In the SCA we do some contact jousting, but mostly we practice the games of skill that squires and other mounted warriors would have partaken in, in the medieval period. This includes hitting the quintain. The quintain is a rotating target that helps the equestrian practice hitting a solid target. The more forceful the strike, the more rotations the quintain makes, but beware, on the other end is a counterweight that will come around and strike you if you are not quick enough!
We also joust rings. The rings range from 6″ to a mere 1″ and the equestrian must spear these with their lance, usually while at a canter! Other activities include spear throwing and stabbing objects on the ground. Sword work, where fake heads are knocked off of posts. Obstacle courses and sometimes even archery from horseback.
Often these games are grouped together to form a course for the rider to perform and sometimes teams of riders are needed to do all of the activities. These games allow the riders to display their medieval gear and horse costumes and are true spectacles where you can easily believe you are in the middle ages…
The games really display a partnership between horse and rider. Not everyone needs to own a horse and medieval tack to participate. Ground crews to help reset targets and assist the riders are always welcome. In fact it is a great way to get introduced to our activities! Of course, spectators are highly encouraged.