Collection - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #11 of 31 Old 04-04-2009, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eventing Country
Posts: 8,220
• Horses: 0
Great discussion Spyder!

For me - it is lightness in the front. I have had horses pull on me and I would end rides with sore arms due to I know what it feels like when I have lightness up front.

I love the feeling of a lifted back, and that feeling of going "uphill".

BUT Nelson and I have not achieved true collection yet. This is a long process, takes allot of dedication, correct riding, patience and persistance.

We aren't there yet.
MIEventer is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #12 of 31 Old 04-04-2009, 02:25 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 344
• Horses: 2
Originally Posted by MIEventer View Post
Great discussion Spyder!

For me - it is lightness in the front. I have had horses pull on me and I would end rides with sore arms due to I know what it feels like when I have lightness up front.

I love the feeling of a lifted back, and that feeling of going "uphill".

BUT Nelson and I have not achieved true collection yet. This is a long process, takes allot of dedication, correct riding, patience and persistance.

We aren't there yet.
that's it for me as well actually. I broke my arm, and lost a lot of strength it it. When i started riding again, I realized how much my old horse was on the forehand, and while he looked "pretty", and we actually did well at shows, I had no real connection with him. It wasn't until I really started riding him back to front and getting him to carry his OWN head and neck that I started getting somewhere

my new boy and I aren't quite there yet either. We get moments, and there are times where I'm like "aha!" but either he or I fall apart a couple of strides after :P we're a work in progress ;)
Skyhuntress is offline  
post #13 of 31 Old 04-04-2009, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5,526
• Horses: 0
Originally Posted by Skyhuntress View Post
we're a work in progress ;)
Most people are.

When you break down exactly what collection is, then when it comes, you WILL know.

The saying back to front is fine but not very descriptive,

So just WHAT is back to front.

As the horse goes from constraint to unconstraint ( or in other words...from shovelling along and doing only what is necessary to move his body from one clump of grass to another..LOL to centering his balance more in the middle and able to supply thrush to each stride and enabling suppleness) then and only then can collection even be thought of.

There are many ways to develop collection (exercises) and I am not going to go into any detail, but what DOES happen is the horse gets stronger, and the addition of thrust enables the horse to develope strength and allows the hind legs to engage more fully. As each hind leg becomes more active and engages farther under the body. The ribs of the horse have no choice but to be forced outward and FILLS the contour of the rider seat and legs. The rider that has any degree of sensitivity will feel this broadening or "filling out" or "pushing out" of their legs somewhat like an inflated balloon and if the collection is lost they will feel that balloon deflate.

It is this inflation, expansion of the ribs and subsequent rising of the front end that brings about the appearance of a lifted front end and correct collection but we must be careful in distinquishing the difference between a "forced" position that "looks like" collection and the real thing that only an active engaged hind leg can truly create.
Spyder is offline  
post #14 of 31 Old 04-04-2009, 05:04 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: North Texas
Posts: 1,214
• Horses: 1
I think JDI said it in simple terms. A lightness in the bridle and you feel like you're riding on their butt so to speak.

JMO though...

~ Starline Stables ~
starlinestables is offline  
post #15 of 31 Old 04-04-2009, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5,526
• Horses: 0
Originally Posted by starlinestables View Post
I think JDI said it in simple terms. A lightness in the bridle and you feel like you're riding on their butt so to speak.

JMO though...
And a horse evading the bit (behind the verticle) can feel just like that also but they would not be right.

A serious dressage person would never just take that and say they have a collected horse....together
Spyder is offline  
post #16 of 31 Old 04-04-2009, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Colesville, NJ
Posts: 1,729
• Horses: 0
Here's an article I wrote about the difference between action, impulsion, and flexion - all of which can be misinterpreted for collection. Collection requires proper impulsion, but is different than shortening of the gaits. True collection is when a horse is moving with impulsion and using the energy to propel upwards more than forwards. Extension is the opposite (still requiring equal impulsion to tru collection) where the horse is using the energy to propel forwards more than upwards.

Here's my take on it:
Understanding Impulsion, Suspension, and Action in the Gaits
by CJ Millar, Founder of and Head Trainer and Co-Owner of TLC Stables in

Often you hear people talk about a horse's suspension, impulsion, and action, something you hear most in the Dressage rings, but you will hear with regards to other disciplines as well. Hunters are known for having "flat knees" and saddleseat and carriage horses have "high action", while dressage horses are known for having "great suspension", but just what does this mean?

First, let's look at the difference between suspension and action. Suspension comes from impulsion. Action specifically refers to the action in the joint that occurs during flexion and contraction of the muscles around that joint. So a horse with more action in their hocks simply flexes the muscles and joint in a more pronounced way (this also can be impacted by limb angles and conformation) than a horse with less action. Suspension is the time in which the horse is suspended from the ground during any particular gait. Suspension will occur more naturally in horses who are better built to carry themselves conformationally meaning that they also have more natural impulsion or self carriage.

Next, let's define impulsion. Impulsion is the ability of the horse to propel with energy from the hind end, specifically defined in the USEF Rule book as:
"the transmission of an eager and energetic, yet controlled propulsive energy generated from the hindquarters into the athletic movement of the horse. Its ultimate expression can be shown only through the horseís soft and swinging back to be guided by a gentle contact with the riderís hand."

So how do suspension, impulsion, and action all relate when discussing movement of a horse? Quality movement must have impulsion. A horse moving with impulsion will have more suspension in their gaits than a horse moving without impulsion. And a horse must have good joint action in order to be able to be able to move with impulsion and thus suspension. However good joint action and excessive high action is entirely different and not always desirable. So how do you tell the difference?

A horse with high action may appear at a glance to have more suspension but to be sure you need to look at actual movement. If the horse is not carrying themselves and moving with impulsion, then the actual time where the horse is physically suspended from the ground will be less than a horse with true impulsion. This can create the illusion that suspension and action are directly related, when in reality, a horse can have less joint action, but better self carriage and impulsion and actually stay suspended from the ground longer because they are propelling themselves forward rather than up. Remember that less exaggerated joint flexion coupled with more hind end power (impulsion) will still equal suspension.

Now that the difference between impulsion, suspension, and action is clear, we can better understand the "flat kneed" movement of a hunter and the "high action" movement of a saddleseat horse, and the suspended movement of a dressage horse.

With a typical hunter, judges look for conformation and soundness coupled with an even pace that would be comfortable to ride on the hunt field for an extended amount of time. This is where the "flat knee" expression comes in. A horse with less knee action and a free flowing shoulder will have a stride that is long and smooth making it easy to sit. When this horse moves with impulsion, the result is a long forward stride with quiet
joint action. Think of the difference in riding a horse with sweeping movement as opposed to a non-gaited horse with a lot of joint action - the horse with the sweeping movement will be easier to sit to for a longer amount of time.

When it comes to saddleseat horses, you tend to see judges looking for that high stepping joint action referred to as animation, coupled with good impulsion and energy. Over-exaggeration of joint action is undesirable, however a naturally more active horse will be considered more animated, which is a criteria for which horses are judged. Animated movement which includes more noticeable joint flexion coupled with impulsion
and suspension is most often see at the "Park" gaits, which as per the USEF are considered highly collected and animated. In this case, both impulsion and action are needed, collectively creating suspension that shows off the animated movement of the horse.

Finally, how does this relate to the dressage horse? In dressage, impulsion is looked for at every level in every gait. The more collected the horse in their movements, the more action they will need to have in their joints to perform that movement with quality while maintaining impulsion. For example, a horse performing an extended trot will use their
impulsion to propel them forward in the gait, with more forward suspension and less upward suspension as they cover more ground. On the other hand, a horse performing a piaffe will need significantly more joint flexion in order to be able to maintain impulsion while staying in the same place, causing the impulsion to push them upwards rather than forwards. A horse overflexing their hocks at an extended trot is equally as
undesirable as a horse performing the paiffe with sub-par hock flexion. In dressage, a horse with impulsion, action, and suspension will place well, however impulsion is always most important and the action of the joints must match the movement being performed. The key to quality gaits in any riding horse is impulsion, regardless of discipline. The amount and type of suspension and action that goes with that impulsion will vary by
discipline and the movement being performed.

Life Without a Paddle...a blog about life out here, and great for a laugh!
TLC Stables & East/West Arabians
Are you getting the most out of your horse?
CJ82Sky is offline  
post #17 of 31 Old 04-04-2009, 05:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Eventing Country
Posts: 8,220
• Horses: 0
Great article CJ8Sky, Thanks for posting!
MIEventer is offline  
post #18 of 31 Old 04-15-2009, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 8,157
• Horses: 0
I recently got a glimpse at what collection feels like. My sense of it was, the entire horse was moving as one flexible, powerful yet contained ball of energy instead of a head-neck-shoulders and haunches. It felt like one piece instead of several. The whole thing moved as one, turned as one, etc. I also remember feeling like I was riding a coiled spring, but not it the spooky tense sort of way. Just a lot of power available at a moment's notice.

Regardless, when you get a few strides of it, you WILL feel the difference...and then you'll float home looking for someone to tell about it!
MyBoyPuck is offline  
post #19 of 31 Old 04-17-2009, 01:33 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 318
• Horses: 0
My coach taught me what the difference of flexion and collection was and holy crap I was like what do you mean its not just all from working head? Then I remembered a clinic I had taken like 2 years ago and the light bulp glowed so light I swear if it was real it woulda burst lol.

So now I know that to get true collection you need the hind legs to lift father underneath and stretch farther ahead. My horse nows flexion but not collection. She will break at the poll and be light on the reins but her back will stay hollow and her legs won't reach. It makes so much sence now and I now know how to ask for collection my only problem is timing!
It has to be perfect! I have trouble with timing each foot and knowing when the inside leg is just about to lift so that i can ask with my leg for that reach. I had gotten it a couple of times today, but after a couple of steps everything would fall apart and we'd have to start all over again. I also did this bareback and I was doing it at a walk so its easier to feel the horse move, but when doing it at a walk you can't really feel it foot. I'll have to try it at the trot, Sorry I'm rambling now, I'm just so glad I had a light bulp on today! lol.
Flyinghigh12 is offline  
post #20 of 31 Old 04-17-2009, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 638
• Horses: 2
Okay, so... asking this as a beginner rider on a lesson horse, what would you say would be the first step in achieving a collected trot? After reading through this, I understand what is should feel like, but I'm still confused as to how you get there or what you would do first.

Every ride, good or bad, teaches you something new.
Equuestriaan is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
collection again SonnyWimps Horse Riding 14 04-02-2008 01:56 PM
Tack Collection! FGRanch Horse Tack and Equipment 2 03-22-2008 01:41 AM
Collection again SonnyWimps Horse Training 18 03-15-2008 02:23 PM
Collection question? SonnyWimps Horse Talk 5 02-27-2008 09:32 PM
Collection SonnyWimps Horse Talk 2 02-25-2008 04:32 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome