I’ll start with explaining that everything is alright before going further. English Jouster, Nicky Willis, unfortunately had a fall before the first show of the day. It was a very awkward looking fall, which she very nearly recovered from, and as a precaution she was withdrawn from the event for the day. She is fine and intends to retake her place for tomorrow. That’s great news and I know that many will be very much relieved. Nicky’s mount, Alfie, remained on his feet and though flustered by the events he is fine and took part in the rest of the day.
This is a rare occurrence, the horses and riders are so well trained that falls are rare. Indeed these horses are trained for safe falls for stunts as they perform live stunt shows as well as performing for Film & TV. However it is, as I often state in my blog, a live sport and as such these things can happen.
The show went on and every attempt was made to put things back on track as much as possible. Credit to the competitors, the ground crew from Atkinson Action Horses and the Royal Armouries Staff.
Sadly the weather wasn’t the best and most of my pictures are unusable, the image above is of Stacy van Dolah-Evans who is the Marshall for this Tournament. I will check with my friend, Kelly Fowler, who often lets me use her pictures if she has better ones, she almost certainly will, I will share those later in the weekend.
The Marshall is a senior Knight who oversees the Tournament making judgement calls on matters regarding the adherence to the rules. So he is like the Referee of a Football match. Stacy is a previous winner of both the Sword of Honour and the Queen’s Jubilee Horn at the Armouries.
In the 12:00 show we had the first part of the individual event with the English and Polish Knights competing. The Burgundian team acted as Mounted Squires. You can read more about the competing Knights in my article, ‘Who will win the Easter Tournament at Royal Armouries?‘, from March 22nd.
There was a display of martial skills by the Mounted Squires and then by the Knights. These skills were essential training methods for the Tournament as well as for war. Training on horseback was essential and would have started very young for those of noble birth, or those selected to serve. Similarly training in the use of armour was not something that would have been skimped upon.
The skills at arms on display were Striking at Hoops with a Sharpened Lance, Striking at cabbages with Sword, Stricking at a target with Dart (short throwing spears) and Striking at the Quintain with a Jousting Lance. These skills are always a great way to warm up the crowd and give them an appreciation for the skills required not only with the weapons but the relationship between rider and mount.
I overheard a young boy discussing this with his mother. He assumed as the horses were simply running in a straight line for a Joust the Knight only ‘sat on the horse’. It was clear he understood the principle of a rider controlling a horse but he hadn’t connected how the two skills must come together. As the Herald for the Tournament, Charlie, so often says Education is rather important.
Without pictures I won’t go further with describing these skills further. I have detailed them in some detail previously and I will do so again in a separate article so that reference to this is much easier for readers. If you do want more detail you can find it in the first article I wrote about Jousting in 2013, it really does seem much longer ago than that.
With Nicky Willis injured Jan Gradon and Jarek Struczynski took her place at times to keep the number of rounds to the planned amount and to keep her in the running. Stacy later informed me that the individual event may be rescored when Nicky returns to make it fair to all, I’ll keep you informed on this.
The individual event had a very unexpected result in one pass with Andy Deane unseated. Andy told me later that he may have been able to recover but that his mount, Dylan, was at that point travelling so slowly he judged it safer to take the fall so he ‘left the saddle’ rather than ‘lost the saddle’. Had he been on one of the larger horses, such as Patric, he may have decided differently.
At the later show the Team Event started with the Polish team taking on the Burgundian team. The Burgundians were victorious, this is one of the better photos I managed to take showing the Burgundian team with Styeve Gagnon at the front and Ben van Koert following. Again I hope to bring better photos of all the Knights later in the weekend.
This was the first Tourament that my eight year old granddaughter, Alexa, has attended. She lives in Liverpool and despite my plans she has repeatedly been unable to join us for the event. She loved it all and had the five competing Knights sign the wooden shield she bought (well I bought) in the Gift Shop (it is fairly near the front of the Museum but not as near the front as The Doctor likes to see them). You can’t see the signatures in the imagge below but here she is with Andy Deane. Her Mum used to cheer for Andy when she was young.