We have a small core group of 4 horses (currently Charlie Monty, PJ and Will) that we use for all of our activities including jousting. These horses are owned privately but are made available to approved riders subject to the owners' permission.
We also have a number of retired Warhorses from our earlier years of jousting at home with us too. We hope to find one or two younger horses in 2016 who we can bring into our team. so if anyody knows of a good non-thoroughbred gelding in the 16 hand area aged around 6 - 8 let us know!
In addition to our own local team we can also call on the services of additional horses and riders from around other parts of New Zealand. Below are the details of our own local (Upper Hutt) team of horses.
Charlie Warhorse is 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. He is the most experienced warhorse in the country and has appeared at many of our events around New Zealand and at our tournaments and events since 2001, as well as being used to train many of our other New Zealand jousters at our training workshops. So he has developed into a "been there and done that" horse that most people (experienced and novice riders alike) can work with. Charlie is what we call in New Zealand a "good doer" and it is hard even in Winter to keep the weight off him! As an experienced warhorse, we use him for all of our cavalry activities. We also use him for both dressage and jumping
Monty is a 16.1 (165 cm) hand Stationbred (probably ½ Clydesdale and ½ Stationbred) who we purchased in 2007 when he was 5 or 6 years old. He had been mistreated somewhere in his past so he had developed a general mistrust of people. As a result it took us several years of time and effort to rebuild his trust in people enough to start training him for jousting. However, once he learnt to trust us he soaked up training like a sponge. He rapidly developed into a trained Warhorse and he performed brilliantly in his debut jousting tournament - Taupo 2010. Since then, with his huge presence and alpha personality, Monty is our lead war horse he loves to joust. We also compete with him regularly in dressage, flat classes, jumping and One Day Events.
PJ is a 16 hand (162 cm) Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse cross gelding who we purchased in 2002 when he was 5 years old. He made his first jousting appearance at Harcourt Park 2004 in the skill-at-arms. PJ quickly developed into one of our strongest horses in the joust, helping to earn his riders places in almost every event that he taken part in. He is a very trusting horse that most people, beginners and senior riders alike can do well with. This is another horse who just loves to joust and we also use him for all of our other cavalry activities. PJ is also used for dressage, jumping and One Day Events.
Will is a 15.3 hand (160 cm) gelding who we purchased in 2005 when he was 9 years old. We are unsure of his breed but he is a warm blood cross. Will was one of the stunt horses used on Lord of the Rings where he was mainly used as a front line "Rohan" cavalry horse. During the 2008/2009 season he developed into an all-round warhorse, particularly at Harcourt Park 2009. He is not that keen on jousting so we retired him from that in 2013 but he is good at everything else.
His forte is as a mounted rifles horse in which he excels as the vital “Number 3” horse in a Section of 4.
The Medieval Warhorse in Modern Times
Horses are the key elements for the success of any cavalry based re-enactment group.
In the Order of the Boar everything is focused on the care and welfare of our horses. We have adopted the old cavalry adage “the horse, the gear and then the man” - as our group's motto.
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 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!