Duke Henrik’s Challenge to the Chivalry of The West Kingdom

This  topic is rather sensitive and I write with the utmost desire for confidentiality. I write about my Challenge to the Western Chivalry.

As You know , I have always felt that a Knight should be a horseman as well as a foot combatant. Now the Chivalry in the SCA ,have evolved primarily from foot combat. Added to that, are those Masters of Arms who have no clear tradition of being horsemen.

In an attempt to show as many of the Chivalry as I could draw interest from,  the pleasures of riding, and especially of mounted conflict in some of it’s various forms, I issued my Challenge to the Kingdom’s Chivalry. As it turned out, I received a fairly sizable response to the positive. However over the five plus years since I issued my Challenge, the actual number of the Chivalry who actually got on a horse, when I was able to do the same and rode my Challenge, fell significantly short of the initial responses I received, on  the couple of occasions when I issued, and later reissued my Challenge, in Court.

Of those who failed to do so, several gave me their bond that they would do so as soon as we could mnage it after the Challenge term and it’s extension, expired.

I can find no fault of any significance, here, and am thankful the few of whom I speak, still want to ride with me. I intend to do so, as time and circumstances permit.

As for those who originally took up my “gauntlet” and then fell by the wayside in their desire or actions, to complete the challenge, I can not fault them any more than myself. I do, however wish that some other incentive were to mateialize that could encourage the Chivalry to ride at some event. I point out that several Knights have told me that they rode many years ago, some in their youth and others later, yet never considered riding in the SCA. Others have ridden in the past before my challenge was issued and never rode since.

I would like to encourge the holding of Pas d Arms Tournaments, where participants do both foot combat and ride a horse in some manner. For 50th year I would like to sponsor such a Tournament – perhaps for belted Chivalry contestants only ( similar to the one I sponsored at TYC in Texas), regardless of which Kingdom in which 50th Year is held – but preferably here in this Kingdom. The simplest form would have them only ride on a caparisoned horse, in an opening procession, being lead as necessary, with their shield and helm displayed before them and their Lady seated in the Gallery. Then combat would ultimately ensue, either mounted or on foot as may be. I would offer a prize for the winner, of significant stature and desirability. Holding similar Pas her , sometime during the years between now and then, seems desirable, bothto furtherencouraage our chivalry, but to also allow finding any bugs in this sort of tournament and fixing them.

If the Crown were to encouraage such activity within the Equestrian community of this Kingdom, perhaps this might encourage others actually hold sucn an affair and help develop support infrastructure such as rental horses, for those who have none of their own or access to any.

Another matter that I’d like to bring up – especially since the future of Equestrian competition at Estrella war is being postponed for the forseeaable future. That is the matter of selecting a Champion to ride in similar competition to that which Her Highness and I competed in last Estrella War. The Queen’s Equestrian Champion Competition. Her Highness was not the Winner of the last Equestrium Competion. The winner of that event was absent from Estrella War. Queen Catherine selected Countess Aurora to ride in the Champion’s stead. I was unaware of both factors and was seeking a Western  Royal to Champion, and found Princess Vittoria without representation. Due to the stormy weather then active, Princess Vittoria was not able to be contacted by me and I sought permission from Queen Catherine to ride as Princess Vittoria’s Champion, which was granted.

What this all boils down to is, I feel some manner of determining  an alternate Equestrian Champion for The Queen, or some other sgnificant person, from The West, should be enacted at such times that the Kingdom Equestrian Champion or Queen’s Equestrian Champion , is unavailable for any reason. In that case reasonable annoucement should go forth to proclaim that a Champion is needed to attend and participate on the Queen’s ( or other great personage’s ) behalf, as interim Champion. This should allow other riders to hear of the need and respond with a suitable reply, which could  include volunteering as a replacement.

Doing this and announcing in as ample lead time as possible, woulld go  a  longway to helping those like myself, to learn of a need and  so be able to offer to fill it – hopefully with enough lead time to adquately prepare.

So ends this series of writings. I hope they are received as kindly as they were intentioned.

Henrik of Havn

February 2020