archery as part of the MSA Course(photo by Dave Rauum)

The prizes for this year's Lysts on the Lake were various bottles of wine and liquor with horse and/or knight themed labels. When asked about the prizes, Dawn Hemphill, the Lady of Honour for Lysts on the Lake, described how much fun she and a helpful clerk at Spec's had running around the store searching for appropriately labelled bottles.

Horse and knight themed liquor bottles were the prizes for Lysts 2014(photo by The Jousting Life)

This year's champion, Jim Myers, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his experiences as a jouster and during the tournament:

What inspired you to learn how to joust?
I’ve always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and have likewise always loved the medieval era. Knights in armor, Arthurian legends and all that. I started riding again a few years back and was really drawn to it when I saw folks jousting. Jousting is something that I only dreamed of in my youth, I never imagined that I might actually be able to do it. And then I saw these guys actually doing it…and they helped me to begin learning. There are a lot of really inspiring people jousting out there.

How did you go about actually learning how to joust?
Steve Hemphill and Dave Wise were instrumental in encouraging me to undertake learning to joust, and very informative and helpful getting started: horse training and riding, armor, lance techniques, and so much more. Then, again thanks to Steve and crew, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a three-day beginner’s class with Luke Binks at Lysts on the Lake a few years back.

Luke Binks teaching a class at Lysts 2012(photo by The Jousting Life)

Luke is a wonderful instructor and somehow managed to connect enough dots for me to actually be able to pull off a few runs down the tilt without killing myself -- or anyone else (much to everyone’s surprise, I believe). Since then I’ve been learning to ride better and practicing a lot, with further instruction and critiques along the way from Steve, Dave, Sarah Hay, Scott Wilson, Sean Gulick, Tiffany Geisendorf and a few others.

Some of it managed to get through my thick skull, and I keep trying to improve. I really have to give a lot of credit to my horse, though. Moose is incredibly willing, patient and forgiving, and knows his job (probably better than I know mine). He makes it so I can concentrate mainly on my opponent, which makes all the difference in the world. I’m very lucky to have found him.

Tell us about your horse Moose.
Moose is a 16hh, 9yo Shire/TB cross. He was raised by three very nice ladies near Kansas City, and was pretty green when I bought him 5-years ago. We’ve spent a lot of time riding trails, running down a tilt and even chasing a few cattle around from time to time. He has become my steadfast partner in crime, and I can’t imagine jousting without him.

Moose with rider Jim Myers(photo by The Jousting Life)

What part of learning to joust has given you the most trouble?
Improving my riding skills.

What are you most proud of when it comes to jousting?
I guess just being able to actually joust. It still amazes me when I think about it.

What was your favorite part of this year's tournament?
The camaraderie of all the folks involved.

What would you like to say about/to the others involved in the tournament?
It is an honor to be able to take part in this amazing tournament, and even more so to be able to call these folks friends. I can’t say thanks enough to all the people who work so hard to make Lysts such an incredible event.

What do you hope for in the future with regards to jousting?
I hope to continue having fun…anything more is a bonus.

Lady of Honour Dawn Hemphill poses with Moose and Jim Myers after the tournament(photo by The Jousting Life)

Related articles:
Chivalric Martial Arts International Symposium, Day 1

Charlie Andrews Wins More Than Just Another Tournament at "Lysts on the Lake 2012"

Video from the First Day of "Lysts on the Lake 2013"