How you can rapidly improve your cross-country riding – Sponsored by MD Barnmaster


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How you can rapidly improve your cross-country riding – Sponsored by MD Barnmaster

It is easy to have a friend or parent video your dressage and show jumping at an event on a cellphone, tablet, camera, etc. However, unless you bring an entourage of around 20 people (with decent video cameras) to an event and then edit the film footage together, you will not be able to watch your complete cross-country round. Luckily, at most events in North America, there are professional videographers capturing your entire cross-country round. Purchasing the footage is your choice, but something you may want to consider. If you want to take your riding to the next level and help make Eventing a more popular sport, you should purchase as many of your rounds as you can afford.

I am happy staying in dirt-cheap motel rooms at events in order to save some money so I can buy my cross-country rounds. Whether your event went good, bad or ugly, watching yourself and your horse in action is invaluable.

There is a reason professional sports teams review and study their game footage, it makes them all better athletes. Here are four major reasons you need to factor buying your cross-country rounds into your event season budget this year: 

1) A shot of confidence: It is easy to finish cross-country and dwell on all of the mistakes you made, especially if one of your piloting errors cost you some penalty points. However, by watching your riding on cross-country, chances are you will impress yourself. Suddenly, you will go from beating yourself up over missing the distance to the A element of the combination to thinking “Wow I made a quick recovery to jump the B and C elements successfully.” There is nothing wrong with being your biggest critic but you need to balance that by giving yourself credit for your stellar riding moments. I have learned from watching videos of myself riding, that most sticky moments on the course do not look as disastrous as they felt. Never underestimate the importance of confidence in the saddle. Do you ever see Michael Jung heading out of the start box looking tentative? No. Watching some footage of your greatest riding on the lead-up to a big event is an easy way kick your confidence up a notch so you ride like the Terminator.

2) Seeing is feeling: Confidence is a must have and to become a better rider, you need to identify the areas for improvement. Your coach can tell you something thousands of time, however, seeing it for yourself makes it easier to understand. You may think you are doing a great job keeping your shoulders tall when you jump down drops but in reality, you are actually still in front of your horse’s motion. Seeing how far forward you still are sitting will seriously reinforce the fact you STILL need to sit taller. I have had so many lightbulb moments thanks to watching myself in action. Trust me, your coach will thank-you once you start executing what he/she has been trying to explain forever.



3) Unless you have a bionic coach, he/she cannot watch your entire round without seeing the video: Showing your coach your FULL cross-country round will help he/she make you a better rider. For example, perhaps your coach did not see where you had that run out in the back forty so he/she has no way to help you fix it for your next event. Your coach can only improve your riding based on what he/she sees. A critic would not write a movie review after only seeing random snippets of the film. Make sure your coach sees all of your cross-country riding your training is focusing on your weaknesses.

4) Show your friends how awesome you are and grow Eventing: Cross-country is the phase that sets Eventing apart from other Equestrian disciplines and makes it oh-so-awesome. Post your cross-country videos on your social media pages so your horsey and non-horsey friends alike can see your cool sport in its glory. Watching how much fun cross-country is, could be enough for your hunter/jumper friends to jump ship and give Eventing a try. You never know, maybe your non-horsey friends or family members will become interested in supporting your riding career once they see the excitement in action. Broadcasting your cross-country footage all over social media is a super way you can help grow the sport.

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