From Endurance to Dressage
A Virtual World (Pivo!)
Over the weekend, I tried to re-watch the Sandra Bullock movie, The Net, but it just didn't ring true enough for me to finish it. It's from 1995, so the techno-jargon was more than a little dated. If you haven't seen it, Bullock's character, Angela Bennett, stumbles onto a conspiracy. She's a hacker, so to prevent her from revealing what she has discovered, her identity is erased. Since she works from home and has no friends in real life, no one believes she is who she says she is. You can figure out what happens next.
Some of the movie is pretty prophetic though. There is a scene where she orders a pizza online - that was not even a possibility back in 1995 and probably not even available in 2005. Like Angela, I find that I am living more and more in a virtual world. As we did last year, my students are once again enrolled in my virtual classroom. While I have briefly met some of them, our relationship is being nurtured through the chat feature in Google Meet/Zoom, the Canvas Inbox (a type of email), and Parent Square (a Facebook-like interface).
I've mentioned before that I am the vice-chairperson for the Tehachapi Mountain Chapter of the California Dressage Society, my USDF Group Member Organization. We now run our monthly meetings in-person for those who choose to attend and virtually via Zoom for those members who either don't live nearby (me) or who don't want to meet in person.
Over the weekend, Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, gave me another lesson virtually. While we've tried before, this time, it went perfectly. For our first attempt at using Pivo Meet, we did it at STC Dressage during an in-person lesson just so we could trouble shoot. For the second attempt, my iPhone over-heated before the lesson really even got going, so we tried again the next day. That worked for most of an hour, but again, my iPhone over-heated.
I bought a new phone, and we scheduled another lesson. The Friday night before, I got a notification that I was nearly out of data, so I had to cancel the lesson. It took a full week, but I was finally able to upgrade to a plan with unlimited data, so Sean and I agreed to meet virtually on Saturday morning. With a brand new iPhone 12 Pro, unlimited data, and an umbrella to keep my phone from over-heating, I was ready.
To my relief, everything worked perfectly! For those who may be considering doing virtual lessons, here's a run down on what you'll need.
Launching a Pivo Meet:
It helps to have some experience launching virtual meetings, but if you're brand new to Zoom-like calls, you'll be able to figure it out.
At the end of the lesson (more on that in a day or two), Sean and I discussed the technology. We both felt like the iPhone 12 Pro gave us a better experience than we had with the iPhone 7 Plus. The video and audio worked seamlessly. We didn't have the delay that we had seen and heard with my old phone. Our communication felt instant and we could both hear without any delay or lag time. From Sean's end, he reported that the Pivo tracked me perfectly without losing me once. I couldn't see the video of course, so I don't know how well he could actually see me, but he didn't have any complaints.
That evening, I checked my data usage. Since the new plan had only gone into effect on Friday evening, I was able to see approximately how much data the Pivo Meet took. My hour long Pivo Meet used 1GB of data. My old plan was for 5 GB of data, so it's clear that plan had to go. If you're planning on doing Pivo Meet lessons, check into how much data your plan allows.
Overall, Pivo Meet is going to save me a ton of money. Diesel is currently $4.00 a gallon, and at 13 miles per gallon, that comes to $80 in diesel for each lesson. The Pivo itself cost $170 (case, remote, and extender thing) and the Powerbeats were another $80. I also bought a tripod for $24. I did buy a new phone and a pricier data plan, but I would have done that anyway. I've had the Pivo Pod for nearly a year and used it long before I even thought of doing a virtual lesson. Even so, my expenses come to $275. I've taken two virtual lessons that didn't require any traveling or diesel, and after the next lesson or two, what I've invested in equipment will pay for itself.
If you're thinking of giving Pivo meet a try, my advice is to go for it!
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: