I’m a big fan of internet learning. In this day and age, it is possible to learn about nearly anything on the internet, and video seems to be the number one format. From YouTube to LinkedIn Learning, knowledge has never been so accessable. Even top colleges now have online courses, and sometimes even complete programs that provide certifications upon completion.
But is it possible to improve your riding from videos?
wehorse, a subscription based equestrian training platform thinks so. It is an online library of over a hundred horse related videos. They promise easy explanations, top trainers, and solutions to your problems, all with the wellbeing of the horse in mind.
There are 175 videos currently in the library. Their individual length ranges from 8 minutes, to an hour and a half. The most common length I saw seems to be about 15 – 25 minutes.
New videos are released on a weekly basis. wehorse watches what is popular with their subscribers, and creates content specifically for them. The videos are well produced, with clear visuals and audio, and english voiceover for trainers speaking other languages.
The strength of wehorse comes from the diversity in the selection of videos. There are videos on everything from dressage to working equitation to natural horsemanship, all taught by true experts in their respective fields. There are really big names, like Dr. Reiner Klimke, and up-and-comers, like dressage rider Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, who won team gold at Tryon last year. Her videos include holistic approachs to “Dressage Riding Philosophy in Daily Work”, and “Management and Health of the Horse.
The videos are organized by topic, and they include Dressage, Showjumping & Eventing, The Rider, Training Series, Riding Styles, Ground Work, Health & Care, Breeding, and Various. Under Dressage, which admittedly has the largest grouping of subsections, topics include:
- Young horse training
- Basic Training
- Further Work
- Pre Novice & Novice Levels
- Intermediate & Advanced Level
- Walk Training
- Warm Up Work
- Stretching Posture
- Short Turn/Walk Pirouette
- Half & Full Halts
- Posture & Bend
- Dressage Figures
- Lateral Movement
- Solving Problems
- Rein Back
- Counter Canter
- Flying Changes
- Canter Pirouette
- Piaffe & Passage
- Competition Preparation
- Canter Work
- Old Master
- Trot Work
- Training Scale
Interesting topics that I would not have thought to ask for include “Dressage Training in Windy and Noisy Conditions.” It’s something I have found difficult in the past (general riding in those conditions) but I would not have thought to research it.
The videos go beyond the theortical approach. For example, there are numerous videos on the halt – what a successful one feels like, exercises, and methods to improving the halt.
There are videos on selecting the correct horse, and developing an eye for evaluating horses. I found those very interesting, as it’s not something that a trainer usually goes over during a lesson (at least not in any depth), and just looking at pictures in a book or online is not the same as seeing in motion how the conformation effects movement, while getting a thorough explanation of exactly what I’m seeing. Although the women riding on her horse while putting on makeup was peculiar. Wasn’t even sure what I was seeing there. Of all the things in the video, how could they show that and not explain it? The voiceover says “Horses have never been more important for sport or recreation,” so maybe putting on makeup while riding is recreation? The rest of the video is completely serious, so I don’t think it’s an attempt at humor. Maybe there’s a reasonable explanation?
(I think I about died laughing at that point. Rest of the video was great though, very informative.)
While the website is clean and readable, there’s no function for searching. To find a video, you would need to search through the categories, and then search through the videos in that category.
Additionally, there’s no way to mark favorite videos, or a quick way to access your video history. I know I often mark a favorite video, and then refer back to it later. It could be difficult to refer back to the exact video, especially if the title doesn’t refer to the reason you bookmarked the video (ex. title is “The Correct Riding Rhythm,” and you want to refer back to an exact exercise in it. Since the exercise isn’t in the title, you’d have to remember the exercise was in that specific video, with possibly other videos with similar titles.)
There are also many videos that are part of a series. It would be nice if I was able to log into the site and the next video in the series already be queued up, like a watch list. Again, the only way to get back to the video is to go through the categories and search the videos manually.
I don’t have fast internet (which is not the fault of wehorse), but there’s no way to change the quality of the video myself. The quality of the video is changed automatically by wehorse. While this would be great if my internet is only being used by me, to watch wehorse, I’m sharing it with another person, sometimes multiple people, and it would be nice if I could alter it myself, as sometimes I need to give up my bandwidth for other, more important uses of the internet (he claims he needs it to work. I guess that’s kind of important).
I did bring up my concerns with wehorse, and they are very responsive in addressing them. They are working on creating a new front end design for accessing the videos. There will be more features for the user when that is rolled out. Unfortunately the unchanging video quality seems to be a feature, so maybe it’s only me that has issues with it.
Overall, this is an excellent resource on horses and riding. The variety of videos is great, while at the same time being focused enough that they are useful to anyone in involved with sporthorses. I like that the videos feature many different experts, so there’s a variety of opinions and methods, and not just a single viewpoint.
I think overall the information presented would be very useful to supplement an equestrian education – the theories, the exercises, and the horsemanship explanations are comprehensive. With so much misinformation that is on the internet, it’s refreshing to get a front row seat to the experts’ opinions.
wehorse subscriptions are $26.93/month, or $16.12/month if you subscribe for a full year.