The Dutch Association for Riding Arms Skills (NVBW) 'Saint Georges' was founded in 2004 and currently (2020) has about 35 active members. Location of the association is Equestrian Centre Muiderberg. Members of the NVBW train themselves at the highest level in skills that cavalrymen used to have to master in order to save themselves on the battlefield. The club is also active in the competitive sport 'tent pegging'.
The NVBW is the only internationally registered Dutch equestrian sports association that focuses on the use of weapons ( sable, lance and revolver) on horseback in competition. In contrast to most clubs with a military background, the NVBW is also open to non-military people. The NVBW also has youth members. Because of security risks, only experienced riders are eligible for membership. New members first practice with non sharp training weapons. Safety and horse welfare are very important to the NVBW.
Under the regime of Napoleon Bonaparte 1810-1815, the Dutch cavalry was among the best in Europe. This tradition was continued until the Second World War. The NVBW demonstration team wears the uniform from around the time of mobilization 1914-1918 and shows what the cavalry is best at: Speed, maneuverability and the ability to attack quickly. Especially on terrain that is difficult for vehicles to pass. The demonstration shows a section cavalry (6 riders) on reconnaissance. With hit and run tactics, enemy positions are quickly eliminated and dislocated. In addition, various weapon skills with sable and lance are demonstrated. In this way 'museum weapons' come to life and the audience can see how effective these seeming primitive weapons are.
About the horses
The horses that are used have had no special training. It speaks for itself that the horses are suitable for military use and are trained with the horses on a regular basis. Most horses are equestrian center horses of Equestrian Center Muiderberg. Some members of the NVBW use their own horse. Not all riding horses are by definition suitable for military use; horses that are temperamental, easy to control but above all not frightened are the most suitable.
There is a historical context with the horses being used: When the stock of Irish horses was exhausted in 1918, a claim of 150 to 200 riding horses or horses more or less suitable for that purpose was held in the country. These horses were sent to Milligen to be made suitable for military service. (Young) horses were trained after a stay of one or two years at the Remonte Depot in Milligen, near the Hussars Depots, and after a training period of one year were handed over to the field squadrons.
About the sport
About 150 years ago, in the British Empire, cavalrymen's exercises developed into a sport also known as 'tent pegging' because originally wooden tent pegs from army tents were used as targets. Other competition components are: ring stitches with sable and lance, orange cleaving, course with jumps, stabbing pockets, balloon shooting and ring stitches. All competition parts are performed at gallop. Most competition disciplines are originally regulatory cavalry exercises. The collective name of all (competition) disciplines is 'Mounted Skill at Arms' . Tent pegging is practiced worldwide.