Originally Posted by Mary Liz
So in a recent lesson we worked on getting our horses to stretch through their backs into the contact we had thus forming a round frame through using leg and the horse reaching into your hand. So this brings up a question for me what is true collection in dressage?
I took a stronger contact (which felt super weird like I was on his face but my trainer said it was perfect so by the end it felt normal) and during the lesson I could really tell him reaching into my hand when I used my legs. So what is collection in comparison to a horse creating a nice round frame? Sorry if it sounds silly lol.
I'll take a stab at this...
I think the term 'true collection' is a misnomer. Collection isn't like an on/off switch. There are layers of collection that we build on during the course of training. I suppose you could say Levade is "true collection" at it's highest form, but I don't know anyone in real life who's ever achieved that.
You can't get to collection without that big soft, round, frame that you're asking your horse for now. They can't bring their hind legs under unless their backs come up, their necks won't arch correctly unless they're are straight, engaged, and relaxed. You're at the beginning of asking for collection when the horse begins to give you it's back. At that point, you just keep building on that collection through exercises that will gymnastically develop the horse so that it can carry more and more weight on it's hindquarters.