A Jouster’s Experience at the Abbey Medieval Jousting Spectacular

A Jouster’s Experience By Lady Elizabeth Brown, Moonlight Manor Horse Riding

So…. how did the Abbey Medieval Jousting Spectacular go – some of you have been asking ……

It was FANTASTIC!!

Liz Brown at the Jousting Spectacultar www.abbeymedievalfestival.com

A little history on my own jousting career:  I have been involved with jousting for a decade, but my jousting spiralled down & I’ve never taken it to the levels that I’ve wanted.  In fact, I got worse about it.  My armour has never been great, lacking in places, loss of movement in others & nearly every jousting experience I’ve had to date I would walk away very physically damaged due to not having enough armour protecting me.

Bit by bit, my confidence & desire to joust pretty much dried up.  I used to end up doing events that I wasn’t really prepared for & end up an absolute emotional & physical wreck.

Bit by bit, Shanks & I have worked on my armour to have it protect me better.  The end result is armour that isn’t great, but has now become fairly safe.  Just a few more adjustments.  But the end goal is to figure out an entire new harness that will make me essentially bullet proof!!!

Because I’ve had so many problems with feeling safe with jousting, I’ve started to flinch BAD.  Very, very badly!! Which also means I’ve not even been targeting properly as I’m too busy trying to protect myself & freaking out at the other lance coming at me.

This last week, Shanks & I have had to work like mad to get my gear up & me to some kind of level of being past an absolute nervous wreck!!

I wasn’t initially meant to be jousting at this event.  Just through various riders having to pull out at the last minute for various reasons, it came down to still needing 6 riders & there was essentially only me left!!

We did a trial run the Sunday prior, where Shanks hit me with scored tips a couple of times, just to see if I’d completely panic.  I flinched A LOT, but I didn’t panic!  So I told Justin I could do it – so long as I rode Flash!  And to please take it a bit easy on me!!!

At least I was on my Flash!!

Last night, in the actual tournament, the first 3 runs that I did were terrifying & I was literally shaking under my armour.

A few things helped me out:

1 – Flash was running so strongly down that tilt line (he LOVES jousting!!) that I had absolutely no choice in the matter!  It didn’t matter how terrified I was feeling, he just went, “come on mom, I’ll show you what to do!” & admittedly, I did leave most of it up to him!!  If I had been on a horse that needed me to be a leader, I don’t think it would have worked, but Flash is such a wonderful jousting horse, he doesn’t need me to be his leader, he’s more than capable!  Thank you my wonderful Flash!  He was my leader & my guide & never put a hoof wrong.

2 – The scored lance tips & my armour actually protecting me.  After the first 3 hits, in my head, I went “I’m not getting hit!! I CAN DO THIS!!”

3 – All the support I’ve had from EVERYONE, it has been the most amazing joust I have been involved with while I’ve been riding.

So, after I realised my armour was doing it’s job, I actually started to target.  I managed to sort of hit, but skim off twice & then it happened!!!  I BROKE & SHATTERED THE LANCE TIP!!  I DID IT!!!!!!! But not only did I manage to make it happen, I did it without utter terror!  FOR THE FIRST TIME – EVER!!  Unfortunately, I only had one more pass after that & did miss, but I think I know where I went wrong & what I need to do.

liz brown 2

I went from being an absolute ball of near-terror to, for the first time in my jousting career, actually JOUSTING. And what I mean by that, for the first time I was able to stop worrying about myself & focus on the target.  I think if I’d had the opportunity to have had a few more shots, I would like to think I would have had my eye in better, but I was actually getting hungry for the hit, I was actually focusing in on the target!

WHAT A FEELING!!

Now I know why we do this crazy stuff!! Lol!

For the first time EVER, I’ve walked away from a joust, uninjured & my confidence soaring, for the first time EVER, I’ve walked away knowing that I was starting to really zero in on the target.  For the first time EVER, I’ve walked away without fear.  I was almost disappointed that I didn’t get more time to get more hits in & that is something I have NEVER experienced!

So although my targeting still needs work & practice, I can honestly say, for the first time last night, I rode as a jouster, riding towards my opponent with very little fear.

I cannot express what that feels like.

I have walked away scoring the least amount of hits, but in some ways I feel more elated because my fear is all but gone.

Despite having walked into this joust VERY reluctantly, the outcome has been an amazing experience & I couldn’t have done it without the support of my Shanks & our housemate & friend Kimberly Belcher.

Thanks also go to Justin Holland, Vikki Subritzky, John King, Wayne Rigg (Rigsy), and Andrew Beattie.  THANK YOU for being such an amazing & supportive joust crew.  I felt so safe working with everyone who was jousting which went a LONG way to help me achieve what I achieved.  I could NOT have done it without you!!!

To Paula Winkel & Damien Fegan – thank you to all your hard work & organising that went into the event & putting up with my jousting issues!!!

To all the ground crew & especially Amanda Challen.  Nyx was an ABSOLUTE super star & so were you!  You helped out SO much, were there when you were needed & I meant to also say, you did great calling out when you were coming up to retrieve lances when we’re mostly blinded by our helmets.  We are very much looking forward to training you & Nyx up for Abbey!!!

The BIGGEST THANK YOU goes to my boy, Flash! Although he was driving me a bit batty with his separation from Teliah issues, when the time came, I was totally safe in the care of his “hooves”!  I most certainly could not have done it without him!!

And to anyone else that I may have missed, thank you!

It truly was, for me, SPECTACULAR!!!

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