The Kingdom of Osgoode opened its’ doors today to host its’ 10th annual Medieval Festival, complete with fools, crafts, food, and, most importantly, warriors on foot and on mount. To start, the Kingdom is a trading space where local artisans come to sell their wares to anyone walking by and that is exactly what you would expect. But, in all fairness to them, that’s not why I came.
I came to see the death sport of jousting and men being men in the fighting arena. And I wasn’t disappointed. To start, the fighting arena hosted men AND WOMEN in armour, both plate and mail, using a variety of weapons from swords, pikes, spears, and knives, right down to fists and feet. They gave a good demonstration of how things were done in medieval times and it is to be wondered at as to how they can work so hard for a hobby. To begin with, they are using real armour, between 120 and 140 pounds of heavy metal, heavy weapons, and having to move like a ninja to stay alive. Kudos for just attempting this but to do it with this regard for authenticity deserves special mention. As well as the knights, there was a contingent of Vikings who also put on a fierce demonstration of their fighting methods to awe the crowd.
There were several other demonstrations but the most notable was by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy who brought a Harris Hawk who free flew, a small Horned Owl, a Kestral (smallest raptor in North American), and a Bald Eagle. Great looking birds.
The point of the day, however, was the jousting. This is not for kids as this is full contact jousting where the blunted tip can deliver 5000 pounds per square inch of force from an 11 foot long douglas fir lance. Each of the three jousters wore between 120 and 140 pounds of armour and commanded a 2,000 pound Percheron horse into battle. Of the jousters themselves, one was a lady, Jaclyn Ziemniak, called Lady Jaclyn, one from the United States (Kyran Fairchild), and Tyler Bekolay, originally from Ottawa but currently from 15 Wing RCAF (Moose Jaw), named Lord Tiberius. The spectators are warned that there is a very real possibility of pieces of wood flying into the stands so one should be ready to move or put someone between oneself and the incoming shard of wood.
The competition started with a skills contest where the riders rode down the list at full speed with a spear, blunt end forward, to try and capture rings held aloft by squires. Once they had attempted to capture the rings, still moving, they reversed the spear and drove it into a target on a bale of hay. After that, they showed power by attacking a Quintain where they had to hit a shield on a spinning arm and be by before the arm spun to the other side and from which hung a bag of rocks which would hit them if they were too slow. In the afternoon competition, they forewent the quintain and took a squire, put a helmet on her head, and then put an apple on top of the helmet. The trick now was to ride full speed down the list and strike the apple, not the squire, and leave a piece of apple for the next knight to try and hit. First down did very well as split the apple leaving about 1/3 on the squire. The second knight (Tiberius) missed this tidbit and Lady Jaclyn hit the head of the squire before getting the apple. No injuries were reported.
The jousting competition followed the skills contests and consisted of three rounds of jousts where points were awards as a single point for a hit on the chest target, 5 points for a shattered lance, and 10 points for unhorsing a rider. The winner of the round then went on against the champion in the same manner. I must say that I enjoyed the jousting and there is a great skill in handling an 11 foot, 40 pound, piece of lumber on a thundering mount. Not just holding the thing but actually being able to put the tip on a point of another moving target. Several times the knights failed to couch the lance (get is secured under the arm in its holder) and had to toss the lance aside. My guess is that they toss the lance so as to not gut a horse if the point goes low. On most passes, a lance was shattered (1800 psi to do that) and on more than one occasion a knight was unhorsed. And it takes a moment for a knight to get up from an unhorsing as they have just absorbed a tremendous hit as well as hit the ground with their own weight and that of the armour.
Overall, it was an entertaining day and the weather, although forecast to be iffy to bad, was perfect. I’d recommend this event for anyone looking for something different for the day. And, as a note, all the horses save one are rescue horses and are treated like royalty themselves.
To see all the pictures, CLICK HERE