A massive black Percheron with a white star on his forehead turns and, on cue, gallops toward a target. The rider strikes the end of a horizontal pole with his lance. They trot back into place at the end of a line as several other riders prepare for their chance at the goal.
Men and women practice games going back to at least the 1400s on imposing mounts on the first Saurday each month in a “tiltyard” — a fenced field — on Highland Valley Road.
It’s a sight that’s hard to miss.
“We usually get a few people who come by and watch, but we’re not really set up for a lot of people,” said instructor Jeffrey Hedgecock Saturday. He and his wife, Gwen Nowrick, operate Knight School, Inc., teaching both riders and horses the ancient chivalric pursuits.
The jousters come from all over Southern California to practice for an annual October tournament in Poway, at the Poway Rodeo Grounds. About every three months, they dress up in their armour to practice in Ramona. The next time they’ll do that will be in April.