A branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and El Paso

Pferde Friday, September 22, 2023

Contributed by Meisterin Apollonia Zwamstricker

“A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”

This weeks Pferde Friday performance goes out to all of my bards!

These famous lines from Shakespeare’s Richard III continue to be heard today and I would wager most of us have heard them once or twice before.

Since horses were such an integral part of the world throughout our period they made their way into our songs, stories, music and even contributed to the make of the music itself. I have few more examples here to cite and inspire!

The Roman dragon standard, thought to have made an intimidating roar or whistle when carried on the back of a galloping horse, without the horse to bear it at speed this instrument of intimidation would fall silent.

Horses made their way into stories and legend. The tale of Odin and Slepnir his eight legged horse comes to us from the Vikings.

In songs and poetry we seem them mentioned sometimes as the main subject or in passing as in this verse from William the Count of Poitou’s troubadour song, falling asleep in the saddle. He has another like this where his horse is mentioned as helping write the verse and one can just imagine him out writing songs and mulling them over with his mount….we all talk to our pets sometimes right?

For those who were at my elevation the music played during our procession was taken from Loheneysen’s Della Cavallaria. There are several pages of sheet music in this equestrian book and Lord Louis du Pont du Lac was so kind as to translate and arrange them. Other music exists in these equestrian books from German and Italian sources.

Bowed instruments found throughout the period utilized horse hair in the bow to generate all kinds of music. Hair from my old horse Lucy’s tail made some beautiful music in the hands of a skilled bard of Unser Hafen who sadly has passed and I cannot remember his name so if you know him please comment below!

Aside from these performance arts of course we have the items mentioned themselves, the associated items and artwork, and the context in which they existed which further expands the opportunities here to make a connection. This is of course just a preview trailer and countless more examples are out there across the centuries!