True Collection/Extension Vs. Changing Speed - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-20-2010, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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True Collection/Extension Vs. Changing Speed

I'm having a hard time understanding the difference. What is collection? Extension? (I work well off solid definitions. )

How does it differ from just changing speeds?


(If someone else has already asked this, could I have a link?)
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-20-2010, 07:04 PM
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Collection & Extension
i think this might help you understand it all. sorry, i didnt have time to read through the whole webpage, but it seemed helpful, i will read through it when i get home. :)

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post #3 of 12 Old 04-20-2010, 07:11 PM
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Hooo-kay.. here's what I have to say:

Collection is when the horse is asked to shorten their stride, but keep the same tempo. Think about a spring being coiled. Collection comes from the horse gathering itself on his hindquarter, lifting through the front end, and shorten its stride.
Extension stems from collection; the horse must work off the hind end to truly display correct extension. You want the same tempo, but a bigger stride.

Slowing down or speeding up changes the horse's tempo. Many people mistakenly think that when they've asked the horse to slow down and shorten its stride, (usually with the head down) they've achieved collection - this is not true; collection must come from the hind end.

I hope that makes sense?


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post #4 of 12 Old 04-20-2010, 07:11 PM
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This is an oversimplification, but the big difference between extending/collecting and merely speeding up is tempo. The tempo doesn't change between stride lengths, but the amount of ground covered with each stride does. Picture a horse doing an average-Joe trot around a ring. Imagine he's on cement and he's shod, so you hear the clip-clop clip-clop in your mind. Now, have him collect, without that clip-clop changing at all. To accomodate the extra time per stride, the horse's legs raise higher as the stride shortens. Now, back to the medium trot, keeping the rhythm, and into extension. The rhythm doesn't change, but the horse sits back on his haunches and utilizes the full length of his legs per stride, opening up the length a lot.

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post #5 of 12 Old 04-20-2010, 07:19 PM
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Without being too confusing, you can achieve both collection and extension without ever changing speed. Pick any beat. Your horse can trot along at the beat with collected strides which are higher more animated steps but cover less ground. He can then keep that exact same beat, but just change the way he moves to do the extension. Instead of high animated collected strides, it changes to more reaching ground covering strides. The feet land in the same beats or tempo either way. It just the amount of ground he's covering due to how he uses his legs. That make any sense?

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post #6 of 12 Old 04-20-2010, 07:25 PM
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Collection is characterized by lowering of the croup; and increased angulation of the joints of the hind legs - it feels as if the horse is sitting down a little behind; and their front end gets lighter and taller.

True extension is developed from collection - you ask the horse to collect to coil the spring, extension releases some of the coiled energy while maintaining the "sit" behind.

Collection and extension are developed through systematic, gymnastic dressage training - it's not something an unfit or untrained horse is capable of.

What gets confusing is that this fairly precise terms are often used generally to describe shortening and lengthen of stride, without any change in the horses' balance or engagement. Lots of non-dressage riders will refer to a slow trot or canter as "collected" when, by the precise definition, it's just shortened. Same for extended/lengthened. There's nothing bad or wrong about that; there's value in teaching a horse to shorten and lenghten, it's just not the same as collecting and extending in the more precise sense.

So not only do you need to know the definition of the terms, you need to know in which sense the speaker is using them - the precise, dressage sense or the more general sense.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-21-2010, 11:50 AM
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This isn't a very technically correct definition, but those above me gave you that. The easy, simple, nutshell way to remember it is that collecting and extending change the length of the stride....so taking small steps vs. big steps....speed just quickens or slows those steps, no matter how big or small they are.

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post #8 of 12 Old 04-22-2010, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amlalriiee View Post
This isn't a very technically correct definition, but those above me gave you that. The easy, simple, nutshell way to remember it is that collecting and extending change the length of the stride....so taking small steps vs. big steps....speed just quickens or slows those steps, no matter how big or small they are.
If talking in a dressage sense of collection/extension, then this is incorrect. You can easily change the length of stride by pulling the horse back and back until he is shuffling along almost at walk, with a metre between his hind and front legs. This is not collection, but the length of stride has changed markedly.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-23-2010, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amlalriiee View Post
This isn't a very technically correct definition, but those above me gave you that. The easy, simple, nutshell way to remember it is that collecting and extending change the length of the stride....so taking small steps vs. big steps....speed just quickens or slows those steps, no matter how big or small they are.

Katy is correct.

What HAS changed is the swing of the horse's leg now takes a higher more lofty lift and it is that extra time that it takes to cover this greater arc is what gives you cadence, animation and suspension a requisite for true collection.

In extensions the hind legs will travel more forward with less arc towards the plumb (center of balance which should be under the rider) and it is this that is what you may hear the professional say "gaining ground".
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-23-2010, 08:29 AM
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Sorry, I should have said that I was speaking in a more general sense. I have not taken dressage....although I am fascinated by it and would love to learn, so thank you for the correction!

A horse is the projection of peoples' views about themselves--strong, powerful, beautiful--and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existance.
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