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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Forsell

How to track your horse’s progress– tips for photographing your horse

Updated: May 30, 2023

How often do you take conformation type photos of your horse?

I think these photos are so important, especially if you are beginning a training or rehab program.

When we see our horses every day, it can be difficult to see the little changes that happen and you may miss something.

Tracking progress over time will allow you to catch a problem faster if part of their development is beginning to head in the wrong direction.

Likewise, you’ll be able to see more easily if something is going well.

Also important is you’ll have photos to show your vet or bodyworker to get their guidance.

It is very important that you take the photos in a certain way to get the most benefit.

Here are my top tips on taking 4 kinds of photos!

General tips:

  • Take them in the same place every time, and if possible at the same time of day you have similar lighting.

  • You’re lookin

g for a level piece of ground with preferably less going on in the background if possible.

  • Aim to take new photos every 2-6 weeks. I prefer 2 weeks if you are in a rehab project. At a minimum take photos in the middle of every season. You can use the equinox and solstice to remind you.

What photos to take:

  • Side on conformation

    • I like to allow the horse to pick their own stance naturally. You’ll notice this will change over time.

    • Either photograph both sides or I always pick the side without the mane

    • Be careful with the angle and try to be as straight as possible. Whatever is closest to the

camera is going to look bigger.

  • From the front

    • Show the feet up to the chest.

    • Get the horse as square as possible, especially the front.

    • Angles are everything here! You have to kneel down and hold your phone down low to get the feet and legs from straight ahead. If you hold your phone from up above,

the horse will look like the toes are super long.

  • The back from above

    • This one is tricky to get the same angle every time.

    • It’s helpful to use a step stool, especially if the horse is tall

    • Make sure the horse is square as possible and the handler keeps the neck straight, otherwise it may look like the horse is crooked even if he isn’t.

  • From behind

    • Make sure you have the camera straight

    • Hind legs square

Over time, you will be able to see the progress. Getting stuck? Get some schooling ideas with Dressage To Go! On Demand audio lessons to inspire your rides and crush your arena boredom!


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