In which awesome knightly things were planned, and then it all went straight sideways

It's always good to have a plan so you have something
to crumple up and use for traction when you get to a slick patch of reality.

The PLAN was to arrive at the trailhead early, do a quick loop (about 7.5 miles) and then head over to Fish Creek.

The REALITY was that we woke up to sn*w.

Just enough sn*w to make the dogs happy!

It wasn't a ton of the pesky white stuff, but it was still falling, and I have a standing policy that I don't hitch up and drive away from home when there's sn*w on the roads.

So, we went to breakfast.

In the hour or so that it took to order and snarf the veggie omelet and amazing homemade biscuit with marmalade, the roads cleared, the skies cleared, and we made a New Plan.

The New Plan was that we would all meet up and partake of Knightly Games, which are now informally being held mostly-monthly in the arena at Fish Creek.  Duana had a wonderful time doing this in November, and was eager to try the games with her young mare Freya.

Alas, Du got a call from home that the water heater was behaving in an untoward manner, and she was required to return home to help with the mess.  Instead of swords and lances,

Something this spendy should be more fun.

Du and Jason (and Dean and Katie) got to wrestle with a big, expensive box.

Then, Dory had to go wrestle with a bit of fenceline that was leaning in an alarming way under the weight of wet sn*w.

And Monica was under deadline to get some photos of her artist booth so she could enter some spring events.

That meant that back at Fish Creek, it was only Patty and Flower and the Dragon and me.

(and the Knights)

So, we introduced ourselves

Fiddle knows the rules:  weird stuff means cookies

We meandered around the arena as the Knights and their minions got into their garb, set up the weaponry, the quintain

Garb is an important part of the game.
My endurance garb was pressed into service, as it's the only garb I've got.

and the Heads.

Heads   photo by Tamara Skeen

Flower and Fiddle are both new to these Games, so we started off with baby steps:  walking through the weave poles, and then trotting them with no weapons in hand.

Then, we walked the poles and pushed the heads off with our hands.  That got a little reaction from Fiddle (WHA-A-A-a-a-a-a?) and almost none from Flower.

Next we added weaponry.  For beginners, the preferred weapon is a boffo.

Desensitizing the wild pony to the boffo = NBD

We walked the pattern and bashed heads, gently at first

and then more energetically.

Then: trotting!

Still not the thundering hooves you see in the movies, 

but a very nice start, and we were all well pleased.

Patty and I have spent the winter training our dogs, and we were happy to apply some of the things we've learned in canine training to our new equine adventure:

Still with the sn*w on the ground.  I am so done with winter.

  • Start small
  • Increase difficulty slowly
  • Reward the "try"
  • Praise praise praise praise praise  (add carrots, where appropriate)
"It's like dressage, but with a boffo.  We can do this."

When I got home at the end of the day, the art festival booth mockup was set up in the driveway.

Monica explains her artistic process to an interested onlooker

So: it wasn't the day we planned.

It was a Good Day, anyhow.


  1. Off with their heads! Even if the sn*w kept you inside, it looks like a lot of fun. I would love to try that.

  2. Sounds like it was still a really fun day!

  3. I love that last photo. The hen looks like a good listener.


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