The Cavaliere Program: Many Goals, Many Routes

There are a multitude of reasons people come to the Cavaliere Program: they always wanted to be a knight; they're bored with the show-ring and want a new equine activity; they want to take their swordfighting to a (literally) higher level; they want to learn about horses and riding; they were horse-crazy kids whose parents never succumbed to their "please," ... the list goes on.

With three ranked streams in the program -- Horsemanship, Riding and Mounted Combat -- as well as many different activities, such as Mounted Games, Archery, Mounted Combat, Prix Fiore, Dressage, Cross-Country, etc. it can be difficult to choose your path.  Here's a  guide to help you navigate the program, based on your goals, and links to courses that will help you get there.  (Note: although most courses have started, they are only one week in and can still be joined by calling the Front Desk to register at 604 568 9907.)False_Mount_arena

I want to learn about fighting from horseback ... just not from a horse

Just like we learn to swordfight without ever expecting to be in a real swordfight, we can learn about mounted combat without expecting to get on a real horse.  Whether it's allergies, a distrust of vehicles with minds of their own, or a dislike of heights that keeps you from wanting to get on a live horse, you can still learn the fighting techniques of knights from the ground and the falsemount (wooden horse) in our Mounted Combat Fundamentals course.

Mounted Combat Fundamentals

I want to learn more about horseshay

Horsemanship is the class for you.  At Level 1 and 2, Riding and Horsemanship are taught in the same class.  However, if you are not interested in riding, but still want to learn to handle, groom, feed and get to know horses, you can take these classes at a reduced cost without participating in the riding portion.  To find out more about this option, contact jennifer (at)

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship

I want to learn to ride

Jo dressageStart with Beginner Riding & Horsemanship to work on getting your Riding Level 1.  This is the key to participation in most of our mounted options.  If you already have some experience, you can jump to Riding & Horsemanship Level 2.  In these classes you'll spend about half the time riding and the other half learning basic horsemanship.  Once you have your Level 2, you can take riding-only classes in Riding 3+.

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship
Riding & Horsemanship Level 2
Riding 3+

I want to expand and refine my riding

Keep an eye out for more Prix Fiore workshops this summer to practise your drill manoeuvres.

There are a variety of clinics offered during the summer, such as Classical Riding, Cross Country, Prix Fiore and Mounted Games, which allow you to dip your boots in new disciplines, or get down to the nitty-gritty of your riding skills.  All of these have a riding prerequisite and some require Level 2 or higher.

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship
Riding & Horsemanship Level 2Clinics

I want to try Mounted GamesIs balloon

To participate in Mounted Games at the Beginner level you will need your Riding Level 1 -- no swordplay experience necessary!  Sign up for Riding & Horsemanship classes as above.  Once you have your Riding 1 you can participate in our Mounted Combat Playdays every second month, as well as our annual tournament at Carosella.  To hone your skills, keep your eyes open for our clinics, which are offered once or twice a year in the summer.

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship
Mounted Combat Playdays

Horseback archery is my thingKate archery

You can take our Beginner Horseback Archery workshops with no experience with horses or archery under your belt.  However, if you want to progress to the Intermediate workshops you will need your Riding Level 1.  Once you have Riding 1 and have taken at least one workshop with us, you can participate in the Horseback Archery portions of our Playdays.

Beginner Horseback Archery
Intermediate Horseback Archery
Mounted Combat Playdays

I want to learn to swordfight from horsebackSteph vs ben

Start with either or both Mounted Combat Fundamentals and Beginner Riding & Horsemanship.  They conveniently run on the same day so you only need to make one trip to Richmond each week.  This will put you on track to getting your Green Spur, which requires Horsemanship 1, Riding 1, and your Mounted Combat Fundamentals.  With your Green Spur you are then eligible to take the Intermediate Mounted Combat classes, which include mounted sparring, spear, grappling, and more advanced swordplay.  You can also spar in the tournaments and playdays!

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship
Mounted Combat Fundamentals
Intermediate Mounted Combat
Mounted Combat Playday

I want to do it all!

We hear you, and you can do it all, either in bits and pieces or all at once.  Start with any of the beginner courses and get on the road to mounted mastery.  The classes listed below have already started, but we're only a week in, so it's not too late to catch up.  Call the front desk at 604 568 9907 to register.  See you at Red Colt!mounted-combat-2-685-375

Current Schedule

Beginner Riding & HorsemanshipLaura & Jack

New or relatively new to riding?  This class is for you!  Learn everything you need to know to get your journey in the saddle started, from handling, grooming and tacking up, to confidently riding at a walk and trot.  Course fees include a riding or horsemanship assessment on the afternoon of November 22nd.

Sundays 18 October – 22 November
10am – noon
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
prerequisites: none

Riding & Horsemanship Level 2Jenn flag

If you have completed Horsemanship Level 1, you have the option of staying with the Beginner course or moving on to this class as you work towards your Riding Levels 1 and 2.

Sundays 18 October – 22 November
10am – noon
cost: $300 + gst for 6 classes
prerequisites: Horsemanship Level 1 and some riding experience

Horsemanship Level 3-4legs

This series of six classes will cover the material needed to achieve either Horsemanship 3 or 4.

Sundays 18 October – 22 November
10:30am – 11:30am
cost: $130 + gst for 6 classes
prerequisites: Horsemanship Level 2

Riding Level 3+Jack 2

This series of six classes is tailored to the participants’ needs as they work towards the higher riding levels in the program.  Course curriculum consists of improving the quality of walk, trot and canter, lateral movements, quadrille and pas-de-deux work, mounted games skills, trot poles, gymnastics and jumping courses.

Sundays 18 October – 22 November
noon – 1pm
cost: $200 + gst for 6 classes
prerequisites: Riding Level 2 or permission of instructor

Mounted Combat – BeginnerDuello_Mounted-Combat_Chena_2897

Learn swordplay and grappling techniques from the ground and from the falsemount to prepare you for mounted combat.  By the end of this course, you should be able to sign off your Mounted Combat checklist, and if you have your Riding and Horsemanship level 1 you will be eligible for Green Spur classes.

Sundays 18 October – 15 November
1:30 – 3pm
cost: $120 + gst
prerequisites: none

Mounted Combat – Intermediate (Spear Focus)Christian quintain

This course is designed for riders who have achieved their Green Spur and are working towards the next rank.  You will spend roughly half the time on horseback and the other half on the ground and falsemount working on your grappling, swordplay and spear skills.  Each five-week course will have a specific focus to address one area of the Blue Spur checklist — this month we will be focussing on spear.

Sundays 18 October – 15 November
1:00 – 3:00pm
cost: $160 + gst
prerequisites: Green Spur

Cavaliere Assessments

This is the last assessment date of the year.  Make sure you set aside time for this to level-up before the 2016 season starts!  A single assessment (Riding, Horsemanship, or Mounted Combat) is included in the cost of the above courses.  Additional assessments are $50 or $80 for two parts.  Even if you are currently registered in a weekly course, you must sign up ahead of time to ensure you have a space in the assessment.

Sunday 22 November
1:00 – 4:00pm
cost: $50 for 1 section; $80 for 2 or 3 sections
prerequisites: permission to assess

Mounted Combat PlaydayKailea & Steph

Finish off the year with friendly competition to test your skills in mounted games, archery and combat!  Spectators welcome, and volunteers always needed.  Hot chocolate and goodies will be on offer.  Come out and celebrate with us!

Sunday 6 December
1:00 – 4:00pm
cost: $15 + $15 if school horse used
spectators: free!



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.