The Red Spur


As with its cousin rank, the Red Cord, the Red Spur requires a concerted training and study effort to achieve, and will probably take you about three years to get there from the point at which you win your Blue Spur.  However, it is the journey itself that is rewarding whether it takes you two years or ten.

The Red Spur Curriculumred spur

As you work towards your Red Spur you will deepen your knowledge of good stable management practices, expanding into conditioning, conformation, bandaging and advanced nutrition and health care. You will refine your dressage and jumping skills, and add drills, cross country work, and more mounted games to your practice. Your swordplay practice will move increasingly from the falsemount to horseback, and you will add mounted versus unmounted opponents, sword and shield, and sword versus spear to your repertoire of skills.  Here is a run-down of skills required:

Horsemanship Levels 4 – 6grooming

  • Turnout
  • Stable and Pasture
  • Grooming
  • Feeding
  • Foot and Shoeing
  • Conformation and Unsoundness
  • Conditioning
  • Vet and First Aid
  • Saddlery
  • Bandaging and Travel (levels 5 & 6)
  • Longeing (level 6 only)

At each level you will demonstrate increased proficiency as well as greater depth and breadth of knowledge.  By the end of Level 6 you will be capable of not just caring for your own horse, but of managing a stable of riding horses with a reasonable ability to handle emergencies, common health problems, minor behaviour issues, and moderately sophisticated grooming and tacking needs.

Riding Levels 4 – 5skyler 2

  • Turn Out
  • Mount – Dismount
  • Position and Balance
  • Effectiveness and Use of Aids
  • Single hand reining
  • Vaulting
  • Mounted Games
  • Gymnastics
  • Stadium Course
  • Team Riding
  • Cross Country (level 5)

Through levels 4 and 5 you will further develop your position and the sophistication of your aids, beginning to work in lateral movement, lengthening and shortening of stride, a good eye for jumping course work, and confidence during games and cross-country work.

Riding Level 6

Level 6 is divided into two parts: riding on the flat, and games and fences.

Riding on the Flat

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

  • Turn Out
  • Warm Up
  • Position and Balance
  • Rhythm
  • Effectiveness
  • Transitions and Turns
  • Work on Contact and on Long Rein
  • Leg Yield
  • Prix Fiore
  • Team Riding

This evaluation consists of a warm-up, dressage test, a Prix Fiore test, a team riding pas-de-deux or quadrille, as well as demonstrations of leg yield and team riding passing skills.   You will be expected to ride all paces with and without stirrups and show good postion, control, and balance throughout.

Games and Fences

  • GymnasticsShannon pegging
  • Stadium Fences
  • Effectiveness
  • Jumping with sword
  • Mounted Games
  • Cross Country
  • Effectiveness

The jumping portion will involve some stirrupless work and jumping with sword in hand, as well as bending lines, spreads, combinations and changes of rein.  The cross country section will include varied terrain and paces between 275 and 400 m/m.  Mounted games will require speed, accuracy, and control.

Mounted Combat Skills

  • Swordplay from the ground
  • Swordplay from horseback
  • Sword and shield
  • Spear versus sword
  • Mounted Games
  • Knowledge

Swordplay will involve true, adaptive, and deceptive plays through multiple crossings with longsword in both one and two hands.  Swordplay, wrestling and falling practice will move from the falsemount to the horse, and plays with mismatched weapons (spear vs sword, mounted vs unmounted) will be introduced along with the shield.  Mounted games proficiency will focus on spear and sword, and your knowledge will expand to the mediaeval (Fiore) and early modern (Pluvinel, Guérinière) periods.

While this overview may seem daunting, the Red Spur is eminently reachable when broken down.  If you don’t have time to practice all three areas of the program you can choose do to them one at a time.  If you’re keen, and want to progress as fast as possible, make time to ride at least three times a week and practise your swordplay as often.  Private riding lessons and weapons mastery classes will fill the gaps between our weekly classes.

Every journey begins with a single step.  Next week we’ll begin to examine the Horsemanship 4 requirements.  Tally-ho!

Mounted Combat 2016

Riding and Horsemanship classes begin January 31st, and Mounted Combat classes start the following week, February 7th.  We will start the year with a Mounted Combat playday on January 31st as well.  All classes take place at Red Colt Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, in Richmond.

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship
Sundays 31 January – 6 March, 10am – noon
cost: $300 + gst

Riding & Horsemanship Level 2
Sundays 31 January – 6 March, 10am – noon
cost: $300 + gst

Horsemanship Level 3-4
Sundays 31 January – 6 March, 10:30 – 11:30am
cost: $130 + gst

Riding Level 3+
Sundays 31 January – 6 March, noon – 1pm
cost: $200 + gst

Mounted Combat Playday
Sunday 31 January, 1:30 – 4:30pm
cost: $15 + $15 for use of school horse
Free for ground crew & spectators!

Intermediate Mounted Combat
Sundays 7 February – 6 March, 1pm – 3pm
cost: $160 + gst

Mounted Combat Fundamentals
Sundays 7 February – 6 March, 1:30 – 3pm
cost: $120 + gst

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.