Mounted Fencing Clinic at Historic Equitation

With everything going on in 2019-2020 – reenactment events have been nonexistent; everything has been closed. While 2021 is looking up because there might be some historical shows this year, it is not going back to normal soon.

I’ve been on the lookout for other things to do with that in mind. Then, the Wednesday before, I found out about a Mounted Fencing Clinic run by Dominic, Emily, and their team at Historic Equitation in Sudborough, Northampton.

It was a two-day event at their equestrian yard, set up to train horses and riders in the art of historical riding and horsemanship. In addition, every month, Dominic Hosts a clinic of some sort on all aspects of historical riding and horsemanship.

The clinic, described as their first in 2021 in a post COVID19 world, on the topic of mounted fencing. The website says the clinic covers the historical methods from the manuals written by the Medieval masters Talhoffer, Kal, and Lichtenauer.

For those unfamiliar with the term clinic, a clinic is a conference or short course on a particular subject. In this case, it’s a group of interested people who either loan a horse from Historic Equitation for the day or bring their horse. The intent is to work on their medieval mounted fencing techniques described in the medieval fight manuals as a group. 

HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) practitioners will be familiar with these fight manuals and the masters that created them. They have painstakingly recreated medieval fighting styles and systems from these manuals.

Teaching people how to be effective fighters is an old profession. As long as there have been people fighting, I’m sure there have been people instructing on fighting. The earliest of these European manuscripts that we know about is I.33, currently housed in Leeds Armouries. The I.33 manuscript dates to about 1270-1320 C.

You have to imagine that back in the day if you were an important person of high status, you had to be able to ride a horse, you had to be able to fight. Your position in society and your life depended on it. These elites have money and naturally pay to have the best instruction.

Some of the manuals created served as a sort of advertisement, like a mailshot today. The masters would send these fight books around, looking for customers, “if you pay me to train you, this is what you will be able to do *shows the book*.” Sometimes as an aide-memoire for people who had already paid and received training. So they could go away and train and refresh their memories on the moves and methods.

What Dominic From Historic Equitation is doing is teaching the mounted, horse-based parts of these treatises. If you are like me – this is perfect, even if you’re not a rider – Dominic and his team will be able to sort something out for you. Check out their website, get in contact and let them know I sent you. 

With covid restrictions now being eased, it is essential to get out and support places like Historic Equitation that teach these very niche and specialised skills. 

I am looking forward to the next clinic at Historic equitation and the 2021 show season.