Horse & Rider: Unbreakable

For my Time Based Media project I had to choose a topic in which I wanted to film and present. I decided to choose a project that demonstrates the bond between a horse and its rider. This project is very personal for me because I, myself, am a horseback rider. I used to work on a horse farm back in my hometown, and I loved every minute of it. My best friend was a horse named Patrick. I still have photographs of him and me displayed in my apartment. A lot of people think horseback riding is all about the horse, that they do all the work. What they don’t know is that that is completely untrue. There is so much that goes into riding that no one that isn’t a horse fanatic can see. All the power of trust and teamwork is through the rider’s thighs, legs, and hands. Not to mention what happens behind the scenes when they aren’t riding. Riders have created great bonds with their horses, whether they own them or not. Without trust, they have nothing. They have to learn to not have fear, because the horse can feel what they can once this bond has formed. I fell off the horse I rode and injured my leg, but I got back up and got back on him and we finished our ride. We can’t give up. Horseback riding is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Yes, it is a sport. It’s in the Olympics. We proudly stand by this.

I met Skylar Sanders through my fiancé’s family. I was in desperate need of a rider to film because in Pittsburgh the weather was not working with me. Thankfully, Skylar happily agreed to help me out. Skylar is 17 years old and rides Dressage. Dressage is the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance. Sometimes people refer to this type of riding as “dancing” since the horse moves in such a beautiful dancing way. Dressage was very new to me considering I have only ridden English jumping, so I had no knowledge of the movements or preparation for this type of riding. In all fun, it was interesting to learn through this project. As I talked with Skylar I had come to find that she has tried many different types of riding, from English to Western and now to Dressage. She has chosen Dressage because it’s challenging, which from my point of view I would say so.

As I talked with Skylar, I learned that she has had Maji for nine years. Maji is a Paint, his coloring being black with a strip of white on his face. I felt such joy and love when I interviewed Skylar because I could see myself in her. The love she has for her horse is just amazing and makes me feel wonderful to know that someone is that passionate about their horse as I was. As we began to shoot I came to find that Maji was quite an interesting horse. He was calm, sweet, and extremely funny.  He cooperated through the whole process very well. He especially loved when my fiancé was trying to record his breathing; he found the microphone to be very fascinating. Throughout the whole shoot, we had a wonderful day, with the exception of a few sprinkles of rain here and there, and I got to spend time where my heart thrives.

Thank you so much Skylar Sanders. You were such a huge help with my project considering it was last minute. I appreciate every little bit of it. There aren’t words to describe how grateful I am that you took time out of your day to help me. I hope you and Maji go far with your Dressage and remember to have fun and live life to the fullest with your horse! The bond between you and Maji will show everyone that a horse isn’t just another animal. The bond between horse and rider is more amazing than a simple friendship. And also, thank you to my fiancé Brian for assisting me with everything, especially with recording the audio. I know you had a lot of fun with that!

Please enjoy some behind the scenes photographs from our wonderful day of filming, a time lapse video where you can view a quick time lapse of us working (you can see me look funny spinning in circles), and of course the FINAL video, Horse & Rider: Unbreakable, that I pieced together. Enjoy!