Saturday, February 22, 2020

Medieval Times

Today we went to Medieval Times at 10 Dufferin Street, in Toronto, Ontario for my birthday. It is the first time I have been back since I broke my femur just before my birthday in 2017.

After getting our photograph taken with the master falconer and Lady Guinevere a Lanark peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus peregrinus), we went into the main hall and I was pleasantly surprised that Ron and Christine invited the all of the family and my friends to attend my birthday celebration with us.

It didn't take very long before it was time for us to head into the dinning area and be seated at our tables. We were in the green section and high enough up that we had a wonderful view of the arena.

Once everyone was seated the lights dimmed and the Queen welcomed her guests to the court and the Master of Ceremonies entered the arena on a Friesian stallion. After greeting us he proceeded to introduce each of the knights starting with the yellow knight, followed by the blue knight who were both at the far end of the arena, then the black and white knight and the red and yellow knight who were in the middle of the arena and lastly the red knight and our knight the green knight.

While we were served the first course of our meal, we were entertained by four Andalusian stallions being exhibited on the long lines. Each horse came out separately and performed a different movement, the Spanish walk, the passage, the levade and the capriole. At the end of the performance the horses bowed to the audience.

Then, we were treated to a display of falconry using one of their three peregrine falcons. The bird flew about the arena, often coming very close to the people seated in the stands. This is probably why before the bird was released from the glove everyone was cautioned to not raise their hands in case the bird thought they had bait. At the end the falconer allowed the bird to take the lure and have her meal before leaving the arena.

As the second course was being served, we were entertained by a quadrille performed by six of the Royal Guards. The quadrille is a choreographed dressage ride, which is often compared to an equestrian ballet, where the horses perform movements together.  I was pleased to see a number of the more advanced movements in the performance such as flying changes of lead, half-passes, the passage, shoulder-ins and travers.

As the third course arrived, we enjoyed one of the Andalusian stallions performing a liberty routine with his handler. This was followed by the knights being called back to the arena to compete in various mounted games including, capturing a small hanging, ring on the lance, hitting a small target with the lance at a gallop and a flag toss between two riders. I received a carnation which was tossed to me by the green knight.

After reading out all the birthday and celebration notices, the Master of the Horse brought out one of the Andalusian stallions and performed a dressage routine which included, flying changes of lead every stride, passage, piaffe, and the levade.

The last course was served as once more the knights were called out; this time to engage in a joust. The squires remained in the arena with them to be able to serve their knights by bringing weapons to them for the battle on the ground once they had been unhorsed.

The final battle between the green knight and the red knight was fought first by two passes of the joust where neither rider was unhorsed. Then a battle on horse until one was knocked off the horse.

This was followed by a battle on the ground until there was only one winner, in this case, the red knight.

This was a wonderful birthday celebration.