Collection for the long backed horse.

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Collection for the long backed horse.

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  • Riding the long-backed horse
  • Long-backed showjumper

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    03-05-2013, 12:54 AM
Collection for the long backed horse.

I know there are lots of collection threads, but I'm full of questions and don't want to take over anyone elses. Jackson definitely doesn't have the ideal back for collection, he's very long through the body, and while I, personally, feel he is fairly well built otherwise I know it will still be a challenge for us. I'm definitely not looking for upper-level collection, but would love to achieve whatever he is capable of. I will be taking Dressage lessons at the end of April, until then it is something I would like to work on in our own time. I've attached a picture (from last summer, so no comment on muscling, he's so fluffy now that everything is hidden), maybe throw out what you think about his conformation.

We've been working on lengthening and shortening his stride at the canter, making him adjustable on course with incredible success. I've been instructed to help him soften with lots of circles, spiral in / out, leg yields, and 'jingling' the inside rein to encourage him to soften and give to the bit. When I bought him he would run around, head in the air, 100% unbalanced, we've come a long, long way from that, and now I'd like to start working on 'proper' collection, especially with such a looooong horse.

What do you like to see on the lunge? Under saddle? At this point I'm not even sure how to continue asking for proper collection, I'm hopeless guys, help me learn.

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    03-05-2013, 01:07 AM
Well, you have a trainer, right? Doesn't she/he give you stuff to work on? Collection is pretty high on the traiing scale, so not something one focusses on much at the lower levels.

Would you be referrring to "connection"? Meaning, how well he connects and gives to the bit?

His neck shows a little bit of reverse muscling; the underside more muscled than the upper side. This is often indiciatve of a horse bracing against the bit. So, might be a legacy from his time running with his head in the air, especialy if he had a hard hand pulling him backward.

Did you do long and low type work?
    03-05-2013, 01:14 AM
Like I said, there can be little comment on his muscling in the first picture as it wasn't taken long after I got him and was directly after his days of running with his head in the air being an absolute dinkus.

I do have an instructor, she herself has very little Dressage background and yes I'm definitely aware it's up there on the training scale, I would like to start working on the 'basics' so when I do begin Dressage training I will have a foundation to work off of. We have been working with connection, he is not 100% consistent, but again- that is one of the building blocks, and I would love help in that area as well.

My coaches primary focus is in the jumper ring, and while she's a wonderful over fences coach we don't work on ENOUGH on the flat, hence the Dressage lessons when I'm not taking any classes and am working more so I can afford them

I definitely think his previous rider was quite hard handed, did a lot of drill work hanging off of his mouth. He no longer braces against the bit, save for the occasional transition, but is easily corrected. We have been putting quite a bit of focus on long and low.

AND I'm sorry if that post was oddly fragmented, I kept bouncing back up and trying to re-order my thoughts.
    03-05-2013, 01:21 AM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Well, you have a trainer, right? Doesn't she/he give you stuff to work on? Collection is pretty high on the traiing scale, so not something one focusses on much at the lower levels.

Would you be referrring to "connection"? Meaning, how well he connects and gives to the bit?

His neck shows a little bit of reverse muscling; the underside more muscled than the upper side. This is often indiciatve of a horse bracing against the bit. So, might be a legacy from his time running with his head in the air, especialy if he had a hard hand pulling him backward.

Did you do long and low type work?
At the very top of the pyramid in fact. I see "collection" all the time. Hanging on your horses face and kicking them to kingdom come is NOT collection.

Now, I am absolutely not saying that you are doing this at all. I have no idea of your riding ability or background. Just keep in mind that collection is at the top of the training scale and takes a long time to achieve in a true form.

As for your horse, I ride (and am considering buying) a warmblood with a incredibly long back, easily worse than your guy. He is PSG. So in answer to your question, your horse will be able to, but you may need to maintain patience if he is struggling with this conformation at points.
    03-05-2013, 01:29 AM
It definitely is, and it's a long term goal for sure. I'd just like to start setting the correct foundation for collection, and I suppose like Tiny said, work for now on achieving a proper and consistent connection.

That's nice to hear, Drummer. I try not to listen to some of the people I'm getting 'tips' from IRL who think we should leave Dressage to the big Warmbloods and stick to the jumper ring. Well I'd like to event, so it's time to suck it up, lol.
    03-05-2013, 01:42 AM
Hey! I get the warmblood thing all too well! I raised a reining-bred, grossly croup high QH (Drummer Boy) and took him to showing 1st and training 2nd before I ever considered a warmblood.

In fact, only a small majority of my trainer's client base are actually warmbloods. So I back you 100%

I would say that before you start down the road of collection, make sure your horse is elastic. It seems as though you have already started this process. I see you have started this with the lengthening and shortening of strides. In Training Level, you have to demonstrate a stretch circle, in First, the lengthening (and hopefully shortening) of both the trot and canter, and only at Second do you need to actually have honest collection.

I think that it would be good for you to work much the same way. You don't want to sour a horse to shortening his strides by pushing him before he is ready. As frustrating as it can be, these things take time.

I do want to say that I am happy that you are cross-training. I see many (NOT ALL) jumpers/eventers simply survive dressage, rather than reaping the benefits, but, then again, that could just be my severely biased opinion
    03-05-2013, 01:49 AM
I've wanted to start cross-training for a long time, but could only afford one lesson a week and didn't want to leave my current instructor and risk losing the discount I'm getting plus we've built a very close relationship, and I've decided to stick with her as far as she can take me, and once I can afford it just begin taking lessons on top of her lessons. But I honestly don't see what the fuss is with certain riders and surviving Dressage, it honestly excites me when we achieve the 'little' things. He'll give us a few steps of haunches in, shoulder in, etc. and while he isn't strong enough to maintain it being able to get the message across is exciting.

Define elastic for me in your terms? Are we talking adjustability?
    03-05-2013, 01:59 AM
I jumped for 6 years before I started dressage, and while I still do it for clearing their heads after a hard week, I don't think that I will ever jump competitively again. I am too addicted to those 'little things' you speak of.

By saying elasticity, a lot of what I do mean is adjustability of both stride and frame. Your ability to half-halt and have him shorten his stride with ease is collection. The half halt here is key. That is a concept so incredibly complex, I think my ability to convey that over HF is quite limited. If you do not quite understand a half halt (and you are most definitely not alone!) there are other threads on here, or your trainer may be able to offer you a good explanation. I am however leaning towards believing that you do understand this concept.
    03-05-2013, 02:03 AM
Also, I have failed to mention the imperativeness of your seat in all of this. Another thing that your trainer would be better to explain while you are under saddle. The half halt is much more from your seat than from your hands.
    03-05-2013, 02:11 AM
I don't think I'd go that far Jackson is definitely a jumper at heart, I don't think I could ever give it up competitively.

Half-halts are one of those things that I say I understand, but just can't (yet) find a way to explain them. But that makes sense, adjustability and accessibility seem to go hand in hand, and I can definitely see what you're saying.

So back-tracking a bit, then, to what Tiny brought up (connection). Jackson seems to have this deep hatred for single joints, his previous owner rode him in a single-joint snaffle and a nice, tight flash. Our progression of bits has gone from single joint, french link, back to a single joint (I'll have to post a picture, it was a 'training' snaffle by Herm Sprenger, I really liked it and he seemed to like it a lot more than the first snaffle) and now we've switched to a waterford / bubble bit, which I was a bit weary of, but he seems a LOT more comfortable with more joints in his mouth, and it isn't pinching, so I'll leave it. We've also removed the flash, and he's happy to no longer evade the bit 90% of the time. On the rare occasion that he does toss his head in the air, it's easily corrected, however he's not 'on the bit' 100% of the time which honestly is something I'm not sure how to address.

We work on pushing him forward through seat and leg, and keeping a contact, pushing him forward into the contact and 'playing' with the inside rein. I don't want to say I don't trust my coaches instruction, but I wonder if the reliance on the inside rein is technically 'correct' or if it's just an attempt to encourage a false headset. Especially for a horse who doesn't have the best relationship with contact in the past, recommendations? Exercises?

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