About Jousting

Chivalric Equitation is the term that encompasses all of the phases of a modern competitive jousting tournament. Generally, these consist of Jousting, the Melee and Skill at Arms challenge courses.
The weight of armour has pretty not changed throughout history. It’s about 65 lbs. with some being lighter and some weighing more.
Not yet. When we are invited to participate in an international tournament, our generous hosts provide us with suitable horses. International travel for our equine partners is very expensive…over $5,000 one way to some places in Europe and over $25,000 one way to places like Australia and New Zealand. Unlike the Olympics, jousting tournaments don’t, yet, enjoy the sponsorships needed to help cover these costs. But, it’s something we’re working on!
I like to use the analogy “How much is a car?” It really depends on what your goals are. It can be anywhere from free (like a generous donation) to very expensive (over $50,000 in some cases). At the lower end, it’s possible to put together a harness for around $3,000 but it won’t fit well and will be pretty heavy. On the upper end, if you’d like a custom suit with extravagant embellishments and details, you can pay as much as you would for an expensive sports car. However, the average typically runs from $10,000 - $20,000.
Simply put…the one that you train to do it! Horse choice is a very personal preference but the ideal horse is one that is athletic enough to carry an armoured rider through sometimes as many as 30 jousting passes a day, a few days in a row. It’s not unusual to see large horses in the joust but they are not necessarily the best for the sport. It’s important to have an athletic horse who is responsive and disciplined enough for the sport. Personally, I’ve ridden horses as small as ponies trained for Barrel Racing up to 18hh+ draft horses trained to pull carts…with a number of Cutting, Reining and even Dressage horses in between.
The lance used in the joust weighs about 3.5 lbs. However, when properly held under our arm during a pass, we are actually lifting about 50 lbs.
Our lances are approximately 12’ long and made, primarily, of poplar. Because it is pretty expensive to replace all of a lance after each jousting pass, there is a 3’ long frangible tip (made of fir) inserted at the end. These tips are what we try to break during a pass and are much cheaper to replace.
Yes. The horses are real. The armour is real. The lances are real. Our tournaments are historic reproductions of actual jousts and are not choreographed. Each competitor wears authentic reproduction armour that is wore as protection during the joust…just like in the Middle Ages. Our armour is not a costume.
No. A strike from one of our lance can hit with over 3,000 Newtons of force. That’s as much as your body experiences in a car crash. However, our lance tips are spiral cut to a depth of about 3/16” for about half their length to allow the lances to break in a safe and predictable manner. If the tip were to break down it’s length, it can produce a very sharp and dangerous spear that can injure a horse, the rider or those on the ground.
Absolutely! Our armour fits very well and allows us a very impressive range of movement. If you can do a standing back flip, you should be able to do a standing back flip in armour!
Generally, no. Our armour is there to protect us and does a very good job of doing so. In fact, the armour does its job so very well that you frequently don’t even know that you’ve been hit. Occasionally, we might get bumps and bruises from an especially strong hit but it is pretty rare.
To show off your excellent riding and weapons handling expertise. 90% of jousting is excellent riding skill and less than 10% is hitting the other person (hitting them is actually the easy part!). Historically, jousting was scored based on the number of lances you broke, not for unhorsing your opponent (like is erroneously depicted in modern film, television and renaissance fairs). Although unhorsings may happen from time to time in a joust, they were, and still are, extremely rare.
We don’t! We wait until we’re able to take it off.
There are various types of jousting you can see in the world today. Renaissance Festival jousting (an elaborately choreographed stunt show or points based demonstration jousting), Reenactment jousting (as practiced in historical reenactment groups such as The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.) and Competitive Jousting. Competitive jousting is usually an invitation only type of tournament where riders compete for points and can be affiliated with organizations like The International Jousting League and the International Jousting Associations. These organizations keep track of affiliated tournaments and rank jousters on their leader boards.
The IJL was created in 2004 to provide those involved with jousting a reasonably safe and uniquely competitive environment in which to fulfill their passion for Historical Equestrian Sports. Since then, the IJL has grown into the largest and most active jousting community in the modern world. The IJL is one of the international organizations dedicated to promoting the sport of jousting. The IJL’s approach is to accept Affiliation Requests from Event Organizers who develop their own rules and requirements for their tournaments. The IJL does not have a base set of rules that Organizers must follow. It’s up to them how the events are developed and scored. After the request is examined by the Board of Representatives, a vote is taken and if accepted, the Organizer is given approval. At the end of the event, the results are forwarded to the IJL Secretary and are posted to the IJL website.
The IJA was originally formed in England in 1987 by Alan Beattie and some other English Jousters. But it was not until 1996 that the organization started to become properly established after a meeting in New Zealand between English, Australian and New Zealand jousting representatives. At this meeting the development and control of the IJA was transferred to New Zealand and Australia. The IJA differs a bit from the IJL in that the IJA specifically promotes an international standard of training and certification in jousting and related skills.
They certainly can! Jousting is a sport that is enjoyed by anyone with the desire to give it a try.
a’Plaisance Academy is here to help you start you journey into the larger world of Competitive Jousting. Please sign up by filling out our short questionnaire at https://www.aplaisance.com/information
We certainly do! Our Tournament Support staff is the most important part of our events. Without the generous support of the Ground Crew, there wouldn’t be much jousting going on. If you are interested in helping us out, please sign up by filling out our short questionnaire at https://www.aplaisance.com/information