• History

    Brandklipparen in portrait

    One of the most famous horses in through Swedish history is the horse of Karl XII: Brandklipparen. When reading up on him, there is a lot of mythos, and very little fact.
    One reoccuring fact is that Brandklipparen was, at 5 years age, in the battle for Lund 1676, and the father of Karl XII, Karl XIs horse, a white beautiful  spanish stallion called Brilliant was shot during the battle. This led to that the smålandsh rider Håkan Ståhle offered the king his horse. It also says he should have died at Ängsö castle the year 1740, as there is a sign that reads “Konung Carl XII siste häst stört anno 1740” (King Carl XII last horse went down the year 1740). And what is more the story goes that the horse died by getting spooked by something unknowned and ran into a wall on the death day of Karl XII. This would mean the horse went to about 70 years old, not very likely.
    More likely is that Branklipparen was the horse skeleton, that was very meticulate laid to rest, that was dug up beneth Karl XII residence in Lund, and probably buried in the year 1718-1719.

    Regarding Brandklipparens nature, one of Karl XII mens write that the horse followed his master like a dog. I read that he was seen as somewhat of a goodluck charm, but I am not sure the truth in that, as it could be something we attribute him today. But he seemed to have been trough many wars, travelling all across the nordic countries with his masters.

    I have my own theory on Brandklipparen, solely based on internet research, so take it for what it is.

    But there is one painting by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl that is named “A horse named Brandklipparen”. It depicts a brown horse with a white star.  Its unknowed when its painted, but David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl lived between 1628 and 1698 and he got to Sweden to work as a painter in 1658. This doesnt really gives any more clues about when Branklipparen could be born, but it might give us an indication on how he looks.

     

    Next clue is also a painting by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl. The painting that is called Karl XIs livhäst Brilliant, which is painted in 1680. Why is it painted in 1680? 4 years after he died? Or maybe he did not die in that battle, maybe he was only wounded? Or maybe he was not wounded at all, and Brandklipparen was not given at the battle, and if there is a grain of truth to the story, and Karl XI was given Brandklipparen after Brilliant died, then Brandklipparen was born after 1780. The thing is that according to more reliable sources, the king switch horses in the battle of Lund, but because his horse Thotten got shot, and then he took Brilliant, so it could be some truth to it only, they mixed up the horses.

    Then there are these portraits. First Karl XI by, again David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, painted 1696.

    Then of Karl XII by David von Krafft, painted between 1697 and 1718

    Notice that both these horses are brown with a star, very similar to the painting of the horse in the painting ” A horse named Brandklipparen”. Karl XI was very fond of his horses, and had them portraitraid, like the on with Brilliant, and I looked at them, and there is no other horse that is completly brown, with no other markings then a star.
    Of course this could be the artists work, maybe there is no thought behind it, maybe David von Krafft looked at the portrait of Karl XI and just wanted a similarity?
    But just lets say, for the sake of the argument, that it is Brandklipparen, then we have him on a painting with both the kings, 1696 and maybe so far as 1718?

    We can never know, as there is no remarks from the painter regarding the horses, but it feels like at least Karl XI was abit choosy with the horses he had for paintings. As I said, he had all his favourite horses painted and in one the most famous of his portraits it is stated he is on Brilliant (in the battle of Lund). So the feeling is that you portrait a living horse as well, but as I said, we will never know. But it is a bit thrilling to think that it could, possibly, maybe, be Brandklipparen in these portraits.

  • General

    Renaissance Horse Names

    I find the need to first say, I am NOT a fan of the Duke of Newcastle, all the reasons why is a post in it self, but just let say I find him a pompous jerk. However, he has listed a bunch of suggestion for horse name in the back of his book, and, for some reason I just find it so fascinating to look at historic pet names!

    I want to think it says something about the persons, or time, but I haven’t really found out what… Anyhow, he divides them into three categories; “italian and spanich”, “french” and “for dutch horses”. Only the last specifies he that its “for” dutch horses, otherwise one might believe it just list of the orgins in the names. But I guess he thinks you should give a horse from the nation it comes? (or at least a name that sounds like its from that region, I doubt that neither italians or spaniards would agree they have the same language).

    Here is the Spanish and italians:

  • Training

    Shoving

    I think Talhoffer may have been beaten or had some very poor experience with people in his past, as he reacts very strongly if you make sudden moves towards him, or sometimes its enough just walking with a bit to much energy. And especially if you have something stick-looking in your hand and is coming toward his rear. This is nothing you want in a warhorse, and also its not very pleasant for him to react so strongly and being on edge.

    To work trough this I started with an excercise where I press against him, but the thing is, i want him to push back, and not yield. In the beginning I was just putting my hand on his shoulder and rewarding when he didn’t yield. When he understood that I started to press a little and rewarding when he pushed back. Eventually I started adding to back up and add to move towards him. I have been doing this a little before, just rewarding that he doesnt flinch, but now it went so much better. Because now I had rewarded the impact, the pushing back, so he wanted me to come close so he could make his little shoulder push and get his cookie.

    I like to think that its like when you let a kid win over you when wrestling. The kid nows that you are bigger and could easily bet him, but still get the feeling of being invincible and gets a confidence boost. This excercise gives the same feeling to the horse.

    As with all things that can be potentially dangerous for the human, like rearing, kicking, shoving, its not suitable for all horses. Some horses will find this a little TOO fun to be shoving people around, so one need to take into consideration the type of horse one has.

     

  • Manuscript

    Lets talk Xenophon

    Xenophon is a name that gets thrown around alot. He is a Greek who wrote a book on horsemanship 2500 years ago, and there are alot of people who elevates this book to the sky. Its a cool book, I give you that, in the means that it is written 2500 years ago, but is it really a book you want to base your horse training on?
    I dont think that is the way to read old manuscripts, that its some sort of “how-to”-book, as they are written in a whole different time. But I still come across many people saying they are using, especially Xenophon, as some sort of corner  stone in their philosophy, but then I start asking them what is it they take from it, they dont know. Because they havent read it. And it really annoys me.

    So I made a video, talking about Xenophon, taking a-look at his actual writing, and hoping it sheds abit more light on what Xenophon actually says, and the things you should bear in mind reading it.

     

  • General

    Resa utomlands med häst

    (Since this post is about travelling with horse from Sweden, it mainly concerns Swedish people, as the rules differs in different countries, and therefore this post will be in Swedish)

    I maj åkte jag ned till Tyskland med min häst och i föreberedelserna till resan så blev jag förvånad över hur lite information det fanns om att åka utomlands med häst. Därav tänkte jag skriva om hur det fungerade för oss.
    Disclaimer: Jag är en privatperson och ingen expert på detta område. Detta är bara min egen upplevelse, om du ska iväg och resa var noga med att kolla upp med de myndigheter och länder som gäller för din resa.
    Resan jag skulle göra var ner till mitten i Tyskland och rutten var via Danmark och färjan Rödby-Puttgard.

    De reglerna jag hittade för resan var ganska enkla:

    Från jordbruksverket:

    Hästar inom EU måste ha ett hästpass

    Utförsel/införsel EU-länder samt Norge, Andorra och Färöarna
    *Hästar som förs ut ur Sverige ska vara undersökta av en officiell veterinär inom 48 timmar före lastningen.
    *Veterinären ska skriva ett hälsointyg där det framgår att hästarna är friska enligt de hälsokrav som gäller inom EU. Intyget gäller under tio dagar. Under den tiden kan hästarna resa obegränsat mellan länderna inom EU samt Norge, Andorra och Färöarna.
    *Den som för ut hästarna ska behålla hälsointyget under sex månader för att kunna visa upp det för officiell veterinär vid till exempel smittspårning.
    *Om transporten tar mer än åtta timmar ska utrymmet där djuren transporteras vara utformat så att de kan stå upp och ligga ner i naturlig ställning. Om det behövs ska du kunna sätta in skiljeväggar som skyddar djuren.

    Jag var även i kontakt med Tyska jordbruksverket och fick svaret att de behöver ha ett chip och pass och angående veterinärintyg skulle jag prata med det svenska jordbruksverket.

    Hälsointyg

    Hälsointyg måste göras av distriktveterinären och gäller i 10 dagar. Ska man vara borta längre än 10 dagar måste man göra ett nytt veterinärintyg. Jag bokade in veterinären dagen innan avfärd och själv trodde jag det skulle gå till lite som en besiktning, men den var mycket simplare än så. Veterinären kollade chipet, lyssnade på hjärta och lungor, tog tempen samt ville se han skritta i fram och tillbaka i stallgången. Det var det, och gick på 1500kr.

     

    Övernattningsstall

    Jag bokade in ett övernattningsstall i närheten av färjan i Danmark. Just detta fick jag tips av en som rest samma väg som mig innan, men det finns även flera om man googlar. Hon som hade det var jättetrevlig, det kostade 150DKK per natt och ingick strö, men inte hö. Talhoffer stod i en box inomhus och vi kunde ställa höpåse utanför som hon gav sedan på kvällen. Vi fick även ställa av transporten på gården.

    Övernattning Danmark

    Jag fick tips av hon som hade övernattningsstallet om ett AirBnB som låg i närheten som andra som stått över med häst bott på och tyckt varit bra. Själv har jag aldrig bott på AirBnB, men har haft familj och vänner som rekommenderat det. Det kostade 550kr för två personer och var som ett vanligt hotell/vandrarhem, med en länga med rum som hade eget badrum och toalett.

    Färjan

    Färjan Röby-Puttgard tar ca 45 minuter och går två gånger i timmen om jag minns rätt. Man kan köpa biljett i förväg, vilket jag gjorde, men jag valde flexibel biljett som gjorde att man kunde komma till vilken avgång man ville under hela dagen. Men man skulle likagärna kunna köpa biljett när man kommer.
    Jag ringde de innan och frågade om man behövde säga till innan att man kom med häst, men det behövdes inte. Inte heller när man visar biljetten när man kör in till färjan ville de ha information om detta. Man får inte stanna kvar på bildäck under gång, men det är inte heller låst, så det går att gå ned och titta till hästen under resan.

    Övrigt
    I form av formaliteter var det inte så mycket mer. Men jag kan säga lite om min egna tanker i övrigt. Många som jag pratade med var oroliga över att vi skulle åka på autobahn i Tyskland med hästtransport. Den sträckan vi åkte låg hastigheten mellan 80 och 120 km/h, som i Sverige och då det är tre-filig väg kändes det lugnare att åka med hästtransport än när jag bara åkt med bilen, för med transporten ligger man i jämnhastighet i omkörningsfilen. Tillskillnad när man bara åker själv och ligger i omkörningsfilerna och zigzagar fram. Samtidigt som det är tre-filigt ligger de värsta dårarna längst i från en själv. Det som var största problemet var egentligen att det kan vara välidgt långa köer som man kan bli fast i under lång tid, vilket inte är speciellt roligt med en häst.

     

    Tyska bensinstationer har dåligt med vatten. Eller de kanske inte har dåligt med vatten, men det var inte tydligt vart de har vattenslang, och när jag frågade blev jag inte mycket klokare. Så när vattendunken hade tagit slut hittade jag ingenstans att fylla på, så slutade att jag gick in och, väldigt tidskrävande, fyllde på den i kranen på toaletten istället. Tills nästa gång kommer jag ta med två dunkar med vatten, för att kunna ha extra (nu var det väldigt varmt när vi åkte, så en transport under mindre sommarhetta hade inte krävts lika mycket).

    Under utresan behövde vi inte visa några andra papper än biljetten till färjan

    Hemresan behövde vi dock identifiera oss själva med pass när vi reste in i Danmark och sedan även när vi skulle in i Sverige, där de även ville titta i transporten för att se att vi inte smugglade människor. Däremot var det ingen som någon gång ville se några papper på hästen eller hade frågor om honom.

  • Equipment

    Learning to sew

    Dresses and clothing, especially historical, has always facinated me. When I was little I used to try and “build” 18th century dressed by using every skirt I had. But sewing has never been my thing. I tried sewing a medieval one when I was like 13, in cotton, I still have it, Im never been very happy with it, even back when I made it.


    You dont see much of the dress, but of what you do. Its not very flattering

     

    In Swedish school we have these sewing and carpentery classes, that is part of the need-to-take program, but at a certain point you can choose yourself which you want to take. And all the girls took sewing, and all the boys carpentry, except me. As soon as I got the chance I took carpentry. So I got some sort of basic knowledge but I always gotten too impatient and just tried to wing it, which usually (read always) ends in disaster.

     

    Lately I sewn caps, because I couldnt find the model I wanted, and it seemed super-easy (which it was). And then Ive seen all these amazing dresses and coats and thought: I really wished I could make it myself, since I cant find the things I want. And for a long time I just thought “oh well, I cant sew so there is no point”. But the thing is, how can you succeed if you never try?

    I watched the show “the Alienist” which takes place in the late 18th century and this girl just have these amazing sharp looking on-point jackets and vests and I was like screw it, Im sewing one.


    The character Sara Howard from the Alienist

    So said and done I bought a pattern online, took the gabardin and lining fabric I bought really cheap online for cap making and sat down too it.

    Only cutting the pattern took one evening… and then another for cutting the fabric and a third for just putting the front pieces together with the lining. But this is good for me, letting it take time.

    I also notice that even though the pattern has pretty thorough instructions it is a lot of things I will need to guess. Like the front is to be put together with an overlap, but it doesnt say how, and there isnt really a picture of how the finish product will look, so I will just have too experiment to see what seems to be working.

     

    Its a fitted, lined and boned 1890s vest, I could probably chosen anything, and it would have been easier. But at the sametime this is what I want, so this is what I will have the motivation to do well and finish. We will see how it turns out, either way I will have gained experience points!

     

  • General

    Lödöse medieval fair

    The day was spent as Lödöse medieval fair, an event that has become an annual thing to visit. Such a lovely day, the sun was blazing, maybe a little to much, but rather that than last year when it was pouring down and windy. We were a few people from the fencing school that went together so we went round the market, looked at some of the acts and just took in the environment. I must say, unfortunately, that it was not as good as previous years, there where much fewer market stands, and the where the acts, and markets stands, previous years have held a very high historical standards, they where not very historical this year. Which was too bad, because one of the things that I really liked about Lödöse was the genuine medieval feeling, with medieval music and jesters, but now it was more modern music trying to feel medieval.

    Anyway, it was a nice day anyhow. And Im starting to notice how small the reenactment scene in Sweden is, as it was crazy how many people I bumped into that I knew or met before somewhere or another. Ended up just having conversation with people all day, but it was a great day. its just so much fun being able to be around people as crazy nerdy as me (like where else is a normal topic of conversation which would hurt the most, a bullet or an arrow to the thigh, leading into how much damage each weapon would make and how you remove an arrow head….).

    Of course I forgot to take any pictures, so here is the dogs, exhausted after a whole day out in the sun and with people. And of course, Speja had to choose to sleep on the fabric I am working with…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?
    Sigh….

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