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Surely, they joust

August 21, 2005|By PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

FAIRPLAY

From looking at him Saturday, it wasn't obvious that Ryan Pinder, aka "Knight of Three Generations," never had jousted: His horse, Cody, galloped quickly down the ring-laden path as the 17-year-old steadily held out his lance.

But Pinder, of Easton, Md., said it wasn't hard to look like a pro, considering his horse knew the ropes a lot better than he did.

"He don't want to slow down," Pinder said as he tried to adjust himself on the saddle atop Cody, who was trying to rest his leg. "If he slowed down, it'd be a little bit better."

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Other "fair ladies" and "knights," wearing T-shirts and jeans, saddled up Saturday in the shady Old Tilghmanton Woods for Fairplay Days' annual jousting tournament.

Competitors, poised atop their horses, pointed lances at three tiny brass rings that hung from three wooden archways spaced out along a grass and dirt path that extended on one end of the park.

At 7 years old, Marley Enfield had more experience than some competitors four times her size. Jousting since she was a little more than 2 years old, Marley held her lance steady as her father led the family's trotting quarter horse, Gen, down the ringed path.

The Keedysville girl hit all three rings the first time she rode Saturday, the first time in "a long time" she's gotten that many in one attempt, she said. Competitors got three chances to go down the path.

"You can't let the lance touch your body or it'll keep you out of balance," she said.

Marley, who was called "The Maid of Enfield Farm," practices a lot at home. Her brother, Bradley, 10, also competed Saturday.

"You learn that you know how to ride a horse, and it teaches you that you can catch the rings if you want to," she said.

It was Kristie Johnson's first joust Saturday, too. Johnson, 19, of Keedysville, rode Secret Suspicion, a thoroughbred that has only been off the racetrack about two months.

Johnson has been riding for years, she said, but hadn't tried jousting until Saturday. Her contacts were drying out, she said, making it difficult for her to keep her eyes on the rings.

Six-year-old Tyler Poffenberger couldn't keep his eyes off the horses. "The black one" was his favorite, he said, as his grandmother folded the blanket they had been sitting on to watch the competition.

"I saw two that got three rings," he said, his eyes wide.

Fairplay Days continues today with more jousting, crafts and food at the park off Sharpsburg Pike, south of Hagerstown.

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