Dedicated to giving every horse person the chance to test themselves and their mounts in events like horseback sword techniques, lancing rings and horse archery, the Warhorse Challenge Association offers venues where you and your horse can put on armor or perhaps war paint and compete against like-minded equestrians.
Dameon Willich of the WCA kindly answered some questions regarding this intriguing association.
Have you always been interested in horses and when did the Warhorse Challenge Association start? Is it open to anyone?
I have been riding for 50 years, started as a young boy and have been doing it ever since. The WCA started as an idea 5 years ago, but did not actually come to exist until 2 years back. It is open to anyone 6 years old and up.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Seems like that is all I do any more :).
In this “historical genre” of riding, is it possible for someone to make a living, carrying out a full time job?
This is not historical genre riding, because we also allow fantasy costumes, or no costumes at all. However the riding techniques are historical, at least in the main. Anyone can make a living doing anything they love to do, maybe not a good living, but a living all the same.
As a full time job, yes one could do that, but why? Training horses and people to do this sort of thing could take all your days! IF you wanted to do that.
What are the general steps taken to be able to run such an association?
Strange question. You just have to know what you are doing. Setting up an organization is not easy, especially with so many diverse personalities and disciplines. But it can be done.
People management is the hardest part. So many folks want things their way so that they do not have to give up any advantages they think they have. The legal side of things is easy, just follow the paper work: a lot of paper work.
Any advice for those interested in pursuing this line of riding and perhaps teaching others?
Learn how to do everything well yourself so that you can teach others how to do it correctly. Always study history, and then be ready to learn from anyone that will teach you something, even if you already know how to do it. Remain humble and listen as well as talk. That is why you have two ears and only one mouth.
There is always something more to learn, and there are always people out there that will teach you, so try to learn from them as you teach them. HAVE FUN!!! Too many folks get too serious about winning. it has to stay fun or it is not worth doing. Keep that in mind while training others and you will instill the same values in them.
Is there anything else with horses you’d love to learn about or try?
Everything. I have been riding for a long tie and have learned many disciplines, but there is always more. I want to learn how to dance with my horse like the Spanish /Mexican riders do.
I want to learn more training techniques for teaching horses better, and I want to learn how to be better at vaulting, cause it has been a long time since I learned that.
Favourite horse memory?
Too many to recount. I have been doing this a long time and there have been so many great times and memories I can not pick just one. I just had to put down another of my horses yesterday at the tender young age of 38.
He was a good friend and we did a lot of things together that no one else has ever done before or since. I had a mare that I put down 5 years ago and she was 33 at the time, and she was magnificent. It is hard to say goodbye to old friends, but you have to do what is necessary for them. Most of my best memories have those two in them.
To be a judge at the International WCA show at least once.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
It is always changing and always fun. Each new horse you train to do this is another new experience, and that is all we really have are the experiences and the memories. I love it! Training and teaching others to do this sort of thing is so much fun, just watching them have fun is great, but it is more fun when you do it too!
“The Way to Heaven is on Horseback.”