In your effort to distinguish equestrian activities from cut-and-thrust and
armored combat you neglected to mention mounted combat, which is virtually
identical to armored combat in terms of weapons, armor, and rules, except
that it is done while mounted on a horse.  The fact that two major
equestrian activities are "martial art[s] where two combatants (or more, in
melee) face off directly against one another" kind of throws a wrench into
your argument.

And that is to say nothing, of course, of the historical fact that one of
the key distinguishing features of a knight was being a mounted combatant.
For obvious reasons of practicality that was not made a requirement of the
Chivalry, but if one is to propose creating additional branches of the
Chivalry, then surely equestrians who attain the appropriate level of
prowess in mounted combat and jousting would be at least as good a fit as a
cut-and-thrust branch.

Let me be clear: I'm not necessarily taking a position for or against the
'new branch' proposal in general, but it is difficult to argue that it
makes more sense for cut-and-thrust than (combatant) equestrians.

-Edward de Kent

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