Virtual Lessons

I’m seeking some help for virtual lessons.

I do not have a Pivo and that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I do have a loyal camera holder.

We tried Google Duo and there’s something wrong with that program where it’s super blurry, googled but found no fix.

Zoom is only 40 minutes for free, and I’m not making my trainers pay for it.

What about Facetime or Skype? Do any programs let you zoom?

From what I have heard from coaches, other programs just dont offer the clarity needed to accurately do a live dressage lesson.

What other programs are they talking about?

These tools Skype, teams, etc, don’t let you zoom and the delay in sending and receiving data render the approach almost useless.

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I seem to recall several trainers using FB messenger video calling for remote lessons during the lockdowns last year, maybe test that out. I don’t know of any video chats that have zoom capabilities.

But, usually transmitted video quality is somewhat tied to cell service strength (or wifi), so if you’re not getting very good service in the arena it’s going to send crappy video no matter what you use. And obviously the limitations of your phone camera factor in, as well.

Could you have the person stand in the middle of the arena so then they just have to turn around? And then have audio on a Bluetooth speaker?

Would it be possible to have someone record your ride and then have your trainer add in their comments later as voiceover? It wouldn’t be a real time lesson but would still be feedback. Don’t know if that is possible through a YouTube upload or if you have to use some other video editing software.

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I did something like this for my coach. Her coach would call her on her phone (sometimes we used Zoom for the audio, as she could Zoom in from the computer if necessary) which she would have on her person and use headphones for the audio, and then her coach would FaceTime me from her iPhone or iPad, as I was the human tripod. I wouldn’t say this was an ideal setup, but it got the job done.

Free Zoom meetings between two people don’t have time limits. The 40-minute limit is only if you have more than two people in the meeting.

If for some reason, you need to have more than two people, only one of the participants needs a paid account. So your trainer wouldn’t have to pay for it. You would and would set up the meetings- they would login for free. The basic paid Zoom account is $15/month.


There is also open source options that are free. Try Nextcloud or Jitsi meet. It’s a pretty decent software and offers pretty darn good video. Your connection is the most important in that aspect as Google meet is also free.

Not sure about the zooming in part. I know that would have to be tested.

I have used Skype while my coach was in Florida. I used my CeeCoach synced with my phone so i could hear. We had a good internet connection, which was very helpful. I tried once with cell only and the picture quality was pretty poor.

The delay was not really a big problem for me. We didn’t work on the 2s or the 1s, as it was enough of a delay and the 1s were new to me and the horse, but it was fine for everything else!

Chiming in to say this is absolutely not true. I’ve made huge progress (2nd/3rd level) with weekly virtual lessons since March and have also done virtual show warm-ups which worked great. It works so well it almost tricks my brain into thinking my trainer is there, the work is just as difficult and she doesn’t miss anything. There is a slight delay, but as @Dutchmare433 said, unless you’re working on like 1s and 2s it won’t matter.

Pivo and Skype are my trainer’s preferred apps and both have worked almost flawlessly for me even in indoor arenas (over cell signal, never had access to WiFi). I do believe you can zoom in Skype.

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oh that’s great to hear! How do you film it when you use skype? Does someone hold it and zoom or?

Yeah someone holds it if you’re using Skype. I wear one wireless Bluetooth earbud and the videographer wears the other so my trainer can tell them if they need to move or something. I generally don’t have another person around at home, so I use Pivo for lessons and Skype at shows where Pivo is not a good fit (and where I have other people around to video for me).

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and use the wireless headphones for pivo also? How does your trainer connect to the pivo?

Yeah the wireless headphones just connect to my phone which is connected to the Pivo, works just like a phone call. My trainer clicks a link that I text to her to enter the Pivo room which opens in the Pivo Meet app on her device (I think she uses an iPad for more screen real estate than a phone has).

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Thanks for the info…I was under the impression the PIVO wasn’t able to do that so thats great to hear. Much cheaper than a PIXIO :sweat_smile:

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Thanks so much! I think I settled on Skype and we’re going to do a dry run before bothering my poor trainer.

I’ve been having lessons through Zoom on my iPhone for about a year now. I use AirPods and personally wear both since I’m at a quiet, private barn. I just use a flexi tripod to fasten my phone to the arena gate and try to get as much of the arena as possible in the shot.

There are a couple of blind spots this way but I just ensure that if we’re working on something specific (like a transition) that I place it where my coach can see it.

There is no delay as long as my coach doesn’t have her video camera on (which means she can see me but I can’t see her) and with the earbuds it’s almost nicer than in person since no one needs to yell.

It’s definitely a low tech way to do it but I don’t have anyone willing to give up an hour to video me on a regular basis and because my barn is way out in the country the signal isn’t good enough for the Pivo to work.