From Endurance to Dressage
For most of the country, keeping a Pivo Pod dry is probably more of an issue than keeping it cool. If you live in the Southwestern part of the U.S., you know that dry heat with no shade is a common experience for six months out of the year. It's not the Pivo Pod that needs to be kept cool; it's the phone I attach to the Pivo Pod. My arena has some great shaded parts, but they're not in a good location for Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, who gives me lessons through Pivo's Meet feature. Sean likes to be parked at A/C, but the shady spot is at V, the worst place to sit if you're looking for straightness and accuracy.
Over the past couple of years, I've tried a several different things to shade my phone during an hour long Pivo Meet. One of the first things I had to do was get a newer phone. Pivo Meet takes up a lot of processing power, and my iPhone 7 Plus was just not up to the challenge, so i bought an iPhone 12 Pro. The next thing I did was use an umbrella which wasn't very effective. I later created a shade box - see above, which definitely helped. When the shade box wasn't quite enough, I also bought a cell phone cooling device (seen below) which helped tons.
I then went an extra step. I wrapped the shade box in a mylar thermal blanket that did keep my phone even cooler. During the fall, I had intermittent connectivity issues with Sean Cunningham that made lessons really frustrating. With so much rain this winter, I didn't get many lessons, but when we started up again in the early spring, the connectivity issues seemed to have resolved themselves. And then suddenly, the issue reappeared. Both Sean and I checked our data usage, our device settings, and anything else that we could think of. Still the poor connection showed up about every other week.
As I was setting up for a lesson a few weeks ago, I realized my box had seen better days. It was sagging and required some shoring up. I used it one last time and then trashed it when I found a new box. As I was gathering the materials to redo my box, including a new mylar blanket, it occurred to me that the mylar thermal blanket might have been causing a Faraday Cage effect. Sci-fi movie lovers probably know what a Faraday Cage is, but if you're not familiar with the idea, a Faraday Cage is a protective enclosure that prevents certain types of electromagnetic radiation from passing through it.
I ran the idea by the ranch owner who is among other things, a highly educated geologist. After discussing the idea, we both came to the conclusion that the mylar could indeed be blocking a cell phone's low-powered electromagnetic waves (radio waves). While the heat shield box wasn't a true Faraday Cage, it served the same purpose which was to block electromagnetic waves. I tore the mylar blanket off my new box and gave it a try. My next lesson went smoothly with no glitchiness in the connection.
Despite being less than two years old, my iPhone 12 Pro's battery was not charging to full capacity, and if I used it a lot during the day, it ran out of juice quickly. With a European vacation just a week or two away, I opted to trade it in for an iPhone 14 Pro Max. When Sean joined me on Pivo Meet this past Saturday, he was quite happy with both the clarity and connection. With the shade box and the cooling device in place, the lesson went smoothly without a single loss of audio or video.
So, if you build a heat shield, skip the mylar blanket!
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%: