My first Freestyle with a wee bit of Scotland in it!

DIY Freestyle

I have always loved watching Freestyles. Dressage and Para-Dressage, makes no difference. It is the most beautiful form of our sport! It has always been my dream to dance with my Maestoso Madam our very own Freestyle. This dream came true this summer when we went to Para-Dressage Finnish Championships!

I really would have wanted and needed help of professional coach or a trainer on how to conduct my floor plan. I hoped I would have had the opportunity to order my music from a professional. When a professional who is specialized to Freestyle music creates the music it can be close to perfect. For example the music can build up and highlight medium trot and canter and so on. I already had one in mind I wanted to do the music with.

But when you are really struggling with your pennies you're going to have to do these things yourself. Even though it's not as expensive as one would think to have your perfect music made by pro.

So when I started to make my own Freestyle I took the best advice that works almost with anything: KISS! - Keep it simple stupid! And be smart with your music selection.

I only picked the mandatory movements from the Grade IV Freestyle and kept the choreography very simple and symmetric. So I didn't add difficulty at all for this first ever Freestyle I created. Also I had to keep it really symmetric and simple because I didn't know could I have Vaula as my Commander when I ride the Freestyle.

I also had bit of a challenge when it comes to practicing my Freestyle. We have 30 x 50 m riding area at the barn where Masu lives. Freestyle is ridden 20 x 60 m arena. I had to ride most of the movements so that I didn't go all the way to A. Only at the end I rode all the way to that other end. I really needed to ride couple of times my Freestyle with music before the big competition. And this was the only way.

Choosing perfect music for the Freestyle

Fun part! Choosing the most perfect music for you and your horse. Music should really mean something to you and if it gives you bit of Goosebumps you know you're on the right track. Quite literally. I have known for years that if ever I find myself in a situation of making my own Freestyle I most definitely want to have a Scottish twist. When I did my working placement in Scotland I left a piece of my heart there and in return I carry Scotland in my heart for the rest of my days.

This is the place I took everyone with my music. I have taken these photos myself. Iconic Eilean Donan Castle and a view from Isle Of Skye

    

 

So it happened that I found my perfect music composed by Bear McCreary. All the tracks I used are from Outlander season 1 Soundtrack. I got a great tip from fellow Para Dressage rider Jessica Kerttunen that you can combine and edit the music with Windows Movie Maker and I have to say it was easier than I expected. With Movie Maker you create WMA-file and you can convert the file to MP3 with simple instructions that can be found here.

The only thing that's wrong with using music in any form nowadays is copyright issues. It's a freaking jungle out there when you are trying to find out can you upload your video of your freestyle to YouTube. According to Teosto (The copyright organization for composers, lyricists, arrangers and music publishers) you can! When it's for "private" non-commercial use. It's so annoying that all of the tracks I had can be found on YouTube but if you combine them and use them in your sport you cannot upload a version where music is audible according to some sources. Even the copyright owners seem a bit clueless when it comes to use generated content.  But I'm leaning towards Teosto's guidelines and following them.

To be on the safe side I could make a tutorial about creating a Freestyle and that way it would fit the Fair use criteria. I'm just not sure if it's worth the work. Would there be enough interest to make all the work worthwhile? So far so good and my Freestyle with the music have been on my YouTube Channel but just in case Teosto was wrong and it will disappear I will give the link to the version  where the music is the wind blowing 8 m/s and gusting away much harder all the time.

I will add the links to tracks I used as well. And here is description what I took from the tracks:

  • First of all I took 20 seconds from the intro of Main Theme /Skye Boat Song for the entry in walk and used again 10 seconds from the intro at the end when I came to my final halt and salute.
  • After the first halt and salute I started in Trot and The Marriage Contract was perfect music for that. I used the whole track.
  • I made the transition to walk with vocals you can hear at the time 00'18 when listening Dance of the Druids. I shortened the walk music a bit and you can hear at 1'23 when I made transition to trot and first canter stride was spot on to the beat you can hear at 1'33. At 2'55 of Dance of the Druids I made transition from canter to walk and following that was the ten seconds of Skye Boat Song and I was singing out load "Sing me a song of lass that is gone oh say could that lass be I" when I came to the final halt and salute.

 

The music was whole from start to finish. It painted a picture and really worked. I couldn't be happier about my very first Freestyle music!

Here is my floor plan with all the movements I did:

A Enter in medium walk, halt, salute, proceed in collected trot

C left

H-B Medium trot

P-V Half circle

E-H Shoulder-in right (collected trot)

M-E Medium trot

V-P Half circle

B-M Shoulder-in left (collected trot)

Transition to medium walk

Half circle in extended walk

Medium walk

Transition to collected trot

H  collected canter

S-V Medium canter

K Half circle returning to track in counter canter

Counter canter

S-H Change of canter lead through 3-5 trot steps

R-P Medium canter

F Half circle returning to track in counter canter

Counter canter

R-M Change of canter lead through 3-5 trot steps

S Half circle (10 m) transition to walk

G Halt, salute