We have the ability to take HD video at our fingertips today, but most definitely did not twenty years ago. Still, we managed to get film anyway, in a much more tangible medium — you know, actual film — but one that also breaks down over time fairly easily. So when I found eight VHS-C tapes while emptying the storage unit — tapes I had no hope of ever finding because I didn’t realize I even still had them — I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I figured the video quality would be terrible, the sound distorted. Even more inconveniently, I had no way of figuring out what was on these tapes. I used to have a VHS converter used for playing VHS-C tapes in a VCR, but that thing hasn’t turned up yet, nor a VCR. I started googling, asking for recommendations, and digging around on Amazon for ways to find out what was on these tapes. One was labeled “KBF June 2001,” three were labeled “horses” and four aren’t labeled.
I found Lotus Media via Amazon and hands down the company offered the best prices and the easiest process for converting videos. I sent the KBF June 2001 tape, and got digital video shared to my Google drive on Monday — Lotus Media upgraded me to rush processing for no additional charge, which I thought was brilliant.
Many of you will have no idea just how precious this video is. I am obviously not really talking about me riding because who cares — I am talking about that gravelly but encouraging voice on the video, telling me how to ride. Hearing that voice again is indescribable! I have probably mentioned this in passing, and I am not sure I could really do the man justice in writing, but for about fifteen years I rode with the trainer behind that voice. He taught me so much, and gave me what I now realize were extremely generous, unlimited opportunities to learn as much as I could — and he gave similar opportunities to many riders. But he also passed away unexpectedly, and I had no idea until a few weeks ago that I had video of him, and of him riding, and of his voice teaching riders on horses from so long ago. The full video, about twenty-five minutes, is also on my Vimeo account for anyone to watch.
I hope the remaining tapes will also have similar stuff — and it’s funny how I recognize the horses almost instantly and easily remember their names. Seventeen years ago doesn’t seem so far away now.