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.