Unlike other rider biomechanics systems currently available , our innovative blackdogPerformance software measures the body posture of a rider in three dimensions. As well as tracking a rider's movement, it can tell if a rider is tipping forward, dropping a shoulder or twisting their body - all from a single video frame.
We'll say up front that our software won't replace an experienced coach or instructor - but that isn't what it was built to do. The blackdogPerformance system is designed to enhance the learning process, offering riders immediate feedback in a quantitative way that puts a number, rather than an opinion on their performance. Of course riding is an art, and it isn't all down to numbers, but this type of feedback can be invaluable when training, especially when the rider's position has such a significant effect on the horse's way of going.
What does the system do?
In effect the blackdogPerformance system is very similar to a motion-capture studio, just adapted for use in real-world situations (like on a horse in an arena!). The rider is filmed while wearing one of our VMTarget jackets, then that video is run through our software. The result is a three-dimensional model of the rider's upper body movement during the video. From the data, we can draw out key positional metrics, such as asymmetry in the shoulders or the extent to which a rider is tipping forwards, all of which have a direct impact on a rider's influence on the horse's way of going. This data is auto-compiled into a report (see example below, and full example here) and an augmented-reality animation of the rider's movements during the video, as demonstrated in the video above.
Not only does the system allow for a rider's position to be examined from all possible angles, but it can also slow down the action - making sure there's nowhere to hide! Plus, using the rhythmical motion of the rider, the blackdogPerformance system can be used to compare the stride length, regularity and cadence of a horse's paces; giving an insight into the performance of the horse and not just the rider. The rapid (close-to real time) processing speed allows for almost immediate feedback so a rider and coach can use the data to improve performance straight away.
How can I use the blackdogPerformance system?
We're working to make the software available to coaches, instructors and individuals as a download for laptops and as a mobile app.
In the meantime, why not book in on one of our performance sessions for a biomechanics assessment using a local version of the blackdogPerformance system with Dr Ilse Daly.