We have a small core group of horses that we use for all of our activities including jousting. These horses are owned privately but can be made available to approved riders subject to the owners' permission.
Running against another horse in the joust is unnatural for many horses and although some horses enjoy it, it takes time to build trust and train a horse to become a Warhorse.
Below are the details of our current team of Warhorses.
Based in Upper Hutt and owned by Callum Forbes, Nugget is a 165 (16.1 hand) Clydesdale X mare. She was originally owned and trained by Auckland jouster John King (deceased). She was born around 1998 and appeared at the last Harcourt Park tournament in 2015 and at a number of events in the Auckland/Whangarei areas after that. We were extremely fortunate to obtain Nugget in early 2021.
She is a very courageous mare and is well proven in all of our activities.
The Warhorse in Modern Times
Although several modern breeds of horse claim lineage with the original medieval warhorse, most of these breeds have been bred for other purposes in later centuries and are often no longer as suitable for their original purpose of jousting.
We instead use solidly built horses in the 15 to 16.2 hands range (150 cm - 165 cm). This is in line with archaeological and other historical evidence as to the actual size and look of the medieval warhorse; one of the great myths of modern times is that medieval warhorses were the equivalents of today's huge Shire and other draft breeds.
However the right physical characteristics are not enough. All of our horses have been selected because of their boldness and their reliable temperament.
It takes a great deal of work to train a horse to joust, but more importantly the horse also has to enjoy it. If a horse is not comfortable with any activity there is no way that the rider can humanely enforce his or her will over it.
All of the horses used by the Order of the Boar are owned by our Riding Members. Most of these horses are also used in other equestrian activities including Dressage, Jumping and One Day Eventing by their owners so they all have a lot of variety in their lives!
Charlie Warhorse was a 15 hand (153 cm) Pony x Standard bred cross. We purchased Charlie in 2001 when he was about 8 years old and he quickly became one of our main horses before his death in February 2019.
What to say in a few worlds about a horse that was a legend in the jousting community. Well for starters he was the best. Over 18 years we threw everything at him. This horse did more in his 18 years with us than most horses get to do in a life time. He also had a successful career as a sports horse with us and we used him for about any re-enactment activity that you can think of. From LARP to being strafed by Fokker Triplanes - nothing bothered him.
Every jouster that we have trained has done time on him. Whenever we hosted international jousting events he was the one horse that everybody wanted to ride.
A couple of Summers ago he developed a really bad respiratory infection which he never really recovered from so we retired him from all events and just worked him carefully at home. This year he had a really good Summer and seemed to be returning to the Charlie of old. On Sunday afternoon he was being ridden by one of our new riders and he looked superb. So it is good that right up to the end he was still doing what he did best.
He was 26 and will always be in our hearts.