Collection always comes last - always, always, always, always.
Why is it that we are being taught the opposite??? I was taught incorrectly as well - I saw people going around with thier horses "appearing" to be all collected..and I wanted that too. I rode front to back for years...but the day I found out how incorrect my training was - was the day I made sure I would change myself, to be a better rider for my horse...beacuse this is ALWAYS about our horses. They are the reason why we are here.
You cannot build a house from the roof down. You must build a strong foundation first and foremost....then when you have that strong foundation, then you can continue on building the rest of the house from the ground up.
A house without a good foundation, will be a strong, balanced, and centered house, that can withstand with correct cair and love.
You cannot pick up a Violin and play like a Violinist from the New York Symphony. No, although that may be the ultimate goal, we have to start with the basics, work hard and start from the ground up.
Same with riding - you cannot start with collection. Period. Riders who start from the front to obtain some sort of false idea of the horse working properly, is incorrect. We have to start from the gound up. For the horses benefit, not ours.
Top Trainers, Riders, Competators from all around the world preach this - because it is true.
Seat to legs to hands to soften.
Education, Education, Education.
Always start with the hind end, legs, back, neck, jaw, poll.
Now for a horse to be soft at the poll, must be a horse who is soft, supple and not on the muscle. Right? Makes sense.........when you think about it...but when it comes time to doing it....ha ha.....
Again, it starts from back to front, but YOU as the rider plays a BIG part in this.
When I am nervouse, tense, frustrated - this shows through my body. I tense up, and therefore my shoulders, elbows do....and then my hands.
Guess what happens then? My horse becomes tense, on the muscle and stiff as well - and I loose everything. Back drops, head flys up, mouth gapes open and I have to stop, breath and start over again.
You need to learn the function of your hands. We need to learn to carry our hands. We need to learn to allow our hands to support, lift, to remain soft, to be giving, to be taking when needed. Our hands must always be functional aids.
They must be giving, they must take, they must beable to ask, be asked. They must beable to soften, be softened. They must beable to move with our horses motion. They always have to be functional aids to allow everything to work together.
For a horse to be soft, we must be as well. Wont happen if we aren't. That doesn't mean that we have no rein contact or drop our reins all together - but we must not be tense through our body which will relect through your horse.
Seat To Legs To Hands To Soften.
- engaging back end
- engaginge legs to track up
- rhythmical, forward motion, free horse to beable to move under himself
- back lifted, engaging topline
- topline muscles effect neck, neck effects shoulders
- hands must remain soft and supportive to allow energy to recycle
- horse will then search for contact
The moment your horse gives - you MUST give back. The moment you get the correct answer through your questions - praise, praise, praise, praise, praise.
Always start at the walk. If you cannot do it at the walk, you have no business doing it at the trot. If you cannot do it at the trot, you have no business doing it at the canter.
All 3 parts must work together to get the goal in the end. All 3 must work together in unison.
Here is a vid of me riding incorrectly.
What I have learnt since that video - is that you cannot ride front to back. Leave the face alone, soften through your body and ride back to front.
You have to allow forward movement, you have to allow your horse to move into himself and open up. You have to allow the back end to work, to their legs, to their spine, and then to their necks.
The more you piss around with their faces - the more backwards you are going.
For your horse to be soft at the poll, you must be soft and be asking the correct questions to get the correct answers.
All this will be better explained and shown through a competant, educated coach.