At BARISIS AUX BOIS (FRANCE) ON 11th to 14th of August




The Rossfechten Symposium is a four day event bringing together enthusiasts, researchers and instructors from around the world to reconstruct historical mounted martial arts traditions using original sources from Victorian cavalry saber to medieval mounted combat

But I'm not a rider?

In short if you don’t ride yet, and you want to do mounted combat, this is the place for you! One of our great goals with the symposium is to give beginner riders or people interested in learning to ride in order to start mounted combat an affordable means to learn the basics from experienced teachers, gain confidence, learn pitfalls and how to avoid them and make contacts that will help in continuing learning the discipline. There will be workshops for beginners in the mornings and afternoon running parallel to the other mounted workshops concentrating on riding and horsemanship fundamentals with a focus on preparation for mounted combat.

But I'm not a Fencer?

There are few better places to get a crash course in Historical Fencing than the Rossfechten Symposium, we have put great effort in bringing in some of the leading experts in Historical European Martial Arts to the Symposium, with years of experience in bringing techniques from the page of a manuscript into the heads of their pupils, we’ll be teaching you the basics quickly and efficiently with an eye towards preparing you for mounted combat. They will give you the tools to become a competent fencer in as little time as possible and share their experience with pedestrian elements of their system and give valuable insights into pedagogy, academics and technique to help reconstruct the as yet mostly unplumbed mounted side of Historical European Martial Arts.

But I can't bring my Horse

There are experienced horses on site that can be rented on site, but don’t wait! There’s only a limited number available and places are going fast. Even if you can’t bring a horse or don’t want to rent there’s more than enough to do, with foot workshops, lectures, historic sights and lots of interesting like minded people to meet and talk to you’ll never find yourself without something to do.

What is Rossfechten ?


In the late medieval era, countless manuals were written on the arts of combat.Due to the nature of the era, chief among these arts was what the German tradition called Rossfechten, mounted combat.

Our Symposium is dedicated to the revival and recreation of this art, not just from the Medieval period, but the countless traditions before and after. The manuals show us the high level of riding and fencing that were needed to ensure ones survival. A collected horse and refined bladework were more important for success than brute strength.

Join us and rediscover a discipline that combines high level equestrianism and martial arts to create the trade of princes and kings.


Subscription available (max:40)







You’ll come without your horse ? Hurry up!  There are only 10 horses for rent …


Organizers Team


General information: Jack Gassmann
If you have questions about the event in general, workshops, instructors, the website or have any suggestions, please contact him at :

Local information: Thomas Schmuziger
For information on the area, arrivals, food, lodgings or logistics please contact Thomas at :

Stabling and Horse Rentals: Gaelle Bernard
For information on stabling horses or horse rentals please Gaelle Bernard :


General information

Jack Gassmann


Stabling and Horse Rentals

Gaëlle Bernard


Local information

Thomas Schmuziger



( It isn’t the final list )
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Training the Repellon


Modern possibilities of training the Repellon and related historical exercises

The Repellon was one of the most important exercises of 16th century riding literature. It was used to train key abilities of horse and rider needed for warfare. In it´s most basic form it consisted of riding on a straight path, turning with a tight volte and riding back the same path again. As horse and rider progressed, the straight line had to be ridden quicker and the turn had to become tighter. Final stages of the exercise involved riding the turn with a pirouette or preferably in terre-a-terre and ending the straight line in a Possade (the horse lowers his haunches and lifts his front legs). The purpose of this exercise was to improve collection of the horse and to enable horse and rider to quickly change from fast attacks to quick turns. The original exercises were ridden in a freshly plowed soil so that the horse initially had to lift his legs and after a few repetitions had a fixed path which it could follow. In this workshop we will have a look at different possibilities to train these exercises in a modern environment and with modern equipment.

Material required: The exercises will be adopted to the level of experience of the participating riders.

Exercises for sword/sabre use on horseback


Solo and partner exercises for sword/sabre use on horseback This workshop will focus on different exercises to improve sword handling on horseback. First we will have a look on how to strike on horseback without endangering the horse. For this we will use the Angelo/Stephens system of cuts. After trying basic defences we will practice attack and defence drills in different riding situations and gaits.

Material required: Participants will need a practice sword, preferably nylon or plastic. A fencing mask is recommended.”

Simplify the way to historical dagger


Historical dagger techniques can be quite complex. It’s often an entanglement of blades and wrestling with a dangerous point near your face. What looks easy in a book can be difficult to achieve under the pressure of a real attack. There’s a good reason to put your focus on principles, rather than technique. Application of principles and the knowledge of a couple of good, simple and workable techniques should suffice. Let’s see if we can achieve that.

Level: all levels Equipment needed: dagger simulator (wood or other) 10 daggers can be provided.

Discovering & practising feudal horsemanship


Feudal horsemanship cover the riding practices in Western Europe from the XIIth century to the end of the XVth century. Peculiar to this period of time and geographic zone, it perfectly matches with the martial methods described in various records, et allows their studies on horseback.

The equestrian means emerged from the in-depth study of a very large panels of sources allow to perform a simple but efficient horsemanship. During the workshop, we will study the means of the feudal horsemanship, and practice them through various exercices, some of them described in the records, some of them inspired by the situations described in the texts. Even if we’ll focus on horsemanship, we could use some instruments.

Riding skill: Having ridden at least 10 hours long before whatever the horsemanship. No specific pre-request riding skill. No complete beginner.

Material required : If possible, a working saddle with large, high horn and cantle (i.e. Portuguese, Camarguaise, Spanish, American…) – those who wish to practice with a chainmail could do in the second part of the workshop.

Swordworks Drills


Especially in mounted combat it is important that situations become routine for horse and rider so as to be able to remain calm, confident and controlled at all times. In fencing flow drills and footwork patterns are a long established method of becoming comfortable with strikes parries and controlling distance, essential to any martial art. We will be working drills that work the three common positions you will be attacking and defending from in mounted combat. It has the added benefit of teaching the horse the objective of fencing and promote a constructive partnership.

Laying the foundation


Precision and lightness are crucial to having a horse for mounted combat. However we often underestimate our horses and ourselves, instead of asking exactly when and where we want the foot. We often just give them a general direction using far more energy then we’d need just because we want to be sure that we get a response, but in martial arts uncontrolled movement is worse than no movement. We will be using groundwork in the Dorrance/Hunt ranch working tradition. Not having enough time to ride is a common and universal problem in rossfechten, groundwork allows you to work more horses faster, honing the boring stuff quickly and efficiently, to get to the fun stuff faster when you ride.

Initiation à l’archerie montée, entre Europe et Orient


L’archerie montée existe depuis que nous savons monter à cheval, les peuples des steppes du sud ou du nord en sont les emblèmes les plus connus. En Europe cette activité est restée occasionnelle, utilisée essentiellement à la chasse. Retrouver les différentes gestuelles lorsque l’on monte dépend énormément du type d’arc, de cheval et de selle utilisée, Je vous propose de découvrir ou redécouvrir cette pratique en utilisant des arcs d’inspiration Mongol, une pratique ancestral adaptée aux cavaliers modernes. L’esthétisme du geste et la difficulté d’allier vitesse et précision en font tout le charme.  Dans cette pratique, le sport rejoint le combat monté avec la pratique d’un tir instinctif efficace. Dans cet atelier nous débuterons par un séance d’apprentissage du tir instinctif à pied puis nous passerons à cheval avec pour objectif de tirer des flèches en mouvement au trois allures dans plusieurs cibles sur une piste encadrée.

Riding skill: A basic ability to control your horse at the trot is required as well as a certain amount of desensitization to moving objects. The horse must not react aggressively to horses coming close to him.

Matériel requis :  Casque, si vous possédez un arc de type Mongol ou asiatique amenez le. Je fournirai les flèches et les arcs.

Maximum number of participants 4 par cession (2 cessions).

Attention : les participants seront responsables du matériel et devront participer en cas de casse ou perte, 7€ par flèches.

Teatching beginners


During this intensive workshop you will: * Get an introduction to fundamental riding techniques * Learn how to safely handle, groom, saddle and bridle your horse * Practice horseback sword fighting techniques In the first hour you will learn the fundamentals of horse handling and will learn how to groom and tack-up (saddle and bridle) your horse. In the remainder of the workshop you will get an introduction to basic riding, and build the fundamentals of swordplay from the ground, including movement, core attacks, and defenses. Beginning riders are provided one-on-one attention during the riding portion. Those with previous experience will have the opportunity to ride independently and practice more advanced drills. This program is an ideal way to introduce yourself to both equestrian and swordplay skills and get started on a deep and exciting track of learning.

A knight invicible against a Footman????


The reference position essential to contextualize and learn. Any training sequence whatever the subject area must establish a reference position for measuring the progress made by the learners. As part of the physical activities that are part HEMA, it provides a way for the instructor to evaluate, refine and, even more interestingly, see the learning paths that one would not have expected. We invite you to experience the average situation in the Tournoi a XIII. We wish it to be as close as possible to the context of the so-called “primitive” practice tournaments that were run in the XIIth and XIIIth centuries where infantry and cavalry formed teams whose goal was to capture as many opponents as possible. What is the role of each of these units? Is the rider the invincible warrior he is often described as in literature? Here are some questions we try to answer by comparing the sources and reality.

Equestrian Level: Galop 3 or equivalent.
Materials: If possible a work saddle (Portuguese, Spanish, Camargue, American …) – riders wishing to start in chainmail may do.

Cavaliers vs Fantassin au Premier Empire.


A presentation of techniques for infantry armed with bayoneted rifles or swords against riders and technical riding to counter infantry, according to Joseph Pinette, Alexandre Muller and other combat fencing riders of the early nineteenth century.


Beginners are accepted, mask and gloves recommended. 

Materials: Saber, (one or two more are better) gloves, masks and forearm protection. Rifles and bayonet simulators will be provided. We can test the techniques with horses but we only need a maximum of one or horse for every two people, if we have less it’s not so bad.

Pistol and revolver shooting on horseback, between the revolutionnary and napoleonic wars and the First Word War


The napoleonic wars announced the comeback of the maneuver warfare and bring back the military cavalry as a key element, During the whole XIXth century. the technical evolution favorized more and more the use of the pistol, then the revolver until it became the main weapon on horse for the light cavalry. This tendency will end brutally with the First World War and the rise of the modern mechanical warfare.

In this worshop we will see through French, Franco-prussian, Belgian, English and North-americans military and civilians sources how the riders and their horses where prepared for the use of one-handed firearms.

Material required: an airsoft (only) pistol/revolver with a power between 1 and 2J.
A Saddle or a waist/shoulder holster.
A sabre or a one handed sword with a wrist strap would be a great addition.

No pre-requisite riding or fencing skill. 

Saint Martins’ treatrise on the saber


Saint Martins’ treatrise on the saber, written in 1804 is one of the first of its kind. Saint Martin himself seems to be surprised of the lack of such treatrises, when there are many on the smallsword. His method is one that he developed in the field during his numerous campaigns. Saint Martin is an experienced military officer and fencing instructor at the Theresian military academy in Vienna, and is certainly competent in the use of the cavalry saber. He is not however very good at explaining things, as he admits it himself, and his treatrise reflects this. One particular aspect that is lacking is the relative speed and directions of the horses and their riders. We may extrapolate some of it from Saint Martin’s work on foot. The aim of the workshop will be to put into action preselected saber sequences with different angles of approach and speeds. As such, the workshop will have a dual purpose of testing certain hypothesis and for the attendees to manage a horseback engagement with XIXth century sabers from the initial approach to the final retreat.

Riders comfortable with it may also test special techniques against archers or bayonettists on Sunday.

Martial level required: Beginner. The attendee should feel comfortable with a steel saber and a fencing mask. Being quick at learning drills is a plus.

Riding: beginner. The workshop will be essentially carried out at walking or trotting speeds. Galloping will only be used against static non-living targets.

Piéton contre cavalier selon Pietro Monte


Dans ces écrits en latin –approximatif-, Pietro Monte donne des principes généraux sur l’utilisation de la hache d’arme à pied. Parmi ceux-ci, il consacre un passage au cas particulier du combat contre un cavalier. L’atelier s’interrogera sur la perspicacité des conseils donnés ainsi que la possibilité de leur mise en pratique et des limites de notre disciplines.

Nombre de pratiquants : 15 personnes (tout niveau), dont 3 cavaliers Armes : 3 haches, 3 épées, 3 lances courtes, 3 lances longues (au total)

Travail autour de la queue selon le Jeu de la hache


La hache d’arme est divisée en trois parties, le gros bout (portant la partie offensive), la demi-hache (entre les deux mains) et la queue. Très mobile, cette dernière est richement utilisée dans le Jeu de la hache. L’atelier proposera de rencontrer les différentes possibilités qu’offre la queue : gardes, défenses, exploiter les défauts de l’adversaires ou certaines situations du combat.


Nombre de pratiquants : ce nombre sera limité par le nombre d’armes disponibles (tout niveau) Armes : une hache d’arme par personne

XIIIth century mounted combat


During this workshop will be presented a method of one-handed sword fighting, simple and operative for the XIIIth century mounted combat, inspired by the observation and the analysis of many illuminations, and the comparison of those with the principles described after in more recent fighting treatises, as well as the finding of conjunctions with the methods proposed by other researchers in french HEMA.

The mounted fencing which is proposed result of a war fencing, practised in wearing a suit of armour et with a shield. It is carried out equally both on the straight or on the opposite side of the horse, mainly from the armed side of the fighter. It aims to deliver powerful blows with a one-handed sword and is interested in opportunities of estoc or wrestling (dagger or barehanded) as second-line purpose.

This workshop will exclusively focus on the mastering of the fencing system.


Fencing mask with HEMA pads, a pair of gloves.
If desired: a short sword simulator (nylon, iron,…), wearing a chainmail is possible. no shield.
No pre-requisite riding or fencing skill. 

Groundwork: the qualities of impulsion and straightness


The first workshop will focus on establishing lateral movement with good quality on the ground. This ground work will also provide students with some essential insights in these qualities and movements. First, we will focus on qualities as impulsion and straightness. Afterwards, depending on the level of horse and man, we will carry these qualities into exercises as shoulder-in or travers.

Experience: from basic to advanced (but the horse should be mentally relaxed in ground work)

Material required: Requirements: lead rope, preferably caveson (but a rope halter can work as well), light riding stick (a straight twig will do fine).

In the saddle: lateral movement with quality


In continuity with the first workshop, the qualities established in the ground work will now be carried to the saddle. In the ridden work, however, particular attention needs to be paid on physical relaxation and suppleness next to impulsion and straightness. Afterwards, we will try to reproduce the shoulder-in or travers, which in turn will serve as a basis for  lateral movements as leg yield and half passes.

Experience: from basic to advanced (horses should be mentally relaxed and decently physically trained, riding skills should be good).

Material required: Next to standard tack (a bit is strongly recommended, curbed bits are allowed provided the rider can handle them with extreme lightness), a light riding stick (or a straight twig).

Durchwechselen with quality


The quality of straightness and the lateral movements established in the two previous workshops will now be used in application. Inspired by the turni exercises of Grisone and other sixteenth century masters, we will apply straightness work as an essential element of keeping a decent line of approach. From this straight line of approach, we will advance into lateral movements with the lance, leading to the durchwechsel technique.

Experience: from basic to advanced (horses should be mentally relaxed and decently physically trained, riding skills should be good). Some experience in one-handed riding will be important.

Material required: Next to standard tack (a bit is strongly recommended, curbed bits are allowed provided the rider can handle them with extreme lightness), a light riding stick (or a straight twig).


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Black Armoury Will be here with special prices !




Don’t forget to book your accomodation by yourself !

There are many camping and BnB options in the area. There is a camping option very close to the event starting at 10 Euro, with car and electricity come to about 17.5 per night, but in groups prices sink again. For those at the campsite without cars we will attempt to arrange lifts with those that do have cars.

BnBs in the area,
There are price points to every taste starting at 28 Euro in nearby and picturesque Soissons (30m drive), right up to picturesque chateaux and cute little village inns around the 60 Euro a night mark. Barisis itself has not hotels so it is best to look in either St. Gobain, or Coucy le Chateau for hotels and hostelries.

B&B ``Le 8 Bis``

Le 8 bis : 8 Bis is an old manor house, built in 1780, at the heart of the village of Saint-Gobain (5km to the stables).

Number of rooms : 3 rooms
Capacity : 6 people

Languages spoken by the owner :  English – German – Neerlandais

Contacts :

PERCHEUL Monique et Paul
Tel : (+33)
Tel (portable) : (+33)

Etang du Moulin

“Western-style Resort”, with unusual and unique accomodations: wagons, tipislog cabins, gypsy caravans and campground.
All just a 2h30 drive from Calais and 15min from Laon in Picardie, France.
And 15 min from the Stables of Barisis.

Wifi is available throughout the site – Free 1/2 h – € 1.5 per hour – 3€ day – 6€ for 3 days

Call for booking :
(+33) 3-23-80-92-86

New Access Hotel

Adress : 3 Rue du Stade, 02880 Crouy, France
Telephone : +33 3 64 18 44 10
TripAdvisor link

Hotel Balladins St Quentin -Gauchy

Adress: 3 Rue Eugene Freyssinet, 02430 Gauchy, France
Telephone : +33 3 57 32 46 88
TripAdvisor link


The campsite CAMP MUNICIPAL LE MARAIS DE LA FONTAINE is located in FERE in Aisne, in Picardy, where nature and history lovers will find plenty to occupy them during their holidays. It is located by the River l’Oise, by the Lagoon et 5 km away near a Leisure centre.

Telephone  : +33 3 23 56 82 94
Site Web : Click here

Subscription details




Includes :

Food, Access to all workshops, lectures


280 €

Includes :

Food, Access to all workshops, lectures and  stalls for a horse for 4 days


590 €

Includes :

Food,  Access to all workshops , lectures and use of a horse from a professional company specializing in reenactment and hunting experiences for 4 days (Thursday to Saturday)


200 €

Includes :

If you are budget conscience and coming as a group ,sharing a horse is always an option, just choose one of the full rental packages and add “PARTICIPANT”, the cost comes out to 395 per personn with two people, and gets lower the more people share.

Subscription form


All packages include home cooked lunch and dinner, served at the stables and access to the workshop. We have tried our best to keep costs down however it is still an equestrian event.

The main cost question is of course horses. For horse rentals we have two options, one from the riding centre at the stables and the other from a professional company that rents horses to reenactment and hunting events, the horses are well conditioned and police trained. Note : due to the lump sum nature of the package we have gotten, renting horses per day is more expensive.

If you are coming for a single day with your own horse and need stabling or any special arrangements, such as diet or have any important medical conditions etc. please mention itin the comments.

Area and Travel



logo-paiement-cbPLEASE KEEP IN MIND IN FRANCE you can’t always pay with card !
There is no cash machine in Barisis, the closest are in Coucy-le-Château near the post office !

The region of Picardy, only two hours north of Paris, is a breathtaking must see for any military history fan or outdoorsman. Forests and fields dotted with small stone villages chateaux and castles. Celebrated in the middle ages for being the most beautiful and blessed of frances domains for hunting, fishing and other forest activities it still hasn’t changed much.
Picardy saw some of the heaviest fighting of the hundred years war as well as the first and second world war.
In fact our event  is only 20minutes drive away from the remains of the largest Donjon style castle ever built in Europe and the seat of one of France’s most renowned and infamous knightly families, the Coucys.

The battle of the Somme was also in the area and there is much much more still to see.


Barisis itself is very small and if you need shopping or supplies or are looking for a hotel the closest village is St. Gobain, but if you want a larger town we suggest St Quentin, Soissons or Reims, or if you want to be close to the famous Coucy castle, Coucy le Château.




There are VERY GOOD connections from PARIS to the region, you can get a fast train from Paris in about 2hrs. The closest train station is Tergnier.


If you need to be picked up we might be able to organise something for you so please talk to our organizational staff.
If you are travelling from England or Switzerland there is a very good fast train service to Paris.

Flying in

Best airport to fly into is Paris Airport and then take a train north to Tergnier. You can usually find very affordable flights.




This years Gala Dinner will be in the MEDIEVAL TOWN OF COUCY LE CHATEAU at the restaurant “Bellevue” with a view on the historic Coucy Castle. Our theme through the night is “Equestrian elegance throughout history”