Skill-at-Arms Display

As an histiorical re-enactment troop we endeaviour to keep alive the traditions and activities of the Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, providing an opportunity to see the uniforms and equipment of the light horse as it was used. We participate in various parades, most importantly the ANZAC Day parade at Hobart, including the dawn service. On the first Sunday of June at 12 noon, we participate in the Boer War commemoration at the memorial on the Hobart Domain.

During the two world wars, Lighthorse militia regiments were maintained and regularly attended rural agricultural shows around Tasmania, demonstrating the various skills required to train soldier and horse for effective military service. Troops were located at various centres, and these often used to compete with each other in the various skill-at-arms activities. Although the 3rd Light Horse regiment was not issued with sabre or lance during WW1, skill at arms was historically part of the training of the Mounted Infantry prior to and following the war. They provide the horse and rider with necessary basic skills for mounted combat. Below are a few of the exercises used for training these cavalry skills. Like our forebears, we display some of these skills at various agricultural shows as we are invited. In recent years these have included the Huon, Burnie, Wynyard, Bream Creek and Devonport shows, as well as the Kempton Summer Festival.

Gallows (tilting the ring)

Training a horse to run straight and steadily is a fundamental requirement for a stable platform from which to fight. This exercise trains the discipline required to drive a sabre or lance with sufficient accuracy and force through a mounted enemy’s heart. A 10cm diameter ring is suspended at the appropriate height, and taken away by lance or sabre at a loose-rein gallop.

Tent Pegging

Perhaps the best known of the exercises, it is based on the cavalry tactic of galloping through an enemy camp at dawn, removing the pegs of the tents to create confusion, prior to an infantry assault. The exercise is done with sabre or lance, and tent pegging competitions are not uncommon. The rider scores 2 points for a strike, 4 points if the peg is removed and 6 points if the peg is carried away.

Turks Head

Taking its name from the type of knot used, this exercise simulates a frontal assault against two lines of infantry, with an enemy mounted officer at the rear. The rider attacks through the lines, taking the knot from the pole on his right (front rank), the knot on his left (second rank), and running the sabre through the ring at the rear. The knot is mounted at approximately the height of a mounted soldier’s heart.