How Much Video Helps

wpid-screenshot_2015-07-25-15-26-26-1.pngMy trainer stresses the importance of video. There is nothing quite as motivating as watching yourself either screw up or succeed or both. I’m still stuck with my phone camera for video, but I’m thinking about investing in a digital camcorder. Possibly even a manufacturer refurb since its sole purpose will be to film at the barn and I don’t want to spend gobs of money on something that will be exposed to dirt, hair, sweat, and apple drool.

Soooooo, fortunately for me, a spare barn minion was around and able graciously to film my lesson, and she’s pretty good with using just my phone anyway.

greensingleThe few screen grabs I got off the video are illuminating. Eli jumps great, zero complaints with his performance, how did I end up with this horse??? (I know in reality how, it’s more of a rhetorical question.) But ahhhh, the rider … where do I start?

I am working with my trainer on improving my release and upper body position, which for me go together because I need to develop a release independent from my torso. Apparently I can’t do a long release without ducking, too.

wpid-screenshot_2015-07-25-12-40-58.pngPart of this problem developed out of the kind of ride Eli prefers–very, very, extremely soft and light. Do not touch the face. But in trying to give him ample room to do his thing, I exaggerate following along with my body. I need to lift my shoulder not only in the approach, which that I am doing better, but also keep it up during the jump itself.

And then seeing the video itself is also quite instructive. I struggle with usually one chippy distance out of 7-10 efforts, and my trainer, endlessly patient as she is, never tires of telling me to STOP picking up the reins and use MORE LEG. I am micromanaging, badly, and Eli doesn’t need it but goes along with it and jumps anyway. When I DON’T micromanage, Eli carries us easily to the jumps and his eye is way better than mine so why can’t I remember that for ALL the jumps? I watch the video, and my trainer asks if I had watched it, and my response was, yep, I totally picked up the reins and took my leg off. There’s no way around it. That’s what I did there. So we had a bit of a laugh over that.

You can see the worst of my chippy distances and a little Tokyo drift action on my fail post. For this post, I’ll use the more successful of our trips in the lesson. And all the trips are on my Vimeo.

20150725_100756.mp4 from rennikka on Vimeo.

Our first trip through, I was pretty happy with, except the one vertical before the Swedish we got stuck, but recovered well for a nice effort over the Swedish.

Our third trip was also pretty good, except the wonky distance at the first fence–first-fence-itis is a real disease–and Eli got a little rushed through the triple.

20150725_101420.mp4 from rennikka on Vimeo.

The perfectionist in me sees a ton to work on. Of course. I must balance demanding just a little bit more from myself and my horse while appeasing Eli’s temperament. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?


31 thoughts on “How Much Video Helps

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      1. Thank you! I’m hard on myself on video, too, but it keeps me motivated! I try sometimes to forget that it’s me I’m watching and be a little more objective about it.


  1. I’m a huuuuge fan of watching myself on video- for whatever reason my trainer can tell me something 30 times, but it usually doesn’t stick that well until I see it for myself. That’s when it becomes an “aha” moment. You guys are looking fantastic (and I love that last picture, totally hardcore)!

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  2. Video is such a good training tool! I wish I had more video of me riding so I could really pinpoint things I need to work on. You and Eli look pretty awesome possum! Not gonna lie, that Swedish looks fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I agree 110% about the importance of video! I’m a visual learner anyway, so my trainer telling me something and then actually seeing myself do it is incredibly helpful. I just wish I had someone around to video my lessons!

    You and Eli look great though! Swedish oxers are SO FUN ๐Ÿ˜€

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  4. I can definitely relate to balancing your own perfectionism with your horse’s temperament – so hard to do! Can’t remember where I read recently that “if you improve by 1% every ride, after 100 rides, you will have a new horse” – I try to make that my mantra rather than trying to fix ALL THE THINGS! Anyways, you guys look lovely and so in sync.

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    1. Thank you! And thank you for reminding me that incremental improvements result in big changes over time–Eli is not the horse he was in 2012! ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. I completely agree. I don’t even think pictures really do us justice because it’s only an eight of a second. At least you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. And you’re going to rock it every step of the way.

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  6. I feel as if film almost MAKES me mess up! My camera is cursed! Lol I think I am going to start having my trainer video all my courses. Very well said about how motivating it can be. Thank you!

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  7. I feel your pain with the micromanaging. I seem to be suffering from a lot of that lately. It’s so great that you were able to get some video. It catches so much more than just pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My favorite thing about video is comparing where I’m at now, to where I was before. When you ride day in and day out, sometimes it’s hard to see the progress, but videos never lie.

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  9. i’m pretty much obsessed with watching video. like others said – the key is to NOT beat yourself up about the little things. it’s totally fine to watch with a critical and objective eye, but it’s got to be with a forward thinking and positive attitude. but really, seeing the change over time is so instrumental. my trainer recently asked me if i wished i had video from when i first started with her last year – little does she know i have my whole blog! muahaha

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  10. Video- seriously the best tool ever! I always feel like a narcissist asking people to video me or take photos (next best thing) but the results really are helpful and worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How funny. Val has the same fussiness and need for me to stay soft as much as possible and I too have trouble keeping my arms independent of my torso. Maybe it has something to do with the way we ride TO the fences that makes it tough.

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