Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Even during the festive season I enjoy refining my training even while not riding (whether that’s because I’ve enjoyed too much Christmas cheer Christmas Eve or too much Christmas cheer Christmas night).
As a visual person I’ve always found watching videos of other riders very educational, particularly competition videos. Riders such as Ingrid Klimke, Doug Payne and Lainey Ashker post wonderful at home training videos which I recommend to anyone, however I particularly find the competition ones useful as you get to see the riders acting and reacting in high pressure situations.
It’s then you can see where the training pays off, for the athlete both horse and rider. For example, we all know in order to stay safe in cross country you need your heels down and eyes up. However, watching Michael Jung’s horse leave a leg at the coffin and see his reactions both physically and mentally inspire me to react the same way in the same situation.
Personally I am a “monkey see, monkey do” kind of person, meaning the first thing that comes to my mind is to copy someone else I’ve seen successfully handle the same situation.
When choosing which rider to watch I take into account my body type and natural riding style and then selecta similar, more successful rider. Personally, I love watching Ingrid Klimke ride cross country. I also watch a lot of Beezie Madden show jumping rounds then do my best to emulate their skills. Jessie Phoenix also has a great style in the show jumping that any small rider would want to copy.
Videos also give you a close up of different horse emotions and thought processes. You get to see just how they react and think while adrenalised, which helps when selecting a young horse for the upper levels, as many horses don’t change their natural response to high pressure situations.
I began to obsessively watch horse videos when I was 10 years old and over the years I’ve noticed many of the more successful horses have bright, relaxed eyes and very quick foot work and a strong desire to get to the other side of the fence.
This is one of my favourite videos of Beezie: