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Having fun with this… December 27, 2011

Posted by mikeschaffer in balance, calmness, contact, dressage, looseness, Riding, training.

With all the details and rules, arguments and schools of thought, it’s easy to forget that training your horse is supposed to be fun. I’ll go one more and say if you’re not having fun with it, neither is your horse and chances are there is no progress being made. Well, I’m having fun with my horse and with my new video camera, software, and computer upgrade. This video shows all 3 in action.

First you can see how nicely my horse is warming up in the long unedited stretch at the beginning. Putting up a “warm-up” is unusual to say the least, but the absence of good warm-up videos has resulted in an absence of good warm-up strategies. That’s really a shame as the science of the warm-up is key to being able to get on to the training. Now I understand that many people will say I warm up my horse all wrong – well that’s great! Let’s see how they go about it and everybody benefits in the end.

You also see what the camera “sees” in the first minute or so. After that, you see what I’m doing with the new software and why I needed a computer upgrade (and hi-def camera) to render the final video I put up on youtube – it’s pretty awesome since the ability to pan and zoom after the fact means I can set up the camera on a tripod on any day and time I want, ride in front of it and make it what you see later that night, at home in front of the computer. I’ve been wanting a system like this for 35 years or so – however long it’s been since I bought my first shoebox size VCR and realized that now all I needed was someone to operate it while I rode in front of it.  Now the wait is over, I have the ultimate mirror and I get to set it to music of my choice – cool.

In the first section you see my horse working long and “low” in frame and energy, although it looks more energetic on the screen than it felt when riding – very useful to be able to see that. The second part is the 2nd stage of warm-up, more energy but not all the pieces are there yet.  Looking at it, I sometimes see moments of an increase in tension along with the increase in energy, and I also see moments of brilliance – especially in the shoulder-in at the 4:50 mark. It’s wonderful to be able to see this, it tells me I have to continue to ask for the relaxation and the energy in ways that don’t make him lazy or tight. This is the challenge we all face all the time with all the elements of making our horses.


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