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SCA Equestrian Weapons Construction

by THL Anna z Pernstejna

Ring Tilting-  The Game:  Tilting at the rings involves using a spear to catch rings hanging from a post.  The ring tilting course is made of 3 standards with crossbars for the rings to hang from using Velcro or magnets.  The rings range in size from 1" to 6", higher points being given for catching the smaller rings.  The standards are set either 21' or 30' apart.  The rider makes a straight run along one side of the standards, attempting to catch rings on the tip of the spear, turns around and returns on the other side of the standard, catching more rings. 

Manufacture:  The standards are made of 1 1/2" or 2" PVC.  You will need 3 lenghts of 10' PVC and 3 Y joints.  Cut each piece into a 6' and two 2' sections.  Fit the Y on the top of the 6' section (do not glue so you can disassemble it for moving) and add the 2' sections to form a T.  PVC cleaner will remove the printing ink.  Decorate the standards with colored electrical tape.  There are several methods of making bases for the standards.  Small buckets can be partially filled with concrete, with a PVC cap centered in the bucket to recieve the upright.  A metal spring with a sharp end to drive into the ground can also hold the standards. Large umbrella stands can also be adapted for use.  You will also need 2 each of rings sized 1", 2", 3", 4", 5", & 6".  These can be found at your local craft store.  Hanging ribbons from the rings makes them more visible (and decorative).  Magnets or Velcro can be used to attach the rings to the standards.  Put the fuzzy Velcro onto the rings to avoid clogging with dirt.  The spear is made from a 7'-8' wooden dowel.  The tip may be shaved down to make a point, or a metal tip can be added.  Wrapping the spear lengthwise and circularly with strapping tape will prevent splintering if the spear is broken.  Cover the strapping tape with colored electrical tape. Make a mark at 5' from the tip, so you will know where to hold the spear.  You may add a ring catch to keep larger rings from sliding over your arm.

Reeds-  The Game:  The alternating reeds course involves two rows of posts set up 21.5' apart in an alternating manner.  On top of the posts are wooden dowels of varying lengths (2"-10") attached with Velcro  or magnets and a lanyard.  The rider goes in a straight line between the rows, using a sword to knock over the reed tops, swinging to both the right and left.  More points are awarded for knocking over the smaller tops. 

Manufacture:  The standards for the reeds are made much as the rings stands were, using a base and PVC pipe.  Cut the PVC in half to make 5' stands.  You will need at least 6 of them, but 10 is better.  Top the stands with a cap fastened with Velcro or a flat magnet.  Clean and decorate as with the ring stands.  Cut heavy wooden dowels (at least 1" diameter) so you have 2 each of 2", 4", 6", 8", & 10".  Lag bolt a plate to the bottom.  If you are using Velcro, a wooden disc will work.  For magnets, use the rounded cover for a metal electrical box.  Attach lightweight rope for a lanyard from the tip to the stand cap.  This keeps the top from flying away and hitting something, and makes it easier to reach from horseback to reset the course. Wooden waister swords of hardwood can be purchased from dealers. A padded sword can be made of rattan by shaving the blade portion to 1/2" thickness, adding a haft, padding the cutting edge with close cell foam, and wrapping the foam and blade with duct tape. Add a counterweight on the pommel to balance the sword. An overall lenght of 36" works well.

Reeds Course Measurer: This is a handy item to help set up the reeds course quickly and accurately. You will need a heavy string at least 130' long (a carpenter's string on a rotating handle works well) and scraps of red, blue, and green fabric. Start by tying a scrap of green fabric to the end of the string. When tying the fabric, always tie the fabric on the string and then knot the string aroung the fabric, so the fabric will not slip on the string during use. Measure 4'6" from the green mark. Place a piece of red fabric here, knotting as before. Measure 10'9" farther down the string and place a blue fabric mark here. Alternate putting red and blue fabric on the string 10'9" apart until you have attached 5 red and 5 blue marks. Measure 4'6" from the last mark and attach a green fabric here.   How to use: Have one person hold the end of the string while another person unrolls the string down the course. Pull the string straight and set in on the ground. Place reed stands by all the blue marks, so the the stands are just touching the mark, making sure the stands are all on the same side of the string. Have each person stand on the blue or red mark closest to the end, so the string doesn't move. Pick up the green mark and move it away from the reed stands, perpendicular to the main part of the string. Now step on the green mark so it doesn't move, pick up the red or blue mark and place it on top of the green mark, stretching the string to take out any slack. Place the remaining reed stands so they touch the red marks on the opposite side of the string as the other reed stands. (The string will always be in the center of the course.) (You may need to widen the course if your stands are as narrow as the PVC.)  Roll up the string and have fun!

Quintain- The Game: The quintain generally consists of a shield shaped target set on a rotating arm mounted on a large base. The rider uses a 8'-12' lance couched under the arm and crossing the horse's neck to strike the target while riding past. This must be ridden at a trot or canter, so beginners are not allowed to do this game. The score is generally figured by the number of rotations of the target.

Manufacture: The quintain lance is made of 1 1/4" pultruded fiberglass. Dealers of this material can be found in SCA publications and links. When ordering the material you can specify it be cut in half and add a nylon joint splice, so the lance can be broken down for transportation. (When in use simply wrap the joint with several layers of strapping tape, covered with colored electrical tape.) Cover the striking end of the lance with a schedule 40 PVC cap and add a large hard rubber stopper of some type (a large dog's Kong works well). Add a funnel or cone for the vamplate and pad it to protect your hand. Add a ball hitch or other heavy material on the butt end to counter-balance the lance. A well balanced lance is much easier to use. The quintain itself is a major undertaking. It is recommended that you view other working quintains to assist your construction plans. Consideration should be made as to whether a portable or permanent quintain is desired. A permanent quintain might consist of a metal pipe or wooden post imbedded into the ground, standing 7' high. A portable quintain will require a large wooden base made of heavy lumber at least 3'x5', with bracing up to at least half the height of the post. A 7' crossbeam is attached to the post by a caster or some other manner that will allow the crossbeam to rotate freely. Cut a shield shape about 20" wide by 25" high of heavy plywood and bolt it to the right side of the crossbeam. Add a sand bag or other weighted object to the left side of the beam as a counterbalance.