The Jousting Life

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jeffrey Hedgecock Wins Médiévales Neauphle Le Chateau 2014

The following text and images were provided in their entirety by Gwen Nowrick of WorldJoust:

The first WorldJoust affiliated tournament of the season has been won by Jeffrey Hedgecock of the USA.

Jeff(right) is congratulated on his win by tournament organizer Luc Petillot(left)
(photo by Pauline Massin)

The annual Médiévales Neauphle Le Chateau event is hosted by the Lion’s Club. The event has living history camps and diplays, food, vendors and entertainment, as well as a skill at arms/jousting tournament. The tournament is organized separately by Luc Petillot of ‘Excalibur’. Previously run as an independent tournament, Luc wanted to improve the quality of the tournament, so in 2013 he decided to affiliate with WorldJoust Tournaments, becoming one of four tournaments on the WorldJoust ‘circuit.’

Following the WorldJoust model of invitational tournaments, 6 knights were invited to compete:

Marie Baron, France
Mark Griffin, England
Jeffrey Hedgecock, USA
Luc Petillot, France
Xavier Fauvel, France
Jean-Luc Narbonne, France

Friday’s riding activities were a display/warmup and did not count toward the final scores. The tournament was run on Saturday and Sunday, and consisted of 2 events per day. The morning’s event was skill at arms course which included striking 4 ground shields of decreasing size, quintain, striking a target off a post, ring, javelin throw, cut/thrust, and a halt on a mark to finish. The afternoon’s event was jousting.

On Saturday Jeffrey won the skill at arms but did poorly in the joust. On Sunday he came first in the skill at arms and did well in the joust. The final results of the tournament had Jeffrey winning the Skill at Arms, Marie winning the jousting, and Jeff taking the overall tournament prize for the second year in a row.

Jeffrey shared the victory with second place finisher Marie Baron. Jeffrey explained his decision this way- 'I finished with 60 points, Marie had 59, and the rest of the riders were below 50. Marie rode so well and broke so many lances on Saturday that had she not missed the quintain Sunday morning she would have handily won it. I felt I had to share the win with her.'

In addition to jetlag, one of the challenges facing competitors who travel is riding an unfamiliar horse. Jeff rode 'Diego' a 4 year old Spanish stallion who came from a yard that supplies horses to Napoleonic reenactors. Little was known about the horse, and it was unclear whether he had ever jousted before. Jeff explained ‘I think at first Luc [organizer Luc Petillot] didn't want to tell me that Diego had never jousted. He was rather vague, saying only that he had ridden Diego in armour and that he would be fine with jousting because of all the Napoleonic reenactment Diego had and all that. Given what he said I wasn't sure if he had jousted or not so I was prepared for anything.’

Jeff and Diego get ready to compete in skill at arms(photo by Pauline Massin)

‘After a pass or two it was clear Diego hadn't jousted. He wasn’t afraid at all, he just didn’t understand the job. Thankfully, with a day of getting to know each other under our belt he trusted me, and being a stallion he was pretty fearless and didn't mind armour, lances or the impact and all. He just needed some "coaching" and a little encouragement to understand what he needed to do in the tilt. My experience with Morro [Jeff’s own stallion at home] gave me the tools I needed to work with, and together we sorted it out. Diego is a great horse with a lot of heart, and really responded to kind, clear and decisive direction. He was amazing for the rest of the tournament, and we made a great team. I look forward to riding him again at [the Napoleonic event at] Waterloo next year.’

Jeff travels to Poland at the end of June to compete in the Tournament of King John at Gniew Castle, the second tournament on the 2014 WorldJoust circuit.

-Gwen Nowrick for WorldJoust Tournaments™

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