This is actually a really practical post. I am not going to get into seeing distances or the even more elusive riding by feel. Best of luck to anyone interested in those.
Instead, I want to talk about how video lines up, or doesn’t, with what I think is going on underneath me when I am riding Eli. I try to get A LOT of video, but the majority of it is not to watch myself (although I do that some …. however, I am a slave to my bad habits and idiosyncrasies). No, I want to see how Eli is going, how he looks, how his gaits look, how his form is over fences, whether he is tracking up evenly, etc., etc., etc., … and I am hoping to get all this lined up with what I am feeling under saddle. How did this trot feel when it looks this way? How did this jump feel for this effort? If I know what I am looking for and I can connect that with how it felt, then I can learn how I want something to feel and can hopefully begin to produce it regularly.
Secondly, the reality is that Eli is a 14-year-old off-track thoroughbred. I video because I want to assess his soundness. Regularly. Okay, almost daily. He looks sound on video, what does that feel like? He feels weak behind, what does that look like?
Most recently, Eli’s shoeing changed up a bit. After this, for a few rides, for just a few steps of the left lead each ride, he felt “stabby” up front. What does this look like?
Well, I don’t know yet. I rode last night with the hope of getting left lead canter on video, which I did (thanks, Brianna!). However, it did not feel stabby at all. His canter felt fluid, with some of his characteristic … we’ll call it playfulness. No hint of the previous feel of stabbiness, and the video lined up with that. My ride was also cut short because of the weather, so I didn’t get much canter work in at all.
Anyway, my conclusion is that the new shoe set up felt different to Eli and it took him a few days to adjust. Both the vet and farrier recommended I proceed with some caution for a while, because the angle had changed, putting soft tissue at greater risk for injury. I have been fairly cautious, I think. Eli had no work restrictions because of the change, but I don’t want to dismiss any changes to his gaits as inconsequential. I’ll be getting more video soon enough yet again, unless the hurricane blows in this way.
When you take video, what do you use it for? What are you watching for? Is it to improve yourself, your horse, both?