Pros and Cons of Teaching Collection - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-14-2008, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Pros and Cons of Teaching Collection

I remember reading a post not too long ago about getting a horse to collect and in a headset. Someone stated to be ready to lose little things like half halts......
I have been working on collection for several months now and Fella does really well at the walk. We had trouble transferring that info to the trot and then he got sick and was unrideable for about two weeks while he got over the flu. Once I began riding him again, I laid off from asking for collection at the trot and started to resolidify it at the walk and just worked on getting him back into shape. About a week and a half ago I decided to begin asking for collection at the trot, he easily began to collect himself with littlest cue from me! How exciting! I could feel his back rounding and his head looked sooo pretty, and his trot smoooothed! BUT as stated, the consequence of gaining collection is losing my half halts! And my once slow-loving horse likes to rush things now! Especially his trot!
Ahhhhh. Now it is time to work on half-halts again......any suggestions?
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-14-2008, 10:22 PM
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Use a pre cue with your one of your cues. Since collecting and half halting are very similar in cue, perhaps pre cue your half halts or your collection cue with something else from now on and then start weaning them off the cue and more into the pre cue until you don't use the same cue anymore.

ETA - For example, teach your horse that taking the reins and rolling your wrists is a pre cue to halfhalts. So roll your wrists with slightly taut reins so he can feel that and then make your new pre cue to half halting, eventually, he will half halt when you roll your wrists, then, use a slight alternating tap on each rein for a collection... or vise versa. My horse collects with alternating reins and half halts on equal taps but I think rolling your wrists is easier at first and less confusing than tapping.
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-14-2008, 10:26 PM
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No cons if you do it right.
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-14-2008, 10:39 PM
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A half-halt is nothing more than a pause asking your horse to collect up again.. it works hand in hand with normal collection.

Keep in mind that COLLECTION and HEADSET are not the same thing.
Collection refers to a horse working through itself, flexing its abdominals, rounding its back, working off the haunches, and having a stride that doesn't cover as much ground as with a working gait.
Headset just refers to the head being in a frame. It does NOT necessarily mean that the horse is collected. The horse can still be strung out and not working under himself, and have a nice headset.

With a half-halt, just think "pause" with all your aids for a split second; sit deep and tall, check with your reins, and ask for a halt with your aids... now before the horse halts, ask him to carry on in the gait you were in. There should be no break in gait. It's a simple motion that works well to get the horse working with you again, much like collecting up around your corners.

As Tim said, there are no cons to collection...when it's done right. You should not lose your half halts due to collection, it just means you perhaps aren't clear in your aids.

Edited to add:
the consequence of gaining collection is losing my half halts! And my once slow-loving horse likes to rush things now! Especially his trot!
This makes me think you're confusing collection and headset.
As I said before, collection is where the horse takes a stride that does not cover as much ground as a working gait. It should not be slower, but shorter. This means the horse should NOT be rushing at all. Once you achieve collection, you should be able to influence how long the horse's stride is, and should be able to shorten and lengthen it no problem... which is something to work towards.

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post #5 of 5 Old 05-15-2008, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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I don't think I am confusing collection and headset. I think that we are achieving some degree of collection, as I can feel his back round and his gait smooth (as well as a proper head)...I am also working with a trainer for both of us. I do appreciate the very thorough explanations for what to look for!
His collection at the trot is intermittent, and when he is rushing the trot, he is not collecting himself. Sometimes when I ask for collection, he gives easily....sometimes not. Whenever I ask for half halt, he neither collects nor slows, usually just pushes on.
For those of you who suggested that maybe I am confusing signals, perhaps you are correct. I have had to change signals for something else in his training once before, I believe because he is not a very sensitive horse. I am going to try your suggestions to see if I can make my signals clearer to him.
This is still all new to him (and me!) and although it isn't all there YET, I am excited that he is starting to understand.
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