Knights of the Grail


Our program consists of eight levels starting with Stable Hand and culminating with Lord of the Grail. The program is designed to take non-riders from zero to highly proficient horse persons. People who come to the program with existing skills will be required to take each of the written and practical tests so that we can place them properly within the levels.

Stable Hand

  • Basic horse safety (ground)
  • Basic horse knowledge
    •  Predator vs prey
    •  Herd mentality & leader
    •  Emotional transference
  • Proper grooming, bathing, and hoof care
  • Feeding and health needs; proper treats
  • Identifying tack and equipment
  • Knowing the parts of a horse and proper conformation
  • Learning vocal commands and terminology
  • Identifying horse body language and state of mind
  • Understanding and practicing “calm of spirit, iron of will” required of a horse master
Picking Hoof
Stable Hand and Queen
QUALIFICATION: Field test and written test to be administered by a KotG instructor

Ground Crew

  • Catching/haltering the horse
  • Ground leading/walking
  • Heading the horse
  • Learning the tack, bridle, bits and care thereof
  • Preparing the horse for a rider
    •  Grooming (from Stable Hand)
    •  Proper placement of blanket and saddle
    •  Proper placement of bridle
    •  Quality control on all tack including bit
  • Ground work and lunging
  • Gently correcting bad/unwanted behaviors
  • How to properly clean, wash, and oil tack
  • De-tacking the horse including when and how to bathe
Ground crew in parade
QUALIFICATION: Field test and written test to be administered by a KotG instructor

Squire: 2nd Class

  • Learning balance and acquiring the rider's "seat"
    • Begin riding bareback at a walk on a lunge line in a controlled environment
    • Progress to trot once balance is obtained at a walk, and so forth for each gait
  • Basics of ride:
    • Walking, trotting, turning left, turning right, stopping, and backing up
  • Safety circles
  • Discipline circles
  • Engage in exercises on horseback
    • Weaving left then right, alternating through cones/posts/trees
  • Show control of the horse from walk to trot including gait transitions
  • Participate in a trail ride and learn how to take point/lead
  • Ground based spear throwing
Woman on horseback
QUALIFICATION: Consistent performance on field

Squire: 1st Class

  • Solo Ride:
    •  Capture, grooming, and tacking the horse
    •  Riding:
      •  Walk, trot, turn right, turn left, hold, back-up, safety and discipline circles
    •  De-tacking and after care of horse
    •  Putting away equipment and supplies
  • Obstacle test at both walk and trot
  • Learning to post correctly during trotting
  • Learning to fall correctly.
    • "Every time you get on a horse, prepare to fall off - it's not if, it's when."
  • Ground based lance control and targeting
Man with spear
QUALIFICATION: Consistent performance on field

Knight: 2nd Class

  • Canter the horse (3 step gait)
  • Understanding appropriate leg position for each gait
  • How to properly cue the horse into the gait (rein and leg positions)
  • Riding amongst obstacles at both trot and canter
  • Defeat man-eating cabbages with a training sword
  • Throw spear into target from horseback
  • Learning “2-Point Position” in preparation for the gallop

QUALIFICATION: Consistent performance on field
Man on horse with spear

Knight: 1st Class

  • The gallop!
  • Master “2-Point Position” to begin the gallop
  • Riding amongst obstacles at a gallop
  • Demonstrate Calm Control:
    • Stop to Walk to Trot to Canter to gallop, then reverse
    • "Calm of spirit, iron of will"
  • Stop from a gallop
  • Hit quintain with solid lance at canter and gallop
  • Catch rings with spear at canter and gallop
  • Throw spear into target at canter and gallop
  • Strike cabbages/targets with sword at canter and gallop
Woman on horse with spear
QUALIFICATION: Consistent performance on field

Knight of the Grail

  • Canter in both directions (clockwise and counter clockwise)
  • Gallop in both directions (clockwise and counter clockwise)
  • Regularly practice the Jousting Lyst Course
QUALIFICATION: Consistently compete in the Joust Games during Sherwood Forest Faire
Man on horse with spear
  Man on horse with Lance

Lord of the Grail

One per year!
The winner of the all veteran competition in the Joust Games at Sherwood Forest Faire each season will become a …
The winner will be the competitor with the best cumulative score over the course of Sherwood’s 17 faire days
Man on horse with Lance