Tempted to enter an online dressage competition? Chesca Burrows, founder of Demi Dressage, shares her top filming tips so that your test will be judged fairly.

Filming is easy to get right if you pay attention to the three golden rules of online dressage competitions:

  1. Film from just behind the letter C (where the judge would normally be and in line with the centre line).
  2. Film in landscape, not portrait — this means holding your phone on its side. You must also ride and film your test all in one go — don’t stop and start.
  3. Film with the sound on, so the judge can check that the rider is not receiving any training support or outside assistance from the sidelines. That said, online dressage competitions generally allow the use of a caller/test reader — check the rules when you enter.

Remember that the judge can only mark what they see, so try to ensure that you:

  • Keep the horse and rider fully in view in the centre of the frame at all times.
  • Pan to keep them in shot in the corners by using the zoom function, but don’t overdo it — the judge needs to see them in relation to the arena so that they can judge the accuracy of the movements fairly.
  • Consider using a tripod if you have access to one, as this minimises camera shake. If you do hold it by hand, holding it close to your body will help reduce shake.
  • Modern smartphones record at a decent quality, but remember to upload your video in the same quality (ideally HD) too.
  • Check uploads to make sure the video plays all the way through — and to ensure that you haven’t missed out any movements.
  • Try to pick your filming day so that the weather is on side. Driving rain can obscure the judge’s view, plus it’s not pleasant for you or your filming volunteer.
  • Film in natural daylight (outdoors) if you can and be mindful of sun glare or high winds that mean your caller can’t be heard. It’s very much OK to be a fair weather rider when you’re filming for online dressage.