it came to my attention that there are many out there that would not understand the terminology involved with jousting, and may need some help understanding before heading out to a fall faire, or at least some research before a spring faire.
The quintain; a term used to define the practice target knights would use to either hone their jousting skills or train new knights. You may have seen this used in the movie A Knights Tale. Even though this is a comedy of a movie, they did use a quintain to get Heath Ledger's character trained before jousting.
As you can see in the picture, Sir Dustin Stephens is riding against the quintain. This is an amazing shot as the camera is just below the target as Sir Dustin rides in on it.
The quintain is the small shield target that rotates on a wooden structure with a counter weight on the other end. The counter weight is sometimes a bag of sand that, if you get it to swing correctly, can circulate and give you extra rotations on the quintain.
And that would be the name of the game, to get the shield target to rotate on its axis as many times as possible. This is not achieved by simply riding the horse faster and blasting a lance against the target any where. Rather, with a great amount of skill, the rider aims for a specific location on the target and must follow through to get the maximum spin.
While obviously a game and not tilting (or jousting), injuries can occur with the quintain. Broken bones in the hands and wrists can occur if the knight does not properly hold the lance or does not make contact on the quintain in the correct fashion, and at times, freak things will happen to cause injuries.