Rider Review: Cambox Isis


When I was in TX last month I invested in my first helmet cam – Cambox Isis. I could never get on board with the GoPros because I hated the way they looked strapped onto helmets. Additionally it seemed kinda unsafe to have something else attached to the outside of a device that is supposed to protect my brain? That was my justification anyways!

Price: $230 – $290 – at this price it is a decent amount more than the base GoPro but better value in my eyes


My initial thoughts are that this thing is so small. It is very low profile and pretty impossible to see when you are actually on the horse.

As far as specs go the Cambox has 5MP resolution and a 4GB memory card. The battery life can record approx 1.5 hrs of video. I have personally tried this though and would probably opt to turn the camera on and off for a longer school or if I was say using this in a group lesson.

I think that when comparing to a GoPro of comparable price it has the same 5MP camera and honestly even if the image is slightly lower quality (I personally am satisfied) than other options I wouldn’t buy a bulkier camera instead. I love that this is a pretty true 1st person perspective.
Barely visible if you don’t know what to look for am I right?
It is also really lightweight so there is nothing weighing down the helmet either. Dover doesn’t offer any of the fun colors below but if you want the camera to stick out or just like colorful things then you could buy from a different retailer.


Application is about as easy as you would imagine. There is an included strip of velcro which you apply to the brim of your helmet. Once the camera is charged you are good to go. If you have a friend that wants to borrow your camera you could simply have them buy some velcro strips and boom you are in business. It took me a little while to get used to the light indicator that you can see when the helmet/ camera is on but pretty much when the camera is on it is recording when it is off it is not. I am still playing with the angle of the camera but I am confident that I will be able to figure it out and the the optimal view before our next event. Unfortunately I forget to turn it on more often than I actually have used it but now that I have the swing of things hopefully I won’t blank and forget to turn it on. 

Annie – Chatt Hills BN Stadium from Hillary McMichael on Vimeo.

Bottom Line:

I would buy this again in a heartbeat. It is small, easy to operate, and provides good quality images. I would definitely say that anyone that has been considering investing in a helmet cam should consider this one at the top of their list! Check out Amanda’s thoughts on the Cambox Isis from a few months ago if you want another opinion.

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2016 Q2 Goal Review 

As I look back on the goals that I roughly set for us at the beginning of the year I am constantly amazed by my sweet little ginger.

Same as last goal review The things that we have succeeded at or at least worked on are bolded. Those things that we failed at or been unable to attempt are striked out

I am also going to be adding some new goals as well as goals Houston at the end that I will review as the year progresses.

img_0963 Me:

  • Riding
    • Take lessons 2x a week ideally (at least 1x/week or 4x/month)
    • Learn how to do hunter braids
    • Jump around 3’6 course confidently
    • Show over 3′ (if a lease is available to do so) I did end up showing .9M though!
    • Quieter seat and upper body
    • Be more positive about progress
    • Track horse spending (board, farrier, vet, lessons, shopping, etc) this proved to be incredibly depressing and I fell off the wagon
    • HAVE FUN!
  • Personal
    • Workout 2x a week (outside of the saddle) 100% fail
    • Eat out less /do better at meal planning  yes and no but overall not a success
    • Lose 20lbs throughout the year (weekly weigh ins – #goalbreeches) Ground zero here…
    • Read at least 1 book a month It is hard to read when I am traveling every other weekend it seems
  • New Goals
    • Camp at remaining events
    • Record XC walks in CourseWalk


  • Teach her leg yields/ shoulder fore
  • Smoother transitions
  • Practice controlled lead changes
  • Jump 2′ courses
  • Go to at least 2 schooling shows
  • Go trail riding off property at least 1x
  • Self load/unload on trailer
  • Tie to trailer
  • Improve Ground Manners
    • Increase patience with farrier
    • Crosstie trustworthiness
  • Keep things fun!
  • New Goals
    • Score below a 40 on a dressage test
    • Continue to run double clear at remaining events (3 or so this year)
    • Ride in dressage saddle 1x a week to hopefully start showing in it by end of year


  • ride min of 2 days a week
  • improve ground manners
  • teach to self load on trailer

Because I wasn’t very aggressive and didn’t set any new goals at the end of Q1 I guess that our progress was approximately the same. That said Annie has been to 3 horse trials, 1 rated HJ show, to visit Beka (trail riding, xc schooling, and beach adventures), and is better every day. Slow and steady wins the race and so far I see Annie as a mega win! It is intoxicating how fun she is in all the things we choose to take on.

How have things been going for all of you? Making progress against goals?

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Well Dressed Horse

It is no secret to anyone that has been a part of the equestrian world that tack is not only essential to the sport but also goes through waves of trends. I am going to talk about some of the things that most of us probably see often in our sport regarding tack use that are really easy fixes. And no I don’t mean that anyone has to go buy the nicest or most expensive stuff. I personally see tack as a long term investment so I spend a bit more but regardless of your tack budget your horse can still be turned out respectfully for daily rides. Not rocket science just basic horsemanship in my eyes.

I am going to insert pics from various blogger instagrams to show awesome examples of what I am talking about (in that the pics show great turnout 🙂 ). And it will share a bunch of instagrams that you all should be following if you aren’t yet!

(ETA: I didn’t post incorrect examples because I don’t want to personally take pictures of each item – I will try to find examples online though and can link to them.)

The basic essentials are usually the bridle and saddle fittings. The most common things that we’ll see with bridles are:

saggy or tight browbands 

Handsomest squirrel ears around. #coconino #usea #jogup #eventing #N3D #psofsweden #thoroughbred #ottb #naturalhorse

A photo posted by Amanda Chance (@the900facebookpony) on


high or low hanging bits

A photo posted by Katherine Mackin (@khmackin) on


no snaffle rein on pelham, gag, and elevator bits

A photo posted by L. Williams (@voidivi) on


improper placement of keepers on full cheek snaffles

A photo posted by Olivia (@hellomylivia) on


high or low nosebands 

For saddles there are a lot of elements. I think that a lot of people over look how important it is to have the right pads and saddle/pad placement (after of course a properly fitting saddle). If your saddle is sitting on the edge or over your pads you are inadvertently creating an uneven pressure point.

saddle fit (not touching this)

girth adjustment (some horses need anatomical girths or something offset)

A photo posted by Jenifer Slabaugh (@j_alean) on

A few of my favorite things. #relativelystable #cwd #mattes

A photo posted by Kristen M. (@stampyandthebrain) on


saddle and pad placement

A photo posted by Stephanie (@hand_gallop) on


saddles too large for pads (pressure points on the spine)

A photo posted by Karen M (@patentlybay) on

pads not adequately pulled into the gullet of saddle (pressure on withers)

A photo posted by bekaburke (@bekaburke) on

Thanks to all the awesome ladies I linked to for dressing for the occasion day in day out 😉 And posting awesome sauce pics too. It isn’t that hard to have your horse look well dressed regardless of what things you own, lust for, or don’t have. All of these things are just basic horsemanship in my eyes but I guess I can run with Monica’s hashtag and say that we should all have a little #tackpolice in us!

How about you guys? How do you feel about daily turnout? Doesn’t matter? Act like you’re riding for GM daily?

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Weekend Wrap Up: PWP

This weekend was very laid back on the riding front. The highlight was definitely getting to go to Percy Warner Parks for the first time to explore the horse friendly trails. A barn friend went with me and rode Annie as her horse was a shoeless wonder. I rode Houston who was a little bit of a drama llama about the experience. Overall it was a great weekend outing though and will hopefully help Houston realize he can infact survive going off farm! 

Annie wasn’t impressed with her post ride bath

Cant wait to get back out there again!

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Chatt Hills HT July 2016: Day 2

It isn’t a secret that Annie is a little super star. Probably in spite of me but the past couple of months she has grown up so much and this past weekend I felt like it all came together for us.

Yesterday I shared about dressage and stadium. Today is all about cross country. AKA my new favorite phase.

River Glen was a blast and a half but a very soft course. Chatt Hills was still pretty friendly but there were some slightly more technical BN questions (a jump 1 stride from the water for instance).

Annie – Chatt Hills BN XC from Hillary McMichael on Vimeo.

For the first time ever I was legitimately excited for cross country. I knew that Annie would be honest and game and knowing that she was going to attack all of the fences with gusto made for an amazing run. I am so excited to get back out at River Glen HT in a few weeks.

I finally understand why people love cross country and I have Annie to thank for it!

the horse show hangover is real


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Chatt Hills HT July 2016: Day 1

After an amazing week at TIEC we headed down to Fairburn, GA for another weekend of adventure but this time eventing style.

IMG_0184With Houston my strongest phase was always Dressage with Stadium and XC being my struggle bus phases. Now with Annie our dressage leaves a lot of room for improvement and the OF phases are where we really shine. I am actually really grateful for this as I am confident that with more time Annie and I will get the flat work figured out.IMG_0338

The weeks following our last horse trial were spent working on getting more consistent flat work and slowly but surely we are getting longer moments of connection and relaxation in a sea of tension and resistance.IMG_0323We did see a lot of improvement but unfortunately that wasn’t reflected in our dressage test which was still inconsistent. We earned a score of 42.3 which landed us 12th place (aka last place) going into stadium.IMG_0350

Because Annie is the best little horse ever we were double clear in stadium and moved up 2 places for 10th place going into stadium.

The photographer was awesome but takes longer than I am used to to process pictures so I probably won’t get to share those for about 2 weeks. Not a big deal just not the usual 2-3 day turnaround or instant gratification that most HT togs provide.

@equestrianathart and me waiting for @khmackin to finish warming up. #chatthillseventing

A photo posted by bekaburke (@bekaburke) on

Luckily one of my favorite people made the trek from southern GA on Saturday and got some good shots of us! 🙂IMG_0365

Last but certainly not least I finally remembered to use my cambox! I still need to play with the positioning a bit but now you all can see just how fun Annie is jumping too!

Annie – Chatt Hills BN Stadium from Hillary McMichael on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for the XC video tomorrow 🙂

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TIEC Summer 2 Recap

Last week Annie and I spent time at the Summer 2 horse show at the new Tryon International Equestrian Center. HOLY MOLEY. This place is legit. It is easily the most gorgeous facility I have ever been too and makes even the nicest farms and venues I have been to look like dumps.

The drive down to Tryon was a little rough and unfortunately when we arrived our stalls had been used and were dirty… One actually had someone else’s horse in it! It took the security office and stabling manager awhile to relocate us and the horses were exhausted when they finally got to settle into their stalls. After that we headed to our lovely little cabin about 15 minutes from TIEC.

It had a great porch but as is normal with horse shows we didn’t get to spend a lot of time lounging out there. Come Tuesday the horses had settled in and Annie got a pro ride. She was a little up but overall a total star. She was jumping like a freak (in good way) and was un phased by everything at the show. This was also Bears first show and he took to it like a natural. He was pretty happy to lounge in the aisle or tack room and is very comfortable with the horses thankfully. He finds them fascinating to watch as well! On Wednesday after our classes we were able to meet up with my family friends that live in the area and ate at the Legends Club Grill. Another great thing about TIEC is that there are a bunch of restaurants on site (including: a diner, mexican, sushi, subs, and the legends club).By Thursday Annie was with the program and only needed a few warm up fences. Originally Annie and I were just going to go in the .8M jumpers to get some more miles in prep for Chatt Hills and my BO’s stallion was going to get ridden by a pro to get qualifying rounds for the 5YO YJC. I ended up having the pro take Annie around as well though and I am so glad that I did. By Thursday J rode Annie in the .8M and I rode her in the .9M. I love this young horse so much! It is impossible not to have fun.

Thankfully I thought the jumps were just 2’9 because I don’t know how to read conversions and didn’t get psyched out before I went into the ring over almost 3′ jumps. Hillary 1 – Mental Game 0The jumps actually didn’t feel that big and Annie made it all seem so easy! In addition to all of the riding we also took in some local views at a small vineyard. I won’t be hunting down any of the wine anytime soon but the company was unbeatable and we were all laughing so hard we were almost in tears. On the last day Annie had a blue ribbon round and while I wasn’t in the irons I am still so impressed by her!

Annie grew up so much over the course of the week and it paid off at Chatt Hills. I will have videos to share tomorrow 🙂

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Happy Gotcha Day Annie

1 year ago tomorrow I brought a gangly chestnut home. It is incredible how far we have come in just that short time. Below are the videos that I essentially purchased Annie off of (please do not comment on the rider as it isn’t me).

Annie Pre Ownership 2015 2 from Hillary McMichael on Vimeo.

Annie Pre Ownership 2015 1 from Hillary McMichael on Vimeo.

img_5394.jpegSince picking up the little ginger we have gone on so many adventures. This whole year has been all about fun and exposure and I think we succeeded!

XC schooling @ KHP fall 2015
moving KY —> TN
trail riding @ local parks
horse shows in OH, TN, KY, and now NC and GA
special hunters
meeting beka and archie!!! (aka best adventure ever)
swimming with an alligator
riding on the beach!!!


HT 1 (Maydaze 2016)
HT 2 (RiverGlen July 2016)

Orphan Annex – .8M 7/6/16 from Hillary McMichael on Vimeo.

This week we finish up another show together and head to our 3rd HT. Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.48.07 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.49.51 PMHere’s to another amazing year with a super thoroughbred. Thankful to have this firecracker in my life! Things aren’t going to way I planned but they are even better and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.


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Mental Roadblock

Riding has always been a mental game for me. If I didn’t have mental blocks I could accomplish so much more. Though that is probably true for all of us. Recently I have been facing an issue with the right lead. I tend to be more comfortable riding to the left in general but never really had much issue one way over another on Annie until a few weeks ago. During one of our first lessons with eventing trainer (ET) we couldn’t get the right lead. Since then I rarely face the issue when riding alone/ outside of lessons but every lesson since then I tense up about not being able to get the right lead. Sunday’s lesson was particularly awful and frustrating. I can’t figure out why I can’t seem to ride correctly but going to the right in lessons I want to throw my body inside and end up getting the wrong lead 9/10 times. Always things to improve on but I wish this hadn’t blown up on me in my last lesson before a week of  showing.

Do you guys have an achilles heel like this when it comes to riding? How do you get past the mental block?

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