How to get a more engaged behind/collection - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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How to get a more engaged behind/collection

I read somewhere that you need to try and push your horse forward and then recycle some energy through the reins to transfer it to the back and gain impulsion. Is that correct? I've been trying to do that (trying), not necessarily doing it properly I suppose, as when I look at videos of me riding my school horse I feel he's lacking a bit of impulsion. It's not horrible, sometimes it's actually quite good, but at other times it's really not ideal. (I can post videos if need be).

Also, how can I get him to round his back?

Thank you

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post #2 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 10:11 PM
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It's more of a lift or an elevation than a push. Their back muscles lift up, they get light in the front end and shift the power to the rear. It is not something I can give instructions for through writing down, way too many factors.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 10:31 PM
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To collect a horse you shake their head down till its bent- all else will follow. You're doin it right when your horse looks like a carousel horse- and the gaits feel bouncy.
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 10:42 PM
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Oh my. This should be interesting.

In any case...I don't know how to get a horse truly collected. But at my very low level of riding, I've noticed two things.

1 - Riding in two point seems to encourage them to use their back, probably because it means my potato sack butt isn't discouraging them.

2 - They tend to follow my weight. If I'm forward, they are too - which is fine for a sprint. If I settle back, they shift their effort more to the rear end than the front.

And 3, which is one more than I said - doing tight turns with them regularly, and trying to make those turns circles and not just turns, seems to help. A horse can't do a good, tight turn by pulling from the front end. I know, because both of mine have tried and failed...

If you are already beyond those tips...great!
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 11:08 PM
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The way my instructor has me engage my horse's behind is by "imagining" (bear with me here...) that I have two metal rods from my hip bone to my seat bone on each side, and my saddle is a huuuuuge magnet. When I want impulsion, the magnet "turns on" to pull my seat bones down, and I sit deep to push forward with my seat (does that make sense?) in rhythm with the horse's movement. Even if you're posting the trot-- on that down beat, you're sitting deep (not plopping down-- it's different) and squeezing.

Additionally, I applying rhythmic leg encouragement (for the walk I kind of push the barrel side to side between my legs, for the trot it's a squeeze, squeeze, squeeze).

All of this pushes my horse into the bridle. Assuming he is accepting the contact, pushing with your seat (and leg) in this manner will encourage them to be more forward and get that "recycling" going that you're talking about.

I hope that helps!
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone! All your bits and pieces of info clarified some thing for me. ;) If anyone has more, keep it coming though. :)
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
2 - They tend to follow my weight. If I'm forward, they are too - which is fine for a sprint. If I settle back, they shift their effort more to the rear end than the front.
This! When I feel my horse falling onto the forehand, I remind myself to sit up tall (tall enough to make a big gap between your last rib and your hips) and deep and encouraging as I described.
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 11:17 PM
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1. Do t worry about his head and neck - it will come when he starts engaging his back and using his hocks
2. Have gentle steady contact through the reins
3. Sit tall, shoulders back, head up looking forward
4. Squeeze with your legs and think 'up' and get him moving out, maintain steady rein contact
5. Keep squeezing
6. Have him moving out ask, ask, ask,
7. As soon as you 'feel' that lift, his hocks will engage, his head will lower and he will feel like he is pushing you up in the saddle
8. Remember to sit deep but not hard in the saddle

9. - this is key - when you feel him lift, left him go for a few strides and gently release for a few strides and ask again, if you don't offer that release he will have no incentive to do it for you.

As time goes by he will be gaining the strength to maintain that arc in his back, engaged hocks and abdominal lift and he should feel like butter in your hands.

Hope that helped, it's easier said than done but is a wonderful feeling when you can get a horse there. One noticeable thing is you will see the wither 'lift'.
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 11:36 PM
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Oh.....and that was a very basic outline I gave!!! Kayty or Anebel may stop in and give a more complete explanation!!!!
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-30-2013, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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