Article Archives

Starting your own colt
Colt Starting Quiz
Problem Horses, part 1
Fear Problems, part 2
Bad Actors, part 3
The Cold Backed Horse
Want to Compete?
Bit Basics
Going Places
Common Sense, Horse Sense
Horsemen's Christmas
Rainy Day Training
Try Something Different!
Green Broke
Resolution Time
Going in Circles
Hot Enough for Ya?
Pleasure or Equitation?
Return to Work Carefully
Saving your "Good Stuff"
Holding Western Reins
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Cold Weather Warm Up
Expect the Unexpected, 1
Expect the Unexpected, 2
Bad Attitude
Horse of a Better Color?
Power of Exercise
Importance of the Herd
Bath Time
Even Up
Choosing a Martingale
A Good Night's Sleep
Alternative Therapies, Part One
Alternative Therapies, Part Two
Get the Most out of a Clinic
Blanket or No Blanket?
Does Practice Make Perfect?
A Change of Pace
The Power of Observation
On Line Horse Trading
The Right Horse at the Right Time
Putting On A Show
Weather Or Not
A Lifetime of Stall Cleaning
Water Obstacles
Who's Your Trainer?
Make a Long Day Easier
A Good Place to Start

Day Easier on Humans too

The Value of Video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video must be worth a million. Watching a video of your ride is one of the best ways I have found to improve one’s horsemanship. By studying the video, we can see our trouble spots as riders, gain an accurate view of how our horses are moving, and diagnose problems with both training and physical movement.

We first started using video years ago, when the smallest camera we could buy actually sat on the videographer’s shoulder and barely held 90 minutes of video. At the time my partner was competing in cutting competitions and there were professional videos taken at all the major shows that one could buy. But we ended up purchasing one for ourselves and using it to tape training sessions and lessons. We also bought a fairly high-end video player. In a fast-paced event such as cutting, having the ability to slow-motion the tape proved beneficial. We could see exactly what was going on, and even discovered problems such as the beginning lameness of one of the cutting horses – a mare who had such desire to hold her cow that she didn’t complain about the fact that she could not bear total weight on one front leg (after seeing her leg wobble and begin to buckle on the video in slow motion, we had the mare x-rayed to find that she was suffering from navicular disease in that hoof.)

Soon we were hauling that big video camera everywhere. I found it invaluable for students, who sometimes were concentrating on so hard on one aspect of their performance that they didn’t realize they were making a mistake elsewhere. Often if I told them after their class that they had done something like lifted their hand and bumped the horse before asking for the lope, they would insist they had not! But I could simply send them home with the video and not have to argue with them about it.

Video cameras have improved a great deal since that shoulder-mounted one … now tiny, lightweight and easy to use, it’s fairly easy to hand it to someone to have them video your ride. And, thanks to the Internet, we can share the video and even get critique from an instructor who may be on the other side of the country! Of course, video has revolutionized how we buy and sell horses. About 15 years ago, we hired a professional videographer to spend a day videoing an expensive horse we had for sale, then we mailed the videos to interested buyers. Now, we can shoot, edit and post or email the video ourselves.

I use video all the time for myself, to see how I look on the horse, and how the horse is moving. I never fail to find some little helpful thing, even it is to realize that the tie on my shirt is bouncing distractingly or that my “bad” leg is creeping forward again. And of course there is simply the fun, archival aspect of having video on our horses. My friend enjoys sharing a video of the first Dressage test she ever rode on her young mare. She gets a laugh watching the youngster weave her way down the centerline, and knowing that she has video of the same mare years later competing at the National Championships. What a great way to preserve our memories of a special horse and a special ride!

Doris Eraldi of Eraldi Training in Potter Valley, specializes in training for all around horsemanship. She can be contacted at 707-743-1337, or by e-mail

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