A Baronial Horse Guard
THE DREIBURGEN LIGHT HORSE
A BARONIAL HORSE GUARD
First published A.S. XXII
All ye who read the Beau Cheval and cherish things equestrian in this royal and noble land of Caid, I beg leave to recount the tale of the founding of the Dreiburgen Light Horse. “Dreiburgen Light!” I hear you cry, “Couldst be some nut brown ale which ye ha’e brewed?” No my Lords and Ladies, ‘tis not that; but a squadron of light horse. Light, in this instance, meaning that the riders are not encased in heavy armour.
It all began on a summer’s eve when a few of the lads and lassies were taking a bit of refreshment at the Hall after some hot and dusty work in the corrals of Montrose. It seems they were discussing horses and the affairs of the Kingdom as lads and lasses are often wont to do.
“’Tis sad…sad that equestrian arts have come to such low estate! Why at the last coronation the Queen’s Own Horse Guard numbered only four! Pity! (This was early last summer mind you.) There are plenty of riders around here…” Or words to that effect.
“I say, we could have a Baronial Horse Guard which would outnumber the Kingdom’s.” Mayhaps that was taking a wee bit of advantage seeing as how Dreiburgen lies in the heartland of Caidan horse country.
Well…like a grain of sugar, strung and hung in heavy syrup, the whole thing crystallized in less time than it takes to tell and the Dreiburgen Light Horse was born. Baron and Baroness, Leo and Rowena, suddenly found themselves with a vigorous horse guard on their hands. The leader and advisor, of course, is Drusilla of Montrose (who has been riding horses longer than most of the Caidan populace have walked the Earth…though I may now have to leave for distant kingdoms for revealing that). Drusilla brings to the barony a lifetime of riding, training showing, teaching judging and had the honor of being selected “Horseman of the Year” for 1974 by the Riverside County Horsemen’s Council. Some even think she was born on a horse and her son Aladric very nearly was, but that’s another tale.
It was decided that the “Light” would make its debut at the Viking Games for it was the next event which could host horses. Then followed the usual furious activities…sewing baldrics (azure and argent as in the Baronial Arms)…the making of bardings – all in true SCA tradition ‘til nearly the dawn of the day of the Games. Then there was Lady Rathyen’s Tristam to break to the trailer as he was still too young to ride to the site and of course, training rides for those horses who had grown soft with inactivity or were too green to go out without some training. All in all, a busy, busy week to say the least. And almost before we know it the day came as such days inexorably do. Over the two-day event the Dreiburgen Light rode a total of 12 horses to the field.
But come! Tarry a while! The tale is not yet complete. With the group scarcely a day old, it faced its first challenge. This is a tale well worth the hearing for who should be in attendance at the Games but none other than Earl Sir Edward Ian Anderson himself of the Queen’s Horse Guard. Upon learning of the new Baronial unit from Baron Leo he was prompt to issue a challenge to tilting at rings. Such an honour was not to be gainsaid, the challenge was accepted…BUT who could ride for the Light? Lord Malcolm had tilted before in Equestrian Events of yore and had practiced a bit between. But Malcolm had suffered a wounded arm the previous week in a fall from the wall of the new Baronial Keep (baptizing same with his flesh and blood in an admittedly inadvertent re-enactment of an ancient and barbarous custom). Scratch Lord Malcolm! No carrying of lances for him! Most of the other horses in the Light were not trained to carry a lance or their riders were not. A pretty pass for the first day out! Who could face the Queen’s champion tilter mounted on Donwenna’s great warhorse, Odin?
Well…there was SHA Banat Ar’rih, whose name meant ‘Daughter of the Wind’ who HAD carried a lance…some years ago…and Lord Aladric was one of our senior riders…could he? If the noble Earl could offer the fledging group some instruction…would he? Not only could but did, and the tournament was on!
There followed a mounted class wherein Sir Edward most generously imparted of his knowledge on the art of spearing rings with a lance for the benefit of all riders assembled… and then demonstrations and practice runs by Aladric which were followed by the passes at the canter by Sir Edward and Lord Aladric for scoring.
At this point Drusilla and Mornay, working as ground crew replacing the rings on Sir Edward’s ingenious tripod, felt the breath of Loki, that mischievous old Norse god (these were the Viking Games, remember?) for the West Wind had been teased to life. Unless the rings were placed with great care…and more than a little luck,…they would quirkily turn edge-on to the on-coming lance. At the conclusion of the passes, it developed that Sir Edward and Lord Aladric were tied, and a run-off was in order. Both riders made flawless runs through the first three ring sizes, and at last the tip of Sir Edward’s lance just grazed the smallest three-inch ring tickling it off into the sagebrush.
Thus Sir Edward’s pupil, Lord Aladric, won the day. And now, my Lords and Ladies all hearken to Mornay for just a wee moment. As I watched the events of that day, culminating in the rides of Sir Edward and Lord Aladric, I felt privileged and uplifted – a feeling that for all of us comes all too rarely. And there was a feeling in the air a little like history being made and a corner being turned in Caidan equestrian affairs. There are new challenges ahead of us exemplified by the changing conditions in mundane equestrian matters and by the possibilities inherent in new groups such as the Dreiburgen Light Horse, and perhaps most of all by the chivalry and generosity displayed by Sir Edward that day at the Viking Games. I say to you – match that! Per aspera ad ‘equestritatis’ magna cum laude – or something.