Collection and Head Carriage

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Collection and Head Carriage

This is a discussion on Collection and Head Carriage within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category

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    11-25-2009, 10:57 PM
Question Collection and Head Carriage

OK, so I have my first 2 dressage tests in February (I know, a long time away but practice makes perfect) and I have a few questions on collection, head carriage and some of the rules.

1. Head carriage on circles. I sometimes struggle a bit with this so could anyone give me some tips with this. I give and take with my inside rein to get that little bit of flexion but I lose it sometimes because I'm focusing so hard on getting the horse off my inside leg. I will try and get a video next time I ride to show you. How do I keep that head-carriage and flexion?

2. Collection at a trot. Haven't got this in my tests yet, but I'd like to know how to do it properly and effieciently. I'm on a horse that knows how to do it, so that's no problem, but I would like to know how its done properly. Should I work on extension or collection first?

3. Am I allowed to use a double bridle in preliminary? And my sister is competing on him in Prepatory, so I'm guessing she'd have to ride in a snaffle.

4. And free walk. How is this done the right way? I see some riders do it and their horse looks sloppy, the rider's position looks extremely sloppy and it just looks horrible. Any videos or tips on how to do this looking good would be appreciated.

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    11-25-2009, 11:07 PM
Green Broke
Ok, I don't know as much as some dressage peoples on here, but I will try to answer to the best of my eventer ablities!
1. I just really push with my inside leg until I start to feel him go to my outside rein, and then I lightly guide him with my inside rein. On a 20m(I'm asuming that's what they are asking) you only want to see the inside corrner of the eye anyway.
2. I wouldn't worry about it right now, you got enough on your plate getting ready for the show!
3.No clue
4. On my tests they do a transition to the Medium walk, I really get him "marching" and then I just slip my reins out and jiggle them just a bit, and if he gets behind my leg I bump alternating with my legs. Idealy, you want the horse's head to be below the withers and you want the hind foot to overstep where they front hoof was.
Hope I helped alitte!
    11-26-2009, 01:06 PM
First of all about the double. If you look at the top of the test, there are directives, on the preliminary test it says: "All trot work may be ridden sitting or rising,unless stated.Halts may be through the walk. To be ridden in an ordinary snaffle."
So I'd say no.
And why are you riding a preliminary horse in the double anyways?? It's w/t/c.

You do collection properly by doing everything else before collection properly. It is very difficult to explain in real life, and nearly impossible to do so over the internet. Get a good dressage coach and suck it up and pay the money for their knowledge.

You are doing preliminary (ie training level for us north american folks). Don't worry about it. Honestly if you ride the movements accurately and there are no disobediences and your horse is not resisting to your aids you will get over 60% easily. I've gone into the same level of tests with horses that can't hold a contact, or canter off my aids without a whip and come out with 70%. You just need to ride very accurately, and make everything look as smooth and easy as possible. If your horse is giving you prompt responses from your aids and carrying a slight contact, you will do wonderfully.
Wait until you're at least competing and doing well at novice before you worry yourself about the big "c" word. I promise you that if all your work is correct and you keep practicing a ton of different movements, collection will come in due time. Having a knowledgable coach helps a ton as well.

Good luck!
    11-26-2009, 08:27 PM
You're not allowed to use a double bridle in competition until medium, and even then it is optional. It is complusary from advanced.
Doesn't sound like you have anywhere near enough experience to be riding in a double anyway, if you can't put the horse on the bit and get collection in a snaffle, there is absoltuely no way you should be even thinking about touching a double as they are so sensitive and you can quite easily flip a horse over backwards if you hit them in the mouth with the curb accidentally.

So for prep, prelim, novice, elem you can ride only in a plain snaffle bridle. No pelhams or other such bits.
    11-27-2009, 01:48 AM
Thanks everyone.
I'm actually riding my friend's horse, and he's trained to higher levels, so I was just wondering if it was possible to do it in a double. He's a pretty quiet horse, I'm just getting used to him and how he responds. No, he is not a push button horse, which I find is good because if you don't do it right, he won't do it. You have to ask for it correctly.

So free walk? Can anyone explain how to make those transitions look good? Like when you go from medium to free walk. I've watched a lot of tests and it looks kinda.....sloppy. And is it true that I should be more elastic through the hips at a free walk to really make him stretch out?

And has anyone got some tips to get him off my leg? I just bump him off it most of the time but are there any training tips perhaps that could make him stop doing it? Maybe just being persistant with it? Its quite distracting when you're trying to focus on doing everything else perfect.

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your input.
    11-27-2009, 02:40 PM
Green Broke
In my transitions(and I usually get high marks on them and my free walk like 7s and 8s) I just keep the pace of the M. Walk and let him stretch out and then push him forward just ever so more
    11-27-2009, 08:53 PM
I believe for the free walk, you're supposed to allow the horse to chew the reins out of your hands until there's no contact. If done correctly, his head will be the same height as his withers. The sloppy look comes from riders just throwing away all the contact at once. The horse feels dropped, falls on the forehand and the head hangs near the ground.

As for asking for collection from a horse who already knows it, I can say for sure that you just have to ask with the proper aids. If he's doing something other than what you're asking for, he's telling you that you're asking him incorrectly. The more experienced horses can really make you work for it. I recently rode my trainers prelim horse and he sure made me look like a dope until I got my position lined up correctly. Definitely take advantage of a more schooled horse by taking some lessons on him with a good dressage instructor. Just a few quality lessons will go a long way toward becoming a better dressage rider.
    12-01-2009, 10:10 PM
Thanks guys. We've been practicing our free walk and its really coming along nicely.
MyBoyPuck, that really helped explain how the free walk should look and we've nearly got it nailed.
    12-01-2009, 10:20 PM
Yep even if the horse is trained higher, you're not allowed to use a double until Medium. I rode my coaches PSG/inter1 gelding in a novice. Even though he trains and competes FEI you still have to use a snaffle in the lower levels.

Getting him off your leg.. well bumping him with the leg all the time isn't going to help at all, it will just deaded him further. There are lots of threads on this forum in the horse riding and english riding section regarding getting a horse off the leg so go and have a look in there for some ideas ratehr having to have it written out all over again ;)
    12-04-2009, 02:09 AM
With collected trot, a squeeze-release will get a better response out of your horse than a "tap" or "bump". It's just constantly telling him to go, rather than to move sideways off your leg, and he'll soon learn to ignore it. Hope that helps! Good luck.

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