Sunday, November 4, 2012

Spamalot with Blessi

We are no longer the Knights who say Ni. ….We are now the Knights who say …Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ptang. Zoom-Boing. Z’nourrwringmm.”  Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975

Blessi and I were accepted into a jousting clinic this summer. I have always wanted to try the equestrian games of the medieval re-enactors. It seemed like a good idea to practice some of the skills involved in the medieval games before showing up for the clinic. Blessi and I started prepping for jousting.

I bought a ten-foot wooden pole to serve as a practice lance. On the ground, I carried the pole as I walked with Blessi--tapped it into things, dragged it on the ground, swung it over Blessi's head, etc. We even charged/trotted down the center of the arena as I was shouting knightly oaths such as "Gadzooks" and "For St. George" and "We are the Knights of Ni" as we pretended we were really jousting against the Black Knight. (Sometimes it is good to be at the stable by yourself.) 

Blessi had no problems with any of this. We stopped frequently for a carrot break. At one point, I put the "lance" on the ground and Blessi tried to pick it up. I think he thought that just walking with me as I was doing crazy things with a pole was not challenging enough to earn carrots so he was trying to figure out he could earn more carrots. He also started spontaneously bowing at times like he was saying "Look how good I am" or, perhaps, he was just trying to increase the carrot distribution rate. 

As we practiced on the ground, it quickly became apparent that handling a ten-foot wooden pole requires some skill and strength--especially in the wrists—which I have not developed. For Blessi's sake, I decided to use a pool noodle when I actually got into the saddle.  

Blessi was a bit leery of the noodle nodding over his head--he raised his head by about three inches and braced a bit but this lasted for about three minutes as he realized that riding with a pool noodle above his head was just another stupid but harmless thing Pam was doing.  

He quickly relaxed and we walked around the arena practicing turns while carrying a pool noodle as I tried to change direction using just my seat and legs (works when I go to the right but not so easy going to the left).  

Note to self don't ask Blessi to turn in the direction of the pool noodle. Second note to self--don't get distracted and bop Blessi on the top of the head with the noodle. He doesn't mind but it is rude. 

So after riding around, I decided to pretend the pool noodle was a lance and try to spear the mounting block that I had moved to the middle of the arena. Once again, we walked down the center line and I shouted warlike cries such as "Tallyho" and "Into the Valley of Death" (OK, I was having a bit of multi-tasking issue-- balancing a pool noodle, avoiding bopping Blessi in the noggin, riding with my seat, watching for people coming to the arena, and thinking of knightly sayings at the same time.)  

Well one of the things about pool noodles is that they don't fly very far but they do slide along the ground for long distances. Thanks goodness Blessi is used to me dropping things from the saddle--he never flinched and continued walking calmly as I launched said pool noodle and it skittered across the arena. When I asked Blessi to stop, he came to a very soft stop and I gave him a big hug for indulging me. When you practice silly things like this in the arena nobody gets to see you make a fool out of yourself but then nobody is there to help you pick up the "lance" for another round or help you if you get tossed off the back of your horse for silliness. So I called it quits for the day.



Emily Lacey said...

Hi! I happened across this looking for pool noodle lances. This was very entertaining. It looks like you certainly enjoy yourself and your horse. Loved it!

Blessiowner said...

I am glad that you enjoyed the posting. Blessi is constantly entertaining. Are you looking for pool noodle lances to prepare for an equestrian tournament?