A wild gallop

The ring-riding contest in Gråsten is held over 4 action-packed days. The contest is just as peppered in tradition as the so-called ring-riders (a crispy local sausage speciality) which sizzle on the grill at DET GAMLE RÅDHUS during one of the most festive weekends in the summer.

Market days, Harley Davidson get-togethers and veteran car rallies … Gråsten offers many different festive events during the summer. The ring-riding contest, which is held in mid-July, is an experience you cannot afford to miss. 

The ring-riding event nowadays offers visitors a horse parade, a summer ambience, live music and barbecue sausages, but in the Middle Ages the jousting event was a prodigious and fearsome event. The tradition is a more peaceful affair nowadays, but contestants are all trying to win the competition and get the much-coveted wreath around their neck. The exercise looks simple enough, but don’t be deceived. Contestants have to ride their horses at a gallop through the gallows and spear some small rings with a lance. The winner is proclaimed king of the ring-riding contest. The rings have to remain on the tip of the lance until the rider has reached the finishing line.

Becoming the king of the ring-riding contest requires a very special combination of concentration, precision and coordination – a feat that King Christian IV of Denmark (reigned 1588-1648) was able to master.

If these are not attributes you possess, there is fortunately ample opportunity for you to enjoy the sausages and draft beer, and your concentration and coordination will not be put to the test. However, precision is an advantage.

Luckily, ring-riding is not just for adults. Even very young children have the chance to have a ride. Cycle ring-riding events are also held, and children of different age groups can take part in the races. The bicycles are of course beautifully decorated.

Ring-riding is a mixture of old and new, German and Danish customs – and the Southern Jutland ring-rider sausage is a wonderful example of this. The sausage, which is based on a German recipe, is very good quality. As in previous years, the Royal Family will receive the contestants, all dressed in white, in front of Gråsten Palace.

It promises to be quite an event, and DET GAMLE RÅDHUS looks forward to making its contribution by providing delicious food and cold beverages when the ring-riding festival in Gråsten is held between 15th and 18th July 2021.