Full Metal Jousting was on again tonight. I don’t think I’ve missed a single episode of it yet, and next Sunday night is the final joust as well as the consolation joust for two of the non-finalists (there just isn’t a nice way to say “non-winners”‘ is there?).
Having worked at renfaires of both the small, single-weekend sort and the large, fixed location, multi-weekend variety over the years, I’ve seen lots of jousting. I’ve also been to the dinner-theater jousting restaurants. But that is all theatrical jousting. They aren’t wearing 80 pounds of armor. Their horses aren’t the warhorses built to tilt down the list at each other at full speed. And when they fall off the horses, the sword-and-board (or other weapon of choice) fighting that they do is just as formalized and careful. Any blood shed is purely by accident and usually involves a quick trip backstage at most.
But FMJ…that’s for real. The guys go flying off their horses with surprising regularity. There’s been a lot of blood, and not nearly all of it the sort that a band-aid can cover. One guy sat out for over a week for a head injury, and another only got back on after a repair of a large groin laceration.
And the horses… I’d love the chance to ride some of those horses. They’re big and feisty and they like to run. At the ranch where I go to ride, they have Percherons. It’s not quite the same, I’m sure, but riding a Percheron at a canter or a gallop over the trail is awesome. I swear some days that I just about can feel the ground shaking under their hooves.
While I’m not really sure that I want to take the chances of getting hit in the head like some of those guys did, or getting knocked flying off of a horse to sprawl in the dirt…I’m also not sure I’d turn it down if the chance were offered me.