Collection by constant leg pressure? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-27-2012, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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Collection by constant leg pressure?

Is the application of constant leg pressure necessary for a horse in the reining discipline to properly round its back, bend at the pole, and to collect, or are there alternatives? The trainer with whom I am currently working indicates that he applies as much as 5 pounds of pressure per leg (more precisely calf) to ask the horse to collect. For me it is physically uncomfortable to apply this constant pressure. Obviously, methods can be quite different to achieve the same goal. Are there other credible trainers or methods that do not require the constant leg pressure to achieve collection?
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-27-2012, 01:07 AM
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I'm interested in this as well, I rode with a trainer who also asked me to do this - I found it very, very hard, and that it wasn't achieving what he wanted it too. At times, I found it counter-intuitive. Although with my new trainer, we're not working on collection (simply working on getting my horse broke haha), she has yet to ask me to exert this kind of pressure on my horse.

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post #3 of 9 Old 11-27-2012, 10:46 AM
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I took a couple reining lessons when I was down in Arizona for 3 months.

That trainer had me hold collection by applying pressure with my THIGHS. Calves were used to move the horse left/right or to trainsition to the trot or lope. You kept you seat down and solid, and squeezed with your thighs. She trained her horses so the harder you squeeze with your thighs, the slower and more collected the horse traveled.

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post #4 of 9 Old 11-28-2012, 01:52 PM
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I don't do reining, but I cannot imagine why you would want to have constant pressure anywhere. If the pressure on their sides is meant as a "cue" or an "aid" to signal to them to lift their back, then it would soon become worthless as such because they would tune it out, if it is constant it becomes background noise.

But, if you are talking about using some thigh contact to have a more active and controlling seat, then I suppose that mgith be different. In dressage or English riding, you may have more of your weight distributed down along your thighs, and you may have more grip with your thighs , although in dressage this is not so desirable. I mean, if you are gripping hard with your thighs, your seat will come out of the saddle, more into a half seat like in hunter riding.

So, I have a hard time seeing how haveing nonstop pressure with your thighs is beneficial. unless the trainer is meaning to have a light grip there, so that you can kind of hold the horse back with your core muscles.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-28-2012, 02:12 PM
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I prefer a little bump-bump with my legs than constant pressure. Especially in circles. My mare in particular is very sensitive to this. You apply one inside leg and she will literally curl her entire body around it. You apply both and her head will drop to the dirt (Not my favorite thing with her, spent a lot of time breaking that habit because she wasn't taught properly with that signal to round. We had to fix that. Now she's just level to her whithers which I prefer)

I actually leave the horse alone in a run unless they need help. I'll generally bump-bump my legs a little bit to remind them to round up, particularly in circles. In the run downs I use it too, but differant because you're going faster. I am a little more aggressive with my leg for that, so when I just stop riding the horse is willing to stop. I prefer them to really stretch out in that though.
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Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-28-2012, 02:16 PM
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Yes constant leg pressure is the norm in reining. I was always told at least twice the leg of what you are doing with your hands. Most of our horses are trained that repetitive tapping with spurs does the same as you mentioned with squeezing your calves. That all depends on how the horse was trained though. Most reining horses I ride respond to squeezing with your calf
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-28-2012, 02:20 PM
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I'm of the mind of using my heels to 'lift' the horse and push him up into the bridle 'softly' and then release him when he collects as a reward, then slowly increasing the time increments I ask him to do it for, ....I've been working with my guy on this for three months now, and as soon as I step in the saddle he's rounded and ready to go without me 'picking' him up....he doesn't stay like that the whole ride, but they do learn to hold themselves up once they get fit enough and if you 'remind' them EVERYTIME they hollow out during training.

It's a long process for a horse to develop the fitness level to hold him self, carry himself on his own through a whole pattern with little or no encouragement from the rider.
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-28-2012, 02:25 PM
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I get a kick out of someone saying he/she exerts x many lbs. pressure. Is there a machine or scale that measures this. When my leg cast was removed I was told I could exert 25lbs of pressure. Now, let's see, if my entire body weighs 123.......... I had no clue as to how much pressure 25 lbs would be so by using crutches I barely allowed my foot to touch the ground. If when applying leg pressure it helps to turn your toes out a bit, a more natural position for touching the calf muscle against the horse's ribcage. If you touch alternate sides of the horse, following it's natural rhythm you'll find it much easier.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-28-2012, 02:33 PM
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Hmmmmm 'constant' and 'pressure' are not two words I put together with riding a reining horse........'pressure' and 'release' should be the two words together.....anything constant on a horse of any kind becomes useless....constant pressure on a horses sides = heavy sides
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