Historic Tilting at the Rings

As we have written previously, tilting-at-the-ring (better known in Danish as Ringridning) is a popular sport in the south of Denmark. Nowadays, riders gallop towards a ring suspended on a rope and try to catch the ring on a lance they carry. However, this sport has a long tradition, and is to be expected, changes have occurred over the years.

ringridning

During the summer, there are displays of historic tilting events at a track right by Sonderborg castle. During the weekly occurrence, one of the tilting families of the region (participation in this sport seems to be a family tradition) takes part in a re-enactment of such tournaments from days gone by on a small scale.

When I went to check it out I had expected to see a similar display to that seen at the modern tournaments, just in costume. However, I was surprised to finally make sense of statues of cocks standing in the middle of the course! In fact, rather than only grabbing rings from suspended ropes, the riders also attempt to grab rings that are suspended from the cocks’ mouths. Seeing the riders in action it was quite clear that this is no longer a practised tradition…the riders had infinitely more problems grabbing these rings than the more ‘normal’ ones!

Unfortunately these displays only occur in Danish school holidays (which end in the beginning of August in Denmark), so apologies for writing about it this late in the season. However, if you are visiting the area, now you have an excuse to come again next year!


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