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13 tips to help you nail your online competition footage

With a lack of competitions for us to actually load our horses up for and head to, the world of online competitions has grown in popularity. These offer you the chance to get your competition fix, but without having to travel anywhere as these virtual competitions just require you to submit your entry in video format.

But with this, you are perhaps wondering how to get the best possible film you can to give you the most chance of finishing well-placed in your chosen online competition. So here we offer you some tips and tricks to help you capture the footage of your dreams…

1. You will need a digital camera, phone or iPad capable of recording clear video footage.

2. If you are videoing with your phone or tablet, have the video on landscape orientation.

3. Make sure that you are not videoing directly into the sun — this may mean you need to swap your letters around.

4. If you do not have any letters you could easily make some by painting them on buckets, bollards, laminated card or flower pots for example.

5. Ask the person videoing your test to stand either immediately in front of C with their back to C on the centre line facing A- or if there is room to stand behind C on the centre line facing A- then set the zoom on the camera so the whole of the horse remains in the frame for as much of the arena as possible- with a steady hand ask them to keep the horse in the centre of the view finder and ask them to start videoing a dozen or so strides before the start of the test all the way until after the final halt.

6. Check the rules of each online competition with regards to the regulations on what tack your horse needs to wear or shouldn’t wear and the type of competition gear you need to wear too — some events might not require you to wear show dress.

7. Some competitions do not allow you to use video that has previously been submitted for another event, so check the rules for each competition first.

8. Stand a little further back (if possible) from the arena at C, facing A, so that the judges can see the whole test, if you are taking part in a dressage competition.

9. Standing on a tack box will give a better view of the arena.

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10. Do not stop videoing until at least four seconds after the last halt and salute. If a video is stopped and re-started, it will likely be rejected.

11. Make sure your device has a zoom function as it will be necessary to use this when the horse and rider are at the far end of the arena, but avoid excessive zooming in and out as this can make it hard to watch.

12. Keep the rider and horse in the centre of the frame and in full view of that part of the arena, especially if making a transition by a marker.

13. Set the camera to a high quality setting. Many video formats use compression technologies. The more one compresses the video, the smaller the final file size. While small files are generally good for the web, they are not necessarily good for viewing and can be very blurry or jumpy. The reason is that compression reduces video quality when it is replayed. Jerky or jumpy video movements could lose marks in a dressage competition.

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