June 25th, 2016

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Animal-friendly events are just *different*

(As usual for when I've attended something long, I'll be posting some random reminiscences.)

Being held at a 4-H Fairground, SCA 50th Year was just about the most animal-friendly event I've ever attended. It was interesting noting my own reactions: several times during the first couple of days, I found myself going something like, "Oh, come *on* -- you're not seriously telling me that's a service *goat*" before realizing that it wasn't relevant. (The "lap goat" was, in fact, quite popular.) There were animals all over the place -- indeed, Zeus the Cat (from Camelot) held court in the EK History Booth for much of a day, drumming up attendance as people walking past would have whiplash of, "Ooooh -- kitty!"

But the biggest difference was the horses. I suspect this was the biggest Equestrian event in SCA history: the site has a large Equestrian Arena and a *huge* barn, and there were dozens of horses in attendance. Opening Ceremonies were punctuated by several passes of real, no-shit *jousting*. (With breakaway lances to keep anybody from getting killed, but it was still spectacular.) I'll need to remember to update my usual SCA-demo spiel to reflect the fact that yes, there now *is* jousting at least occasionally. (Although it's still not exactly common around here.)

The most magical moment came one of the evenings, though, and drove home one of the big differences from Pennsic. At the War, you learn to tune out the constant but annoying sound of golf carts, from Security riding around. At this event, there was none of that. Instead, one evening just after dusk, Security came riding up *on horseback*. Countess Meggie was practically beside herself with squee at the sheer rightness of it...