The Changing face of sports and equestrian coverage

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"Sport is a preserver of health" HIPPOCRATES

The reason for going to any sports event is to see the action, and be as close to that action as possible. In Horse racing terms, this means not only getting the panoramic views of the entire course and the top shots which show the field positions changing over the furlongs, but also the low angle close ups of 'straining muscles and foam flecked mouths' as the horses gallop past at full stretch, with the jockeys, in the drive position, crouched above them.

"The only decent people I ever saw
at the racecourse were Horses" JAMES JOYCE

Production companies need to consider the merits of far more camera coverage from inside the racecourse/track, where the physical characteristics allow the 'speed and drama' to be displayed through the camera lens.

"We have almost forgotten how strange a thing it is, that so huge and powerful and intelligent an animal as a horse, should allow another and far more feeble animal to ride upon its back."

Live video inserts, sectional and cumulative timing, transponders in saddle cloths are all additional functions which can add greatly to the enjoyment of the sport, and should be standard equipment.

Football coverage has low angle cameras on tracks behind the goals, directly in the path of the goal - scoring ball. And for Horse Racing this is even more important, because it is all about speed - half a ton of muscle galloping at 35mph over fences and 45mph on the flat. It is 'speed' that is horse racing's Jewel in the Crown.

"Horses (Kinematics) – 44% of 3 day eventers change front legs over a fence, 40% hind legs, 52% show jumpers – 17% steeplechasers, and left leg normally leads."

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Likewise other equestrian sports – Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping – have to be aware of showing the viewer exactly what the horses and riders are being asked by the course designers to achieve e.g. if the commentator is talking about the size of a jump/fence, then the camera/graphics have to simulate that height.

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It is totally ineffective to have high cameras looking down onto the arena, or cross country course, other than scene sets, and to be talking about fence heights, distances, water complexes, ditches, doubles or trebles. The commentary bears no resemblance to the pictures, and the viewer will not appreciate the difficulty of the competition and the expertise of the horse and rider.

"There is no secret so close as that between a rider and their horse."

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"If you love something – set it free - if it returns – keep it and love it forever."

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