Me, Myself and I - Tips for Improvement Through the Video Lens

Developing yourself as a rider takes self discipline and a genuine interest in examining yourself with the same intensity that we study our horses. 

As part of your self improvement plan, a great way to develop yourself as a rider, awkward as it can be sometimes, is to video yourself. Get a passerby to shoot some quick videos of yourself with your phone. It doesn't need to be a big production and I encourage you to elicit anyone that goes by. The only instructions you need for your ‘willing videographer’ is that they need to keep you close in the frame. Basically fill the screen with you and the horse with only a little space around you. And, be as steady as they can. 

Create an album and store these videos to mark your progress. I do this ALL THE TIME, to this day! Seeing a real-time picture of yourself can make all the difference toward improving your equitation because you can evaluate, reflect and then improve on the next one. 

In addition to that it can help you create a more real time view of what you are doing with your horse in-the-moment. If you look back on the video with ‘that looks nothing like I pictured!’, then you have some more work to do. The video is great feedback but the goal is to develop a real time picture. 

You also get to see what your horse is doing with their feet. Which limb is taking the balance? Is my horse leaning one way or the other? Many horses simply can't do what we’d like them to because they are not in position. 

I remember an example of this with Quincy when I could clearly see on a video how much Quincy turned in a pirouette one way better than the other. It was when I was reviewing a video,  I saw it! On his back it felt the same speed and power but it clearly was not. To help solve this I did a quick rehearsal on foot and found that I turned one way so much better than the other. And as it turned out he wasn't the one having challenged but turned out to be me. I practiced everywhere I went in a right lead - then canter pirouette.

Of course, when no one was looking! LOL!

~ Jonathan


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