Want to get the most out of your lessons? Filming your rides will help you see your position from a new angle and apply your trainer’s corrections. After your rides, you can evaluate your lessons together and pinpoint specific areas for improvement. You will be able to catch unconscious mistakes and track your progress.
That said, it can be frustrating trying to film during lessons. It always seems you miss the moments you need to work on most. Maybe you half-passed out of the frame, moved the phone and blurred the image, or acquired a mysterious video of the arena floor. Whatever the issue, there are easy adjustments to make.
Here are 8 tips to help you get more out of filming.
1. Have Someone Film You
If possible, have someone else film your ride. You’ll capture much more with help than you can by yourself. It’s time-consuming and tedious to set up your own shots—especially from horseback. See if a friend or trainer can help you out.
2. Set up your shot
Speak with your trainer before your lesson and plan where your movements will be in the arena. Let your camera person know what movement you will be doing and which area of the arena you will be riding in. This way they won’t miss anything.
To make sure your videos are in focus, you should stand or walk your horse in the part of the arena where you will be riding for the video. Tap and hold on the screen for a few seconds to lock the focus and exposure. Once the yellow AE/AF lock button appears at the top center of the screen, you’re ready to shoot.
3. Make Sure the Background is Simple
Busy backgrounds are distracting. The quieter and more plain the background, the more closely and easily you will be able to analyze your position. Ideally, the background should be in the shade and the horse and rider should be in the sun—early morning or late afternoon are generally the best times to film. Try to avoid buildings, structures, or jumps.
4. Align the Shot with the Horizon
Make sure the shot is aligned with the horizon line. A crooked frame will make it more difficult to analyze your position.
5. Pan with the Rider
Follow the rider with your camera as steadily as possible. This will help you capture more of the movement. It is important to pay attention to the stability of the phone so the image does not blur.
6. Decide your Camera Angles Based on the Movement
Depending on what you’re working on, you will want to position your camera accordingly. For most movements, the side view of your horse is most helpful. Most lateral movements are best filmed front-to-back. Movements like tempi changes and piaffe/passage are often better viewed
from the side. If you have time, try to get multiple takes at varying angles to be most comprehensive.
7. Film Before and After Each Movement
Start the video before the horse begins a movement and end after it finishes. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally cut out any of the movement.
8. Repeat the Same Exercise Multiple Times
Filming yourself multiple times will give you more footage to analyze. It also provides back-up footage in case you mess up a video. The more you film, the better you will understand how you
typically ride each movement.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Worry if you can’t Film Everything
Lesson time constraints, loud noises nearby, and your horse’s attitude are all variables you can’t always control. Don’t worry about getting everything. Capture the things you need the most work on first and be willing to film more the next lesson.
Filming your lesson can be a fantastic way to find areas of improvement and take your riding to the next level. Just follow the tips above and you’ll be taking quality videos in no time.
Do you film your rides? Leave any tips (or questions) below!