• Fencing

    Rossfechten Symposium 2018

    When me and my travel companion finally parked on the stable parking lot, she turned to me and said “How are we going to be able to re-tell this trip to people?”. And its so true, how can you explain all the people, horses, experiences, moments. It has just been such an amazing week, but maybe I should just start at the beginning.

    On Tuesday morning I met up with my good friend Sabina and loaded up Talhoffer and headed for Denmark. We had booked an overnight stable near the ferry and the stable owner was so nice, and we really felt welcome. Talhoffer settled in quickly and was eating his hay happily when we left for the airbnb where we were to stay the night. I was a bit worried for the loading the next day, as Talhoffer, well he hadnt been difficult loading the day before, but I felt he had been a bit hesitant. But I didnt need to worry, he just walked right in to the hay and it was just to close the door behind him, then the next worry was the ferry. Also something I had not needed to be worry about at all. Even though we got on last and stood just below the big siren that sounded when they closed the doors, Talhoffer hardly flicked his ears. After a two days long journey, where we got delayed on the German roads for about 3-4-hours, due to traffic, we finally could roll trough the gates to Arnes place in Germany.

    Thursday was a beautiful day and I started the day with a ride up to the castle above the town with some of the other riders, then me and Sabina walked to the next town and ate lunch and just enjoyed the surroundings. The rest of the day I just made sure the horse had settled in, and we settled in, and just regained energy from the last two days of travelling.

    Friday we were five people that drove up to Buckeburg where we met up with Diana Krischke who gave us a tour, which was so interesting. I got a whole new understanding about the spade bit, among other things, and it was just so nice to see all their wonderful horses, and they all seemed so happy and calm. We also got to see the show, with such nice riding. Happy horses, that got praise and cookies, performing all of the schools. High level riding, like it should be!

    During Thursday and Friday the grounds started to get filled with horses and people, and I really took every opportunity I could to fence. So when ever I got a free moment I was like “Dont anyone want to fence?”. And most often there where! Friday evening we did some Fiore, and then we kind of tired of that and I was like “Cant we look a little on the Liegnitzer half-swording?”. So I got my copy of the manuscript and we started to go trough the first play and its counters, and apparently this made me the expert on half-swording, so the rest of the weekend I dont know how many came to me and was like “Cant you teach me half-swording”. And I kept telling people that I never done this before, I only done this plays, but well, that didn’t seem to matter.

    Talhoffer did so good in the sessions. I mean the level on the riding in this group is trough the roof, so it is such a privileged to get to ride with all these amazing people. And Talhoffer is no way near ready in the body to perform in the same way, so I was mostly focusing on him being calm and getting the exercises. First session we just rode around the other horses, practicing turning around each other and just get the horses to get used to each other. Then in the afternoon we did some sparring, which was very low-level for us, and I cannot wait until we can play for real!

    After dining on wild boar it was Tango night! It was just much fun, first we had 2 hours with a teacher, just going through the basics, and then it was free dancing. I just love dancing, and in the end I ended up dancing with Nick, who I started to teach more moves, just so I could have some fun (like the sandwich so I could do swiwling games). In the end all the other left the dance floor and we were like ” we need a water break”, and then we were like Okay shall we get all the others on the dance floor? but when we returned, they turned the music off! And then I looked at the time and was like “Quarter past twelve??”… I had danced for a total of 4 hours straight…. Did I say I love dancing?

    Sunday went in the same theme, horses and swords. Our morning session was about lances and swords, and I thought that might be a bit much for Talhoffer, as he as reacted to long waving sticks before, but he did SO good! He did not react at all! And I felt really confident with the lance, almost more than with the sword. So I was really proud of him. It was interesting because we looked at a lance technic I raised question before on our facebook forum, which is really odd, as it shows a picture of a person with a sword grabbing the lance from the inside, as all of the other technics I ever found, you grab it from the outside.
    The sparring session during Sunday also went much better, where I concentrated alot more on good riding. It still is way below the others, but it felt better, and that is what matters. The last session was cavalry vs infantry, and that got a little too much for the golden pony, so after a little training session with just him, where the foot people only moved away from him, we cut it short.

    In the evening many had left for home, as most had a long way to journey, but we few who had stayed had such a fun evening, where we played games on the lawn, watching people do the wheel barrow and spinning around a sword and then running and I dont know what not, and it was just such a laugh.

    I met so many amazing people, and had such a good time! I think what I felt most happy about is that I really felt I leveled with people, I had something to contribute with, it was not just me soaking in knowledge from others, I could actually have discussion and contribute myself.
    A year ago when it was posted about the symposium and I saw the spots filling up in like an evening. I was, no I dont need to go, it would be fun, but I dont just want to travel down because everyone is doing it. If I am to go, it is because I have a place there. Then I was asked to be there, so I was like okay, and I am so happy I went. For now, I really felt I was not just a by-stander, I was a participant and contributor, which was really cool.

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  • Horses

    Working Equitation

    The ones who bought Mod, talked about that they trained working equitation for this trainer called Anna Backman, and after what they said she sounded just like the trainer I have been looking for. The style of riding in WE is close to of what I do, so I have been searching for a trainer in the vicinity, and then they had group training this sunday, so I thought why not.

    It is a good prepation for Talhoffer before the trip to Germany, so said and done I loaded up him and drove the one hour to Orust. What was a bonus was that Mod also was in our group, and he looked so happy!
    We joined the last session before summer break, so they built up a obstacle course, but me and Talhoffer took it a little bit easy, just trying out the different obstacles. All in all Talhoffer did very good, but he was a bit stressed. But sometimes he just goes up in stress and react, without really being scared, if that makes sense?
    I never done WE before, but I really like it because the different obstacles really can make you focus on different movements, and you can raise the difficulty with how you do them.

    One thing I notices is how different I look at a obstacle course like this now, from before I started with rossfechten. Take the slalom. Before I would have just thought of the bend of the head (stellung), but now I was thinking of how the hind legs should move, when one could do shoulder in or travers. Really thinking of every movement in every turn.

    Then it was the little thing of going home. Talhoffer was so tired, and the thing that makes him go into the trailer is food, but he was like just shut down. So I think we stood on the ramp for 30 minutes, before I figured out to offer him the hay and not the musli. I was offered help, but I really did not want to force him in, unless completely necessary. But with the bribe of hay, I finally got him in without to much stress.

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  • Fencing

    Showcasing HEMA at Olympia day

    This weekend it is “Olympia day” at Liseberg here in Gothenburg, where alot of sports where shown on the grounds of the amusement park. My fencing club had a spot to show what we do, and also some time on the main stage where we showed some sparring of the different weapons we teach.

    I had such a good time. It was so much fun seeing the kids faces just light up when I put a steel sword in their hands. Fencing is really for all people, and the most interested person we had all day was a middle-age women, I just loved it. I really hope she shows up to training!

    The days number one question asked was:
    Is this a real sword?
    Is like- well yes it is a steel sword, and no its not sharp. But it is a real training sword…

    Second was this kind of conversation (that happened more than once…)

    -do you do sport fencing?
    No, we do historical fencing, so no sport fencing
    – So you dont have any sport fencing?
    No, as I said, we do historical fencing
    – But you only do that? No sport fencing?
    No, sport fencing, only historical
    -but why dont you have sport fencing?

    After a whole day, we went out for a well deserve after-fencing drink! Burger and coke, perfect way to end the day.

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  • Horses

    End of an Era

    Two and a half years ago I bought a fat raggedy angry north Swedish draft horse.  A horse that half the time I could not even get to walk out the stable yard, leading him. Two years later, we are travelling across the country, performing, training, piaffing, wrestling, swording, you name it.

    Mod was my first horse, and I never thought I would sell him, but I never knew I was to be doing the things I do today when I got him. I did not even know these things existed when I got him. Mod do not really like to move, he is a bit like Ferdinand, he rather sit under his cork tree sniffing flowers. And I want to train, I want to go places, I want to do everything! Its kind of obvious that is not the best combination.

    That was the reason I concluded that we needed to part ways, and today he moved to his new owners. He moved out to the country, with other draft horses and two women who will spoil and dote over him. It is prefect for him!

    Still it is a bit of identity crises for me. For the past years Ive been the girl with the big draft. And we have done so much together, we really know each other inside and out. I know I will get there with Talhoffer as well, but it takes time to get to know someone that well.

    I wish him all the best! And I truly believe this is the best for him and this will make him happier in the end.

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  • General

    Walpurgis night

    In Sweden the 30 of April is Walpurgis eve. Its a tradition to light bonfires and… well I think that is it. We stand out in the cold and watch fires, and all the teenagers use it as excuse to get wasted.

    As one might figure its not a holiday I really celebrate, I cant even remember the last time I actually did something special for Walpurgis night.

    But yesterday was a full day, filled witj everything, horses, swords and dance. First I was in the stable for a couple of hours getting Mod ready for sale.

    Then it was the first session on the new tango class Im taking. I was a bit nervous, as it was a new place, new people and so on. But I was pleasently suprised! Here it was abit younger (can you say cooler?) crowd, the teacher is from Argentina, and focus was much more on feeling and presence. Which I really liked! Just not taking the steps, but, I dont know how to explain it, really getting the feeling.

    My back is somewhat of an issue, because I get critic that I tense up, which I think other interpet as Im being uncomfortable, but it because in the close embrace my back tense. Which makes me tense…. but Im thinking the better balance and the more practise, it will get better.

    After tango class it was straight to sword and buckler practise. Where we celebrated with cake! Because in our manuscript, the I33, a women is depicted as a fencer and referred to as Walpurgis. So we feel that Walpurgis eve is really ours to celebrate as bucklerists!

    And after cake, what better way to celebrate than beat each other with swords! So the last hour or so we just sparred. Great fun, even though I was dead tired. Which I told a sparring partner at one time, and he was like “so I dont have to prepare for all the grappling” and I was like, no, no grappling tonight.

    Instead I tried to focus on really lookibg for openings and strike and parry at the same time. It went,, well not really as good as I like. I really need to be less wobbly with my sword, so will need to find excersices for it.

    But all and all, awesome Walpurgis eve! I cant convey how I love our club, training is always a blast! Its just amazing people to hang out with! 

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