how to get your horse more collected? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 07-12-2012, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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how to get your horse more collected?

My horse isnt very collected and I don't know how to get the back rounded and for her to use her hindquarters instead of her using her front!? Please help
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post #2 of 30 Old 07-12-2012, 07:16 PM
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Leg leg leg, half halt leg! Lol it's pretty hard to explain but isn't at te same time. There are great videos on YouTube that show you from a dressage point of view. Those may be helpfull instead of posts on here, the videos you will be able to see what's being described.
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post #3 of 30 Old 07-12-2012, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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thank you!! I will look on youtube!
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post #4 of 30 Old 07-12-2012, 07:40 PM
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Welcome to the forum, queenie!

There are lots of great resources out there for learning the "hows" and "whys" of getting a horse round, connected, and ultimately collected. This forum alone has some excellent threads that cover the subject from almost every imaginable angle. "Collection" can mean different things to different riders in different disciplines -- a western pleasure horse that is said to be "collected" looks vastly different than a dressage horse that is considered to be "collected." Despite this, the basics and mechanics of how to correctly move yourself and your horse in a more round, more connected, and ultimately more collected direction are the same no matter what saddle you ride in.

Although there are heaps of excellent sources, both online and in books and DVDs, there is truly no substitute for a few good dressage lessons with a qualified instructor who can help you really get the feel for how to get a horse round, on the aids, and connected, and show you what it feels like when the horse is doing it correctly. You'll probably start on a schoolmaster horse who has the strength and experience to do this, rather than on your own horse, who will probably be unable to do much more than stretch at first.

This is one of those things that, even if you follow the "recipe" to the letter, probably won't turn out quite right if you don't already know what "right" feels like under you. Even if you're personally more interested in hunters, jumpers, WP, or even barrel racing, rather than dressage per se, some good dressage lessons will be helpful to you.

In the meantime, study up on the Training Scale to get a good broad-stroke idea of what goes into dressage-sense collection.

Good luck!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #5 of 30 Old 07-12-2012, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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thank you I will try to take some lessons but I don't know if I can afford it but thank you I wanted to get into dressage maybe this will just help me to do that!
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post #6 of 30 Old 10-24-2012, 10:28 PM
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I recently bought a thoroughbred quarter horse cross, and believe me when I say it, they are super strong. Well past that, what I do to help me is to sit real hard in my seat, shorten my reins,give a strong half-halt, ride uphill, and pick him up in the front. It really helps me, so I hope it helps you too!
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post #7 of 30 Old 10-25-2012, 05:40 PM
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Whew. What a question! I've spent practically every ride, every day, every week and every year learning more and more about how to do this better and better!

Alright well I'd say that the first step to getting your horse working towards collection would be to get an instructor. However, I understand that can be difficult. Like said above, let books and DVDs be your instructor. Attend lessons and clinics, observe carefully.

Second step. Work on you and your position. Your horse cannot collect easily if you are throwing him off with your balance or your position. So you must have good core strength and a good and balanced core. Lunge work is great for this. You don't necessarily need an instructor just a willing friend or family member.

Third step. Find out how much training your horse has. Does he/she know alot about dressage?

Fourth step. Work from the bottom of the Training Scale (attached) up. It might seem scary and a bit confusing but it's really not. Rhythm and relaxation are the basics of collection...basically if your horse moves forward steadily and with rhythm on any length rein while maintaining relaxation you have the basis. From there you can work to connection, where he/she accepts the bit willingly without fuss while maintaining rhythm and relaxation. Then you can get to impulsion, straightness and collection. But I'd say the most important thing here is relaxation.

Fifth step. Learn some exercises which help your horse become light and responsive. (Got to go will post more later;) )
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DRESSAGE, n.: the passionate pursuit of perfection by the obsessively imperfect -Author Unknown
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post #8 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 12:52 AM
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Good grief. I have worked so hard at understanding this and teaching my horse with the help of my trainer, it is hard to explain period, let alone on a forum. I can tell you the things that helped me and my mare start to learn it.

The first step was getting her to understand vertical flexion, or giving at the poll. Teaching them requires an immediate release initailly when they give you the correct response. Then you can hold it longer and longer. We did that at a halt and also backing initally. Then to start getting her under herself, we trotted (my trainer says it is easier physically for them to learn at the trot rather than the walk) in small circles, with me sitting back driving hard while asking for that flexion at the poll.

As soon as she would give her head, I would release. Just as the original teaching of vertical flexion, I would hold the position longer and longer. She learned quickly. Now I just gently collect my reins, sit back and drive her foreward and she will push her hiney under her and flex at the poll. We can do it at the trot and walk, but are still working on canter. When you get it right it feels so -awesome-!

I am so proud of us, collection has been a goal of mine for a long time even though I'm mostly a trail rider and I finally feel like I am starting to get it. People sometimes do not understand this, but the ability to collect helps everything. Even going down hills on trails, sometimes all the other horses are rushing, and my mare wants to rush, and I get to say, " Uh uh! We are going to collect a bit." Then she gets her butt under her, softens to the bit, and goes down in complete control. It is well worth the work

An analogy I have heard to understand collection is to think of the horse like a bow (as in bow and arrow). You want the horse to come up under you like a flexing bow, you drive the energy from behind and capture it up front to hold the bow flexed under you.

Last edited by KountryPrincess; 10-27-2012 at 12:58 AM.
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post #9 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 03:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KountryPrincess View Post
Good grief. I have worked so hard at understanding this and teaching my horse with the help of my trainer, it is hard to explain period, let alone on a forum. I can tell you the things that helped me and my mare start to learn it.

The first step was getting her to understand vertical flexion, or giving at the poll. Teaching them requires an immediate release initailly when they give you the correct response. Then you can hold it longer and longer. We did that at a halt and also backing initally. Then to start getting her under herself, we trotted (my trainer says it is easier physically for them to learn at the trot rather than the walk) in small circles, with me sitting back driving hard while asking for that flexion at the poll.

As soon as she would give her head, I would release. Just as the original teaching of vertical flexion, I would hold the position longer and longer. She learned quickly. Now I just gently collect my reins, sit back and drive her foreward and she will push her hiney under her and flex at the poll. We can do it at the trot and walk, but are still working on canter. When you get it right it feels so -awesome-!

I am so proud of us, collection has been a goal of mine for a long time even though I'm mostly a trail rider and I finally feel like I am starting to get it. People sometimes do not understand this, but the ability to collect helps everything. Even going down hills on trails, sometimes all the other horses are rushing, and my mare wants to rush, and I get to say, " Uh uh! We are going to collect a bit." Then she gets her butt under her, softens to the bit, and goes down in complete control. It is well worth the work

An analogy I have heard to understand collection is to think of the horse like a bow (as in bow and arrow). You want the horse to come up under you like a flexing bow, you drive the energy from behind and capture it up front to hold the bow flexed under you.
Collection NEVER EVER comes from a headset, or "breaking at the poll" as you put it. That is the last thing anyone seeking collection is looking for or at. In fact, the OP is far more on the right track. Collection has nothing to do with where the horse holds its head, and everything to do with the horse working from the hinds, through a soft and swinging back, into the rider.
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post #10 of 30 Old 10-27-2012, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Chiilaa View Post
Collection NEVER EVER comes from a headset, or "breaking at the poll" as you put it. That is the last thing anyone seeking collection is looking for or at. In fact, the OP is far more on the right track. Collection has nothing to do with where the horse holds its head, and everything to do with the horse working from the hinds, through a soft and swinging back, into the rider.
I never, ever, said that collection "comes from a headset". Ever. I never even mentioned the word "headset".

I said that collection comes from behind just as you said. However, being soft vertically allows that energy to be captured and the horse to round his back and come under himself. IMO too many so-called collected horses are -behind- the vertical and overly flexed. I don't ever aim for a "headset". I ask my horse to soften in her face and come under herself from her hind end. When I do this BTW, I do this with a plain thick snaffle and western saddle, no other equipment.

Did you not read the part of my post where I talked about trotting being how we taught my mare to learn to bring that energy from the hind end? Did you not read the part where I said collection was like a bow with the energy coming from the back? Why are you so concerned that my horse has been taught to give to the bit and be soft in her face?

I also said this was hard to describe, so maybe that is the problem. However, I simply listed the steps that -my- mare, who naturally moves very "under herself' due to her conformation, has been working. She was not soft in the face initially, and that was our first step in teaching this process. It was not, by far, the last. All well-broke horses should be soft in the face, both laterally and then vertically. And sorry if you don't like the terminology, but when they are soft vertically, they do break at the poll.

I honestly don't think I could have reinforced that a collected horse needs to come from behind anymore than I did. Don't get hung up on one aspect of my post and ignore the rest........please.
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