The Society of Creative Anachronism is a Medieval reenactment group, kind of. It’s the best parts of the middle ages, really, but not the Ren Faire you might be thinking of. Renaissance Faires are all about Shakespeare and entertainment. You attend as a passive consumer - maybe you chomp on a turkey leg or dress up, but you pay an admission price and stay a few hours and then go home. The SCA isn’t a Ren Faire. It’s a several day long event where everyone is in costume all weekend and actually doing the activities they love from that time period. Everything from embroidery contests to mead brewing to full armored combat. I got involve with my local SCA Shire years ago when I wanted to take up archery in a serious way. Now I am a card carrying archery Marshall in the Society. But this year at War Camp I wanted to bring Merlin. I wanted to try the Equestrian Games.
So Patty (seamstress and teamster extraordinaire) sewed up garb for our horses (dagging for the reins and cool saddle pads) and we trailed up our steeds to enter the games at the local fairgrounds. When we arrived as saw a tent city, people in historical clothing, pigs roasting, horses, and men in armor getting ready for the day of battles and contests even though it seemed to threaten rain. I should admit right now and without apology that seeing incredibly physically fit men in leather and plate armor is one of my favorite parts about the Society.
We tacked up our horses and rode them into the arena. There was a special obstacle course of sorts, meant to test the skills of a horse that would be used in this time period for both hunting, events, and jousting. There was boar target to throw a spear at off horseback. There were posts to weave through with “heads” you knocked off with a wooden blade. There were mounting and dismounting blocks, side passing, and small game targets. It was a blast and while Merlin wasn’t thrilled about spears and horse-eating-styrofoam boar targets be was game enough to try. Patty and Steele however SHOWN bright as new stars and she passed not only the SCA’s riding authorization but got a martial authorization! Which means she can wield weapons on her horse at SCA events. Merlin needs to get used to spears a little more for that. I’m not rushing him. I was just thrilled to try the course and be mounted on my pony at a place I once only shot arrows at targets.
There was a large event of announcements and awards around 10AM and so after our morning on the field we got to ride right into the main building and attend Court from horseback. Few times have I felt as cool as I did riding into a royal court at a reenactment on the back of my Fell Pony. My saddle pad was a black sheep skin. I was in kilt, puffy shirt, and chaps. I felt great from head to toe and Merlin didn't even mind the hollering and celebration. What a day!
The best thing about the weekend is that we got to meet and talk with all these other cool ladies that do this for fun. Within a few hours emails and ideas were traded and it looks like patty will be hosting practices at her farm. Which is WILD! I mean, we show up just to try something new at our local fairgrounds and now we’ll be hosting East Kingdom Equestrian Game practices right here in Veryork?!
I wish you could see the size of my smile as I type this.