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how to get your horse more collected?

This is a discussion on how to get your horse more collected? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Raise your hands to get horse on the bit not pull back
  • How to get your horse to stay collected

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    10-27-2012, 09:43 PM
  #21
Banned
Ok.....confusion....yes.....just to add my two cents worth......

Just had an extra lesson in true western collection today, I was doing ok but achieved a real true working collection today......not just having the horse hold its face vertical by use of the bit.......true collection....
Before you begin, make sure your horse is soft in his body, his sides, moving his shoulder, hips in a willing fashion with little to no effort from you.....

Next, walk on a loose rein at a walk, evenly squeeze your legs on your horse to drive your walk faster, SLOWLY raise your reins, up and BLOCK the horse (don't keep pulling, just apply enough pressure to block the horse, don't keep pulling, raise your hands and hold them in position) , not pulling back, ALL THE WHILE squeezing your horse into tHe bridle....you will feel the horse make contact with the bit, keep squeezing forward, forward, forward....AS SOON AS YOU FEEL THE HORSE GIVE TO THE BIT Ie, soften in your hands (this is a very obvious feeling - like soft butter on the bit)..SLOWLY release him.......walk a few morse steps relaxed.....squeeze, ask again.....make sure you get the softness BEFORE you release him by lowering your hands slowly and letting him relax.....

By letting him relax you are giving him incentive to collect for you...and as he gets better and better at responding to this cue you can ask more often for longer periods of time....

YOU SHOULD also feel the horse lift his back, I can feel my horses back right under me when I do this.....kind of like switching from a chair seat to a deep dressage seat....even in my reining saddle.

What I think people try to do is keep a horse working collected ALL THE TIME....this does not offer the horse any incentive to work and stay collected for you as he has no incentive in doing so.....this is especially true with horses who are unfit or not softened in the body before asking for collection.....
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    10-28-2012, 12:16 AM
  #22
Super Moderator
I know a lot of Western riders talke about collecting the horse, and having them soft in the face, and that's fine, I suppose. But sometimes what I see it the horse who comes behind the bit, had a great tenseness in his jaw and he may tuck his hind end under himself , but ends up more plowing down onto his forehead almost, what with his head tucked back and legs under him but the rear legs are not bearing more weight and there is not lift of the front end. The front legs bear even more weight, just like when a hrose reaches down to graze.

When the horse collects, he will shift the front backwards as much as he will bring his back under himself. The front end lifts by virtue of more push from the hind end, not just more tuck of them under him. It's a bit like the way the front end of a power boat will lift out of the water when you gun the engine.
You can have a horse bring his hind legs further under him but if he doesn't lift the base of his neck and push more from those hind end to elevat the front end, then it is not true collection.
     
    10-28-2012, 12:22 AM
  #23
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I know a lot of Western riders talke about collecting the horse, and having them soft in the face, and that's fine, I suppose. But sometimes what I see it the horse who comes behind the bit, had a great tenseness in his jaw and he may tuck his hind end under himself , but ends up more plowing down onto his forehead almost, what with his head tucked back and legs under him but the rear legs are not bearing more weight and there is not lift of the front end. The front legs bear even more weight, just like when a hrose reaches down to graze.

When the horse collects, he will shift the front backwards as much as he will bring his back under himself. The front end lifts by virtue of more push from the hind end, not just more tuck of them under him. It's a bit like the way the front end of a power boat will lift out of the water when you gun the engine.
You can have a horse bring his hind legs further under him but if he doesn't lift the base of his neck and push more from those hind end to elevat the front end, then it is not true collection.
Nope I'm not talking about plowing ahead on the forehand with an unrelaxed jaw and a disengaged hind end that is tucked under........if you are referring to my post.....I grew up English.......I'm talking about complete front end lift....without it you cannot slide, spin, rollback, control speed...nothing.....if a Reiner is not light in the front end he won't be able to perform anything properly.....
     
    10-28-2012, 12:54 AM
  #24
Super Moderator
I wasnt' referring to anyone's post in particular. I wasn't keeping them straight, actually. Typical!


ETA I pretty much agree with your post, especially about giving incentive to collect by rewarding this.
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    10-28-2012, 03:47 AM
  #25
Trained
I think a huge thing comes into play here, of in english typically the poll is the highest point on the horse's body...While in reiners, cutters, pleasure people etc they want the head low for relaxation. I think this is where people get the "fall on the forehand" assumption that comes with western riders.

I will be the first to admit Selena is heavy on the forehand. She is built ridiculously downhill and she has a huge butt. It is like pedalling a bike uphill with her in a normal ride. If I want her to drive from behind on something like just a plain circle, good jesus, DRIVE SQUEEZE DRIVE SQUEEZE has a whole new meaning. She will never be particularly good at it...But ****, give her a cow to work or a barrel to run and she suddenly is the lightest horse in the world with the front. That is why I gave up with her reining; She's finished but she finds no purpose in the job, therefore she will not do it right. Her way or the highway.

It's just a totally differant world from english to western. I don't appreciate people telling me the way I train my western horses is wrong though, just because I don't meet their "true" standards. Not saying it was anyone here specifically, it's just a pet peeve. Differant things for differant jobs. Talk about "true" collection, and I know my main horse does not meet that standard of "true". However, she lowers her head, relaxes, licks and chews, and puts on a good show for our judges.

It's like night and day...
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    10-28-2012, 07:18 AM
  #26
Trained
Please remember that dressage collection is intended for a horse to give a collected gait - sustained movement with much of the weight on the rear. Western collection usually refers to a shorter duration shift of weight, and the amount of weight shifted is less. It is used primarily to allow the horse to turn faster and to prepare for sudden acceleration.

Backing up doesn't teach collection, but I'm told it improves the horse's strength in muscles that will be used during western collection. I don't know personally, because I haven't tried it.

Softening vertically and horizontally, at least with the two western trainers I've taken lessons from, is not intended to "collect" the horse. It is intended to get the horse listening to the rider and responding to the bit. When my mare was started all over for her training last November (long story, not needed here), one of the early things worked on was softening vertically and horizontally from the ground. Later it was worked on mounted. The goal wasn't to collect the horse per se, but to teach her to give to the bit and not fight it, and to listen to the rider for instruction. That isn't collection, but it is a step one would need before teaching collection. And since western riding doesn't normally involve constant contact on the bit, it is again a somewhat temporary thing.

I have no desire to teach my horse collected gaits. I do need them to be able to shift their weight to the rear enough to make balanced turns and to prepare for acceleration. For that mild and limited degree of "collection", we started with flexing vertically and horizontally, and then moved to various circles. I liked using a triangle set of 3 cones. I walked the horse into the "cones of confusion" and then decided as I entered the triangle which cone we would circle, or if we were going to circle at all. That forced the horse to wait for my cue - they couldn't anticipate since I didn't know myself. We would then circle a cone, and I would check to see if the horse was balanced. Was she falling in with the shoulder? Bending her body around the turn? Where was my weight - forward or to the rear? I can't expect her to put weight to the rear if I'm not.

With practice, we increased to trotting. Since all that turning was hard work, I set up a fourth cone about 75 yards away, so we could break out of the cones of confusion and let the horse relax going to & from the far cone. Varying the size of the triangle & our speed allowed me to vary the workout intensity for the horse. Trying to get good circles helped both horse and rider with balance.

For my limited purpose, that worked well. With Mia, I had to be careful not to overdo it, since she resents endless circles. We've spent the last 6 months teaching her it is OK to go for rides out in the desert. Yesterday was her first solo trip that included cantering. And she actually remained calm and relaxed for a short canter, instead of going into a mild bolt! For her, that is big progress!

I've started making it a practice, however, at the end of each trail ride to have her canter a few circles in our small arena. The trail rides have helped enormously with her "relaxation", since much of her body tension had been mental rather than physical.

We will never work on collected gaits in the FEI sense, nor will most western riders. We normally ride with slack in the reins and with her free to choose what parts of the path or wash that gives her the best footing, although I want her ready to respond to my inputs - which are not all thru the bit. I read an article a long time ago about how 'on the bit' really meant 'on the aids' - listening & responding to the rider's cues. If so, then by that definition I want her 'on the bit'.

None of this involves headset. The softening I talk about has do do with her listening and understanding my bit cues, so that I can help her with her balance and relaxation. This picture captures our goal for a 'normal headset':



She can do a relaxed canter like that, or accelerate into a gallop with a similar position. I remember when this picture was taken, and she was very 'soft' with her head. Take a bit of slack out of a rein, and she responded right away. That is what I was taught meant she was 'soft'. And it is very hard to teach a horse not to get strung out but to 'collect' if they are not listening to the riders cues, including the reins. I gave up riding bitless because I needed more subtle cues to get my mare to 'collect'.

No idea if all this rambling helps anyone. Got up at 3 AM with sinus problems, and 3 AM isn't the best time to be posting on the Internet. If it helps, great. If not, ignore it please.
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    12-08-2012, 04:02 AM
  #27
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
........ In my PSG horse I regularity have 30-50 lbs of contact because he stretches the neck out, and the base of the neck up, to come into a correct and strong connection.......
Posted via Mobile Device

WOW! 30 - 50 lbs of force is a lot of pull, considering the small surface area of the bit.
     
    12-08-2012, 04:24 AM
  #28
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
Please remember that dressage collection is intended for a horse to give a collected gait - sustained movement with much of the weight on the rear. Western collection usually refers to a shorter duration shift of weight, and the amount of weight shifted is less. It is used primarily to allow the horse to turn faster and to prepare for sudden acceleration.........

Very nice post BSMS!

I think a *LOT* of "fuel" for this thread has come from the intermingling of English/dressage/western riding. It would seem that a more coherent discussion of collection could be had if it were successfully limited to one of the disciplines. Just a thought...

There is a common concept at the core of it all, but when that core concept of collection is "fleshed out" for each of the different persuasions, it seems that they diverge quite a bit.

Just how it appears to me....

I guess we were pretty oblivious when we were kids (back in the mid 60s).... We did everything we could think of on our horses (including pretty good success at poles, barrels, reining etc) and never heard of collection....
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    12-11-2012, 02:49 AM
  #29
Trained
I still have no idea why it even matters what discipline we are talking about at all.

Driving from behind to front is the same concept in either discipline.

Whether it be my barrel horse:



Or Anky's dressage horse.



Collection for both these horses should be the same thing regardless of the tack they are wearing or how they are being ridden.

No one is suggesting yank the horse's face to the dirt with about ten pairs of draw reins to get him collected.

We are suggesting you get the horse giving softly to the bridle, because even though in english you ride with contact like Anebel said, in western the same thing is just as well achieved on a loose rein with a different style. The horse is expected to be relaxed and willing. It's SUPPOSED to be effortless.
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    12-19-2012, 10:17 PM
  #30
Foal
Thank you everybody for your comments I would appreciate it if you wouldnt argue who's better!thank you
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