Yesterday the annual tourney to choose the King’s and Queen’s Equestrian Champions was hosted by the Shire of Quintavia, at the Hazel Grove Agricultural Association in Groton, MA. Unlike most of the Kingdom Champions tourneys, the site does not rotate between regions. Sites suitable for equestrian tourneys are relatively uncommon, so bids are encouraged from sites which are central to the locations of the kingdom’s active equestrians. The date also varies, but late summer or early fall are generally preferred, both to allow for the championship to fall toward the end of the competition season, and to avoid the hottest part of the summer, in the interests of protecting the horses from unnecessary heat stress.
The new Champions are Baroness Lillian Stanhope, chosen as King’s Champion, and Viscountess Gwenllhian Rhiannon of Dragon Keep, chosen as Queen’s Champion.
Baroness Lillian has a long history of involvement with equestrian arts in the East. She was previously chosen as Queen’s Champion of Horse by Gregor IV and Kienna II in 2013. Both her parents, Duke Randal of the Dark and Duchess Katherine Stanhope, are active equestrians, and Baroness Lillian has been riding at East Kingdom events since her very early years. The King’s Champion is, by tradition, the winner of the competition, which is a test of prowess in mounted martial arts designed by the outgoing Champions.
Viscountess Gwenllhian is an accomplished horsewoman, but has only recently begun to participate formally in the equestrian arts within the SCA. This was her first entry in a champions tourney. She has resided in multiple kingdoms over the course of her Society career. She served as Princess of Drachenwald (prior to its separation from the East), was inducted into the Order of Chivalry as a Master of Arms in the West, and was made a Companion of the Order of the Pelican after returning to the East.
The Queen’s Champion is chosen by Her Majesty, according to whatever criteria may seem good to her, often in consultation with the Princess, since the Champion will also serve her successor.
Equestrian competition is truly a partnership between horse and rider, so we should not leave them out.
Dakota Tesoro, affectionately known in equestrian circles as Te, owned by Baron Duncan Kerr, carried Baroness Lillian to victory. Te is a 21 year old Andalusian gelding, with more than 10 years of tournament experience. In his career, including this most recent tourney, he has carried five King’s or Queen’s champions to victory.
Jubilant, a 21 year old Morgan gelding belonging to Viscountess Gwenllhian, was her mount for the tourney. This was Jubilant’s first East Kingdom equestrian event. Viscountess Gwenllhian reports that he enjoyed the experience.
Photos were graciously provided by Lady Lavina Attewode (Bifrost Studios) and Mistress Leonete D’Angely.