Originally Posted by Beling
Wow, this sounds pretty fast. I know horses do mature diffierently, but I'd think serious collection would wait until around 6 at least. The horse's bones (in the neck?) are still fusing, I believe, until around 7.
The way the FEI young horse tests are structured, there is not a ton of emphasis placed on having a high degree of collection, it is more about does the horse have the ability and natural aptitude to sit. The tests are intended for horses of the highest quality for dressage who don't necessarily find the work particularly difficult because of how they are built.
Also - collection has nothing to do with cranking the neck around. The neck naturally lifts from the base and comes "higher" as the haunches lower and gain more power to propel the horse. So - the only reason we would be worried about the neck is if we had the horse crammed into a degouge or draw reins.