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.
Photo: Duke Henrick (c) 2005 by Rima of Rockridge. Used
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
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
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
Oct 2005 - errata - corrected the date
of the creation of the first equestrian office, per Duke Henrik.