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Jousting is a sport played by two armored knights mounted on horses. It consists of martial competition between two mounted knights using a variety of weapons, usually in sets of three per weapon (such as tilting with a lance, blows with the battle axe, strokes with the dagger, or strokes with a sword), often as part of a tournament.The medieval tournament is one of the enduring images of the Middle Ages, with knights fighting to impress beautiful and unattainable ladies.In reality, jousting was a dangerous sport and participants undertook years of training before risking their safety in a tournament.

Preparation For a Medieval Tournament
Jousting was most popular between the tenth and fifteenth centuries. It was a fast-moving and colorful spectator sport, with knights riding on horseback, decorated with the coat of arms of the noble they represented.A tournament was held in a field called the lists and in the later medieval period, castles often had their own lists within sight of the castle buildings. Days before the joust, the knights taking part would gather in the area, with the knight’s coat of arms on display at the windows of his lodgings.

Lists would be published before the big event, naming the combatants, the rules of the tournament and the type of combat and weapons permitted.The lists, or list field, is the arena in which a jousting event or similar tournament is held. More precisely, it is the roped-off enclosure where tournament fighting takes place

The lance
In modern times, jousting is often done for show or demonstration purposes, and the lances used are usually made of light wood and prepared so that they break easily. Lances are often decorated with stripes or the colors of a knight's coat of arms. In a real joust, the lances were of solid oak and a significant strike was needed to shatter them. However, the (blunt) lances would not usually penetrate the steel. The harnesses worn by the knights were lined on the inside with plenty of cloth to soften the blow from the lance.

The two most common kinds of horse used for jousting were warmblood chargers and coldblood destriers. Chargers were medium-weight horses bred and trained for agility and stamina, while destriers were heavy war horses. These were larger and slower, but helpful to give devastating force to the rider's lance through its weight being about twice as great as that of a traditional riding horse. The horses were trained for ambling, a kind of pace that provided the rider with stability in order to be able to focus and aim better with the lance.

During a jousting tournament, the horses were cared for by their grooms in their respective tents. They wore caparisons, a type of ornamental cloth featuring the owner's heraldic signs. Competing horses had their heads protected by a chanfron, an iron shield for protection from otherwise lethal lance hits.
Other forms of equipment on the horse included long-necked spurs which enabled the rider to control the horse with extended legs, a saddle with a high back to provide leverage during the charge or when hit, as well as stirrups for the necessary leverage to deliver blows with the lance.

The armour
Jousting was popular from the late Middle Ages until the early 1600s, when it was replaced as the equine highlight of court festivities by large "horse-ballet" displays called carousels, although non-combat competitions such as the ring-tilt lasted until the 18th century. During the period jousting was popular armour evolved from being chain mail (called simply mail at the time), with a solid, heavy helmet, called a "great helm", and shield. By 1400 knights wore full suits of plate armour, called a "harness". A full harness frequently included extra pieces specifically for use in jousting, so that a light military combat suit could be reinforced with heavier, "bolt-on" protective plates on the cuirass (breastplate) and helmet, and also with jousting-specific arm and shoulder pieces, which traded mobility for extra protection. These extra pieces were usually much stronger on the side expected to take the impact of the lance. Special jousting helmets were sometimes used, made so that the wearer could only see out by leaning forwards. If the wearer straightened up just before the impact of the lance, the eyes would be completely protected. Some later suits had a small shield built-in the left side of the armour. In some cases this was spring loaded to fly into pieces if struck properly by the opponent's lance.

Jousting under the International Jousting Association rules follows a points system where points are given for breaking the lance tip on the opposing knight's shield; note that there are no points given for unhorsing an opponent. International Jousting Association sanctioned tournaments also include skill at arms where the riders display their horsemanship and weapons handling skills with swords on the Moors Head, they use spears for the rings and spear throw, and use the lance against a spinning quintain. Many International Jousting Association tournaments also include a mounted melee with fully armoured riders using padded batons in place of swords for safety. None of the International Jousting Association events are theatrically based and they offer the public a chance to observe living history as opposed to entertainment oriented jousting.



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