IMPROVE YOUR RIDING - Using your mobile phone, tablet and camera as riding aids

There is no denying that having an instructor watch you ride and give you feed back instantly is one of the best ways to improve as a rider, however not everyone has this option, at least not all the time.

Using your every day technology as riding aids to improve your riding. 

With falling prices of both video and photographic camera’s and ongoing improvements of the camera and video features on most mobile phones and tablets there has never been a better time to use your technology as training aids. 

Richard tells us how.....
Rich alisonxc
Ricahrd says "Having someone video  or take photos as you school or compete your horse can give you vital feed back on your riding. I personally believe that I am not alone in finding that what I think I look like when I am riding and what I actually look like can be quite different"
It is important to remember to look at photos and video's of your self with your cringe button switched off. Most people hate looking at photos of themselves, but you need to learn to look past this and focus on looking at the technical aspects of your riding. 
                                                                                                                                                           Alison Garner
• Are you sitting correctly? 

• Is your leg and foot position good? 

• Is your horse in a nice position? 

• And if it is video, are you moving with your horse? Are you doing things like rowing your shoulders or bouncing your hands?

Having pictures and videos of you riding is always useful and many instructors who have your interests at heart will be more than happy to review your photos and video’s and to give insightful comments and feedback.

You will also be amazed as to how quickly after just a little practice and reading of you phone and tablet instruction manuals you will be able to use your technology quite effectively, a great example of this is playing your I-Pad  video back in slow motion or frame by frame, which is very useful when looking at your jumping position before, during and after a jump. 

If you have a digital SLR camera or a GoPro you can do high-speed multi-shot montages (with a little help from photo editing software) again a great way of seeing how your position moves with the horse’s movement as you take the jump. 

Rich badstride  Rich good stride
                        Poor stride                                                              Good stride

Another key benefit of taking photos or pausing a video at the moment just before your horses' hind legs leave the ground is that you will very quickly start spotting if you were on a good stride or not. If you are on a good stride then you will see that the hoses hind legs are together, so, if the camera is side on you will only be able to see the hind leg nearest to the camera.
If the hind legs are apart then you will see both legs and you will immeditaely see this as a poor stride. This is something that can be easily spotted when doing grid work.

If you have a riding or non-riding partner, friend or parent who can help you when training by videoing you doing a grid, you are immediately in a position to quickly review the footage and see if your horse has its hind legs together on take off, the benefit is that you can then see what is going wrong very quickly and try and put it right with in minutes of viewing your footage.
Rich Katyjump  Rich Beccijump
                   Katy Thomas                                                       Becci Harrold

The technology we all have around us and use on a day to day basis is amazing, but how many of us realize that most of what we hold to our ear, send emails on, snap holiday pictures and place on Face Book can also be used as very effective and cost efficient training aid. All riders improve when given good constructive feed back and the more of it we have access to the better we understand why we have to change something to improve. 

However be warned that if you decide to upload your video on to the internet and ask for comments, you will receive feedback and sometimes it can be unhelpful (if not very rude) comments about your riding and your horse. Do not take these comments to heart; always trust the comments of your instructors and trusted friends above those of random strangers.

Note: The two sequence photos are of eventer Alison Garner and showjumper Katy Thomas. By using the multi-shoot mode on a Pentax digital SLR and then Corel Paint shop Pro to import all the frames and merge them.  It is quite a slow process but gives an effective result.
All images supplied by Richard Neale

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