Training the Horse at the Quintaine and Ring
(need a historical picture-- romance of A?)
Positioning the target
Your target, whether it is a quintaine or a ring, must be positioned on the opposite side of a tilt barrier, at a height and distance from the tilt equivalent to where you expect to find the shield of an oncoming opponent. This may be different than the arrangement used by your local SCA group, as a tradition has developed of spearing rings using short light lances aimed at targets on the right side of the horse. While this is a fine test of other skills, such an arrangement does not aid in the development of the lance techniques needed for jousting.
The more you can make your solo games similar in technique to jousting, the better prepared you will be. The first step is putting your targets on the left side of the horse and across a tilt, and ensuring that you are using a lance long enough to make such an arrangement feasible.
The quintaine is generally easier to hit, usually being a larger target, whereas the ring requires more precise targeting.
Before you attempt to hit the quintaine or rings as a training exercise, introduce your horse to them on the ground. Let them touch the target on their own and observe that it spins / detaches.
For rings, make sure you allow the horses to hear the sound of the ring sliding down the lance before you make your first pass.
If you have a horse who is already familiar with the game, let the experienced horse interact with it while any less experienced horses watch. Horses watch each other for cues as to whether something is safe, and learn to trust quickly when they see other horses trusting.
Once the horses have seen the quintaine spin from the ground, let them observe an experienced horse and rider striking the quintaine from the tilt. If you have very inexperienced horses, make sure that there is a more experienced horse between them and the quintaine when it is struck. You can slowly bring the inexperienced horses closer to the quintaine after they become comfortable watching the strikes and the rotation.
Practice the basics
Make sure every pass has a goal beyond just hitting the target. Each pass at a ring or quintaine should start, continue, and end as if it were an actual jousting pass. This establishes a pattern for the horse of calmly waiting, progressing, and stopping that will become the critical platform upon which jousting is built.
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