History of the Origins of Equestrian Activities in the SCA

By Duke Henrik of Havn, KSCA, OP, OL

Ed Note:  The Guild thanks Duke Henrik for his generosity in sharing this piece of equestrian history.

Henrik of Havn

Photo: Duke Henrick   (c) 2005 by Rima of Rockridge. Used with Permission.

The history of Equestrian activities in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) , begins with the first use of horses at Tournaments. As mentioned in other discussions when Hirsch von Henford first began discussing the SCA's history with some of us that were around at the beginning, I was the first person to ride in the SCA. That was when I first rode a horse in my (then) new mail hauberk ( which I now find should more correctly be called a byrnie or broign , since a hauberk was originally just a mail hood or coif, not a full length shirt or tunic of mail)  and wore a spangen helm and sword, and carried a shield and lance. It was at the fourth SCA Tournament, on March 25, 1967 in AS I. The first issue of Tournaments Illuminated has a drawing of me riding in this armour , as the front cover artwork. This illustration was taken from a photo of me, which I have a copy of, and was drawn by Diana Listmaker.

The next event was more specifically a foot combat combined with equestrian tournament, which was held on April 27,1969, AS III . A quintain was available, and we rode at it till it finally failed and fell apart (due to insufficient engineering for the forces applied by the various contestants).
The next event with Equestrian activities, was at the first overnight tournament, held on May 17 and 18, 1969, AS IV, in Oakdale. At this event, Sir Robert of Dunharrow and I fought on horseback with mace and shield (on Saturday the 17th).  
On January 8, 1971 AS V, I created the first SCA Office of Equestrian Arts during my final court, at the end of my fifth  Reign  as King of the West.  I appointed Mistress Suzanne of Ravenhill, OL., as the first Kingdom Minister of Equestrian Arts in the West ( as well as The Known World).
The next Western Equestrian Event was on July 19 and 20, 1975, AS X, and was a full equestrian tournament, running for two days. Competitions included Costume for Horse and Rider, Tilting at Rings, Tilting at the Quintain, Behead the Enemy, and several other competitions which may have included one or more of the following typical events of that time period: Goblet Race, Flag Race , Squire Rescue Race, Fair Damsel Rescue Race, and Obstacle Course.  
On September 27, 1975, AS X, Mistress Suzanne of Ravenhill retired from the position of West Kingdom minister of Equestrian arts, and I was appointed to the office, as her successor, which I held for many years afterward, both singly as well as jointly with Mistress Cliveden de Cheiux.
On May 1 and 2, 1976, AS XI, several members of the Principality of Caid drove up to the West Kingdom Coronation Tournament bringing their horses with them. These included Jeanett La Rue Cheval, Bevin Fraser of Sterling and Sir Morven of Carrick. They as well as other Caidians, participated in the Equestrian Competitions held there that day, which autocratted by me.
In subsequent years, Caid became a Kingdom and developed its own Equestrian group which grew and initiated their own events and activities. This was perhaps the second major area of Equestrian development in the SCA.
I can't give much comment about other out of the West Kingdom Equestrian developments, other than to say I saw some horses at Pennsic War in 1977, AS XII.


Copyright 2005 by author and photographer.  All rights reserved.  If you wish to republish, please contact the author or photographer.
Photo used by permission from the Kingdom of the West history page and the photographer.

Oct 2005 - errata - corrected the date of the creation of the first equestrian office, per Duke Henrik.

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