• Crystal Forsell

6 Reasons to Try a Virtual Horse Show

Reasons to Try a Virtual Show and 3 Handy Tips!


Just a few months ago, virtual horse shows were mostly ignored. Then, overnight, they became a thing. They are everywhere. Last week I judged my first virtual show, from the comfort of my home office at C. It was a fun experience and now I have reasons why everyone should consider submitting a video in a virtual show.


  1. No hauling out. If you have far to go to get to a show, or a horse that is not a good loader yet, no problem, you do this from home!

  2. Not that I condone dirty tack, but it really can’t be seen in the video. If the idea of spending the better part of the afternoon preparing all your tack and braiding for a 6-minute ride doesn’t appeal to you, virtual shows might be your thing!

  3. No waiting for the two days before for your ride times, feel like riding as soon as the sun is up, go for it! Need to ride after work, that’s awesome too!

  4. Many of the shows are going to benefit non-profits that lost their regular funding opportunities due to COVID-19.

  5. A great way to get feedback on your riding while we are just emerging from being stuck at home.

That was the obvious part. Here is what I learned from being at C.


6. If feedback is what you’re after (and it should be) there is a good chance you might get more from a virtual show. When judging a live show, the judge has precious little time to pull out the most important critique of a movement and phrase it in a way that the scribe has space and time to write all down in a tiny box, before moving to the next tiny box. I found myself able to give my riders much more help in a virtual show. Some of them got short stories on the front of their tests and novels for the further remarks! Some shows even have the option for extensive critiques with more pointers.


If you decide to do a virtual show, here are some handy tips to get the best video, because we can’t judge what we can’t see.


  1. Do use a tripod! Do not make your video look like Blair Witch Project. Even the steadiest hand is still a little shaky. It makes looking for things like rhythm just a little harder. Those that were filmed with a tripod were so much better.

  2. Zoom. It’s not just for meetings. Have your videographer zoom in tight enough that you’re mostly in the picture, but you can still see both sides of the arena. If you are using a phone to film, handy tip is put a small piece of tape in the center of the phone to help follow the rider and keep them in the center.

  3. If you have an outdoor arena, use it. If you have a dark horse in a dark arena and no zoom, I just can’t see as much. Videos that were outside were much better. When you have a dark roof and the background is blown out white from the light outside, the figure you’re filming gets a little lost.


Most of all, enjoy the learning opportunity brought to your own arena by technology!

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Leander, TX​​

Tel: 510.432.7758

crystal@crystalforselldressage.com

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© 2018 by Crystal Forsell