The Cavalier Program

Academie Cavallo’s mounted combat program is designed to produce riders who can not only use sword and spear from the saddle, but who are all around proficient horsemen as well.  Like the our sister school Academie Duello‘s Mastery program, the Cavalier program is ranked to allow riders to progress through ten levels and five ranks as they earn their ‘spurs.’  The ranking system ensures horse and rider safety so that riders have sufficient skill to handle both their mounts and their weapons, and sufficient knowledge to care for the horses they use.

The program consists of three parts:  Horsemanship, Riding, and Mounted Combat.  In order to participate in mounted games and sparring from horseback, students must have achieved at least first level in both Horsemanship and Riding.  Our Cavalier levels are roughly equivalent to Equestrian Canada and Canadian Pony Club levels, and participants who have accreditation from those organizations will be considered ranked at equal levels.

Horsemanship

To neglect a detail of this kind is surely to neglect oneself; since in the hour of danger, it is certain, the owner has to consign himself, life and limb, to the safe keeping of his horse.

– Xenophon the Greek, On Horsemanship, ca 350 BCE.

In our Horsemanship courses students learn about horse psychology, physiology, and anatomy, as well as how to safely handle, groom, tack-up, feed and care for horses.  At the more advanced levels topics such as conditioning, soundness, shipping, farriery, care of injury and illness, are taught.

Horsemanship courses are taught with a hybrid model, with a number of in-person classes and online sessions over one or two months. Students who are unable to attend classes with us at Cornwall Ridge Equestrian can cover this material with an equestrian coach or instructor whose qualifications meet our standards.

Riding

…  it is safe to say that a good rider who is a weak swordsman would have the advantage over a good swordsman who is a poor rider.

– US Army, Provisional Regulations for Saber Exercise, 1907.

We offer weekly riding classes on Sundays at Cornwall Ridge Equestrian, as well as occasional weekday evening series. Private classes are also available. Those students who have previous riding experience may challenge up to and including the two three levels of the program by booking a private assessment. 

Students who are unable to attend lessons at our facilities may take riding lessons with a certified coach of their choice and arrange for a video assessment. 

Mounted Combat

Young Knight … practice knighthood and learn the Art that dignifies you, and brings you honour … Wrestle well and wield lance, spear, sword, and dagger manfully, whose use in others’ hands is wasted.

Johannes Liechtenauer, ca1400

Before using weapons from horseback, you need to develop your sword skills from the ground.  Our weekly Mounted Combat classes provide ongoing training in the use of longsword, sidesword, spear, and grappling techniques from the ground, from the backs of falsemounts (wooden ‘horses’), and our school horses.  Students must demonstrate proficiency with a weapon or technique from the falsemount before transferring the skill the back of a live horse.  Progression in these techniques will be assessed in class and at formal tests during our Mounted Games.

Mounted Combat workshops run on Sunday afternoons. Green Spur classes are on the first and third Sunday from 1-3pm, and Mastery classes run on the second and fourth Sunday from noon – 3pm

Instructor Training

I want you to know that it is a beautiful mystery to know how to teach people well, more than to just play; for a man, if he knows how to play well and does not know how to teach, is but single. But one that knows how to teach well is good for many people; and know that when he knows the one and the other, he is of double virtue and is a double master.

Achille Marozzo, Nova Opera 1536

We believe best way to refine your own art is teach others. We offer opportunities for riders at all stages in their journey to share their learning through mentorship, program assistant positions, and instructor training and certification. Beginning January 2021 we will be offering distance Instructor Certification. If you are interested in becoming an instructor contact us at info(at)academiecavallo.ca.

Mounted Games

Mounted Games playdays and our yearly Carosella tournament bring all the skills of Horsemanship, Riding, and Mounted Combat together.  Participants compete at the quintain, ring-spearing, sword-and-block, javelin, and horse archery, among other games of skill. Students with spur ranks may compete in mounted sparring.  These days also provide the venue for rank exams for the Blue Spur and higher.

Cavalier Ranks

We have five ranks in the program, which align with Academie Duello’s rank cords.

  • Green Spur 
    • Horsemanship Level 1
    • Riding Level 1 (or Equine Canada Level 1, or Canadian Pony Club Level D)
    • Swordplay from the Ground (or Academie Duello Green Cord)
  • Blue Spur  
    • Horsemanship Level 3
    • Riding Level 3
    • Longsword, spear, and wrestling from the ground
    • Longsword and grappling from the falsemount
    • Mounted games at the trot
  • Red Spur
    • Horsemanship Level 6
    • Riding Level 6
    • Longsword, spear, sword & shield, and wrestling from the ground
    • Longsword, spear, sword & shield and wrestling from the falsemount and horse
    • Mounted games at the canter
  • Silver Spur
    • Horsemanship Level 8
    • Riding Level 8
    • Mounted combat with safety swords
    • Mounted games with live swords
    • Mounted archery
  • Gold Spur
    • Horsemanship Level 10
    • Riding Level 10
    • Mounted combat with steel swords
    • A specialty skill such as mounted falconry, jousting, tent-pegging, etc