East Kingdom Equestrian Activities
Equestrian Games Hastiludes or Spear Games

Below are descriptions of common martial games played at East Kingdom equestrian events. This list is by no means comprehensive, and the specific rules for each game tend to vary wildly from event to event. These are just general descriptions.

Behead the Infidel

More commonly known as Saracen Heads, or simply Heads, the object of this game is to strike the heads from the poles. The poles can be set in any pattern, though when used in the InterKingdom Equestrian Competition the poles are set and run in a specific pattern. Heads can be ridden at any gait.

Ring Tilting

In this game, rings of various sizes are hung from an object, frequently a T-shaped standard. The object is to catch the rings on the point of a lance while riding by. Ring Tilting can be done at any gait, and is actually easiest at the walk.


The Quintain is usually a shield mounted on a rotating arm. The rider attempts to hit the shield squarely with a lance while riding by, and is scored based on the number of rotations of the arm. To make the game more complicated, a bag of sand can be hung on the opposite end of the arm from the shield. The rider will be struck by the bag if he/she hesitates in riding past the quintain after striking it. The Quintain can be ridden at any gait, but as momentum and force are an advantage in this game, those who ride at the canter or gallop generally get better scores.

Spear Throw

Spear Throw or Toss is exactly what it sounds like: tossing a spear at a target. This game is generally scored based on where on the target the spear sticks.


The term "pigsticking" is used in the East to refer to any game where you pick a 3-dimensional target off the ground with a lance as you ride past. In order to avoid lauching the unwary rider into the air, the pigsticking lance is held is a specific manner that's easier shown than described. The lance is held point down, with the palm up, the shaft of the lance resting the crook of the elbow, and the end of the lance passing to the outside of the arm, NOT under the armpit.

Rescue the Maiden

Rescue the Maiden, or Rescue the Soldier, describes any game where the rider is expected to pick up a large stuffed dummy and transport it somewhere on horseback. Mostly commonly the rider has to manuever his/her horse close to the dummy and pick it up while mounted, though occasionally a version is played where the rider has to dismount, pick up the dummy, then remount while carrying it.


An Emprise is a specific type of formal tournament, where the primary emphasis is on the form and show of the tournament. An Emprise generally starts months in advance, when the hosts, or Tenants, issue invitations to the competitors, or Venants. The Venants accept the invitation, either individually or as groups (Lances). The Venants provide for themselves and their mounts full heraldic regalia including crested helmet and provide themselves with a herald and foot attendants appropriate to their rank. Early on the day of the tournament, the crested chelmets are delivered to the judges stand, or Berfois, for display. The tournament begins with a procession before the berfrois, where each rider in announced for the judges and has a moment to speak. Then the tournament itself commences. An Emprise typically consists of the quintain, ring tilting, and the spear toss, though any games could be used.


Reeds are similar to Behead the Infidel Games, but is patterned after the excerise of cutting reeds that were standing out of the ground. The rider was to chop parts of the reed with precision.

Challenge Courses

A challenge course is an obstacle course, incorporating any or all of the above games, plus possibly other obstacles, such as a chute to back out of, a small jump, a sheet-wall maze. In a challenge course where the rider will need multiple weapons, ground-crew are stationed around the course to supply the weapons to the rider as needed.

Click here for an example of a challenge course.