Deep concentration etched on his face, the elderly man surges forward on his horse, his lance poised in his hand. In front of him hangs a ring, and with a mix of experience and precision he manages to guide the tip of the lance through the ring.
We’re at a tilting at the ring tournament in Sønderborg on the island of Als. Tilting at the ring is one of the trademarks of Sønderjylland, and every town, especially on the eastcoast, has a so-called tilting at the ring festival.
Tilting at the ring dates all the way back to the Middle Ages, when the extremely perilous sport of jousting was replaced by this less lethal type of training. In Denmark, King Christian IV was extremely enthusiastic about tilting at the ring as a competitive sport.
Today, participants compete to be the best at galloping down a course with a lance in their hand before thrusting the tip of the lance through a small ring that gets gradually smaller as the competition proceeds.