Get Your Game On: Incorporating Mounted Games

Horsemanship Level 4: Mounted Games

It is possible to progress through our Riding and Horsemanship curricula without ever taking up mounted combat, and some people do this.  However, we think you're missing out on a lot of the fun as well as on the riding skills that mounted games build.  So even though we test mounted games skills for the Blue Spur, we also include some at Riding Level 4:

10. Mounted Games. Spear 3 rings or cut 3 blocks in one pass at canter with sword or stick.

You can find advice on this topic on this Blue Spur post, so I won't repeat it here.  What I will repeat are the benefits of practising mounted games, regardless of your preferred riding discipline.  These include:

  • improved hand-eye-body co-ordination.  It takes a lot to pick up an object, put it down, or hand it off to another rider all at full gallop.
  • balance.  We get you to touch your stirrups in warm-up to test your balance, but there's no better test than reaching for an object -- again, at full gallop.
  • complete ease with single-handed reining.  When you are focussed on completing a task you don't overthink reining -- you just do it!
  • courage and 'stick'.  Horses tend to enjoy games and often get a bit ... over-exuberant.  Nothing puts glue on your breeches like riding out a few bucks.  And hey, you're not a proper rider till you've been dumped a dozen times, so you might as well get that out of the way sooner rather than later.  It will improve your ability to ride out everyday spooks, bucks, and bolts ten-fold.
  • fun.  There's more laughter, cheering, good-natured ribbing, and happy smiling faces at a playday than at any other equine event I can think of!

We run playdays at Red Colt on the first Sunday of every second month, and I encourage everyone who has at least their Riding Level 1 to come out and try some games.

IMGE comes to our region in July!

This year the Lower Mainland region is fortunate to be hosting the International Mounted Games Exchange (IMGE) which brings together the best 15 year olds from around the world to compete on July 16th at Campbell Valley Park.  The games only come here every dozen years or so, so be sure to mark your calendars and come out to cheer our Canadian team as they compete against Ireland, the UK, and the USA.

Our local IMGE team member Meigan deposits litter perfectly mid-buck!

In the meantime, enjoy these pics of Masters and A-team members from last weekend's BCLM Pony Club playday courtesy of Chris Richardson.

Upcoming Classes

Note that Mounted Combat Mastery classes operate on tuition — if you have a tuition package and a Green Spur or a Green Cord you can drop in any time.  You can sign up for all other courses and workshops here.

Youth Riding & Horsemanship

This course for kids aged 6-13 will introduce your child to ponies and horses in safe, fun, and friendly series of six classes taught by Pony Club qualified instructors. Each class contains a riding lesson as well as a horsemanship lesson, where students will learn to handle, groom, and care for ponies and horses. Curriculum follows the Canadian Pony Club D level lessons and will prepare students for testing Academie Duello Mounted Combat Riding 1 or Pony Club D Level after one or more iterations of the course.

Thursdays 4pm – 6pm
11 May – 14 Jun
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Kate Landels

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship

If you’ve never been on a horse, or if it’s been a long time, here’s the place to start.  When you arrive at the barn at 11am, you’ll begin with a horsemanship lesson, familiarizing yourself with the horses and their tack, as well as how to groom, handle and tack them up.  Then you will have a riding lesson, working through the requirements of Riding Level 1 — the prerequisite to most of the fun stuff we do on horseback!

Saturdays, 5pm – 7pm
3 Jun – 8 Jul
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Stephanie Laversin

Register here, or bundle with Mounted Combat Fundamentals and save $36.

Riding & Horsemanship Level 2

This course is intended for riders who have taken classes through the program and are comfortable tacking up their own horses.  Riders should arrive at 9:30am, to tack up and warm up their horses before starting their riding lessons at 10am, followed by Horsemanship Level 2 or 3 lessons at 11am.

Saturdays, 5pm – 7pm
3 Jun – 8 Jul
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Stephanie Laversin

Register here, or bundle with Mounted Combat Fundamentals and save $36.

Riding Level 3+

This class is intended for independent riders who have achieved Level 2 or higher.  Riders are expected to be tacked up and warmed up prior to class.  Your own helmets, boots, and half chaps are recommended, as are safety vests for the occasional cross-country class, weather permitting.

Saturdays, 4pm – 5pm
3 Jun – 8 Jul
cost: $200 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Stephanie Laversin

Horsemanship Level 3

These classes cover the material for Horsemanship Level 3, including grooming, tack-fitting, nutrition, farriery, vet & first aid, conditioning, and shipping.  A level 3 assessement is included at the end of the series.  These series are only offered around twice a year, so don’t miss it!  Level 4 classes will begin in June.

Saturdays, 5pm – 6pm
3 Jun – 8 Jul
cost: $100 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Kate Landels

Mounted Combat Playday

Sunday 2pm - 5pm
4 June
cost: $15 + $15 for use of school horse

Come out and practise your mounted games, sparring, and archery in a fun and friendly environment.  Prerequisites are Riding Level 1 for mounted games, Riding 1 + Beginner Horseback Archery for archery, and Green Spur for mounted sparring.

Beginner Horseback Archery

Whether you are an expert rider or archer, or a complete beginner at both, this is your starting point.  You will spend about an hour and a half on the ground learning the techniques of Hungarian archery from the Kassai school.  After that you will begin shooting from horseback while our handlers lead your mounts past the targets at the walk.  Experienced riders may have the option to try shooting at faster paces without handlers if they are competent and comfortable at the walk.

Sunday 6 Aug, 10am – 1pm
cost: $149 + gst
prerequisites: none

Intermediate Horseback Archery

If you have taken our Beginner course previously and have a minimum of Riding Level 1 or the equivalent this course is for you.  Riders with Level 1 will walk and trot, Level 2 Riders will be able to shoot at the canter.  Last time we practised multiple targets on canter circles — what will we get up to this time?

Sunday 6 Aug, 2pm – 5pm
cost: $75 + gst
prerequisites: Riding Level 1, Beginner Horseback Archery

Mounted Combat Fundamentals

This 6-week series of classes is intended to give you the basics of swordplay from the ground to prepare you for fighting from horseback.  Participants at this level will practise from the ground and the falsemount to achieve the combat skills needed to attain the rank of Green Spur. Students who have their Riding and Horsemanship Level 1 and who attend all five classes can reasonably expect to attain their Green Spur by the end of the series.  Once you have your Green Spur, you can sign up for Intermediate Mounted Combat, and can spar in our regular Playday event, as well as competing in our annual Carosella tournament.

Sundays 1pm – 3pm
16 Jul – 20 Aug
cost: $135 + gst for 6 classes
instructor: Aaron Lamontagne

Register here, or bundle with Riding & Horsemanship and save $36.

Ongoing Mounted Combat Mastery classes

These 2-hour sessions focus on the weapons skills needed to progress from Green to Blue Spur.  Regular tuition includes classes taken entirely from the ground (no riding skills necessary).
Sundays noon – 2pm
cost: 2 hours tuition
instructors:  Jennifer Landels

You can register for classes in person at the front desk, by calling 604 568 9907, or online here.


Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.