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The Fundamentals of Jousting

Jousting today is no longer regarded solely as a pastime for aristocratic gentlemen. It is now enjoyed by men, women and children from all walks of life. Classes of participation are based strictly on skill level, without regard to gender or age, making this an ideal sport for any backyard horse enthusiast or family. UsuallyJ. Kennedy tournaments are divided into four classes; Novice, Amateur, Semi-Professional and Professional.

The object of this sport is to gallop your horse down the track and attempt to spear small rings with the use of a lance. Tournaments have few rules other than those that govern the scoring. Riders are without restriction as to the type of horse they may use. Types range from Shetland ponies for the smallest children to Quarter Horses, Arabians, Paints, even imported draft-size Friesians. Experienced jousters on the circuit today concur on several desired characteristics: a level-headed, mid-size to small horse with an extremely smooth canter works best. The riders can then raise their stirrups and assume a position similar to that of a jockey. This allows the motion of the horse to be absorbed by the riders knees and lower leg. The upper body becomes virtually motionless. This position, combined with a steady hand greatly increases the rider's likelihood of spearing the rings with his lance.

Most tournaments permit each rider three "charges" at a specified size ring to determine the winner. If two or more riders have a tie score, the ring size is reduced until a winner is determined. Most states have a standardized set of riding rules with a few technical variations between the states. During events sponsored by the National Jousting Association, all riders agree to abide by the rules of that Association.

Learn to Joust Home

Track Arches Rings Rules Horses Attire and Tack Lances

Opening Ceremonies Titles Coronation Ceremonies


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Last updated: November 23, 2018.