Uncollected..how do I get her collected? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-20-2008, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Uncollected..how do I get her collected?

So I think I solved last weeks problem, she just needs to be ridden twice or more a week then she's fine. She still is a little excited but it's manageable.

I'm not doing dressage or anything but I'd really like to know how I can get Lacy to collect herself a little bit more. She just kinda plods along and she doesn't look where she's going etc (I've been using groundpoles but she stops watching where she's going like 3 steps after the poles, basically she needs an arena full of groundpoles. Haha)... Is it too late for her since she's 20?

Thanks for being so helpful, this horse has basically questioned everything I thought I knew.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-21-2008, 07:43 PM
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Right now im retraining a standardbred whos accustomed to having an extremely high headset.
I've managed to get him to lower his head and neck through a lot of circles and bending. Its crucial. Once you've got a REALLY GOOD IMPULSION, you can begin to introduce some half halts, just light and sponging, this is going to bring her head down. Then a jiggle to the inside to get that nice bend, that should bring her nose in slightly. Use plenty of leg so you dont lose ANY of that impulsion....those are my little tips =P

My note on side reigns: a lot of ppl use them to help lower the horses head and 'force' them to collect. Dont rely on them. Yes they can be helpful however, using them will help your horse stretch properly and activate/warm up the proper muscles. I use them as a warm up for the first 10 or 15 minutes. So yeah, id give that a try maybe if youre up to it. BUt dont over do it, or your horse will associate it specifically with side reigns and thats not proper.

OKay, as for your mares age.... its really dependent on her health. She seems healthy from what youve said so there shouldnt be any problem. Shes not that old yet. So no problems....when she gets a little older, she may become stiffer so youl'll want to include extra long warm ups and a lot of stretching. However i doubt her age will come into play with this for quite some time. Collection is definitely not out of the big picture for you two

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post #3 of 6 Old 10-21-2008, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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So lots of circles and bending?
She doesn't seem to understand half-halts either. I'll squeeze her gently and squeeze back on the reins really slightly and she interprets that as stopping? Is that not how to half-halt? How do you teach half-halting? Lots of transitions?

It's not that her head is high, really, it's usually pretty low (except when we're cantering, then it comes up a bit). I've tried gently bumping up on the reins to get her to raise her head and give me some contact but it really doesn't work.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong and not tapping into what she can offer... Maybe I'm sending her the wrong ideas?

I don't think I'm going to try side-reins because she's pretty new to this whole being ridden thing (hasn't been really ridden in 2 years) and some things just set her off and freak her out like no other, and I really don't want to experience that.

I'll definitely work on lots of bending and circles. I've been doing lots of serpentines at the walk because she gets pretty excited about doing them at the trot and she starts going super fast, and since she doesn't seem to understand half-halts... But she can do circles! Hehe.

Last edited by Wallaby; 10-21-2008 at 11:42 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-22-2008, 11:25 PM
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If she's stopping with your half halts, then you're using too much rein. Try just closing your fingers on the reins or steadying your hands.

To ask for more collection, try pulling your inside rein back 2-3 inches, so her head is just in a bit (should be able to see her eye). Give her more inside leg to keep her on the rail. Keep your outside rein steady. Keep the rein back and your inside leg on (squeeze or tap if you need to) until you feel her head relax and her back come up. IMMEDIATELY let up on your pressure (rein and leg) and pat/reward her, even if she only have 1/2". Keep asking like these until you get a better and more immediate response. Be sure to ask going the other direction too .

Circles, figure 8s, and serpentines are also great work. Use your legs to bend her around the circle. Lift UP your inside rein (not back, just straight up) 2-3" to get a nicer bend in her neck. Keep your outside rein steady so she doesn't bulge her shoulder. LOOK UP and around your circle/figure. When you change directions, let her straighten out for 2-3 strides, then change bends.

Always remember to keep her going FORWARD. Collection must start with impulsion, which comes from the rear. If she loses impulsion, she will shorten her neck, but she will tip on the forehand and get strung out behind. True collection goes from tail to nose.

And no, it's never too late! You won't be competing in 3rd level with her (not likely anyway, lol), but you can still encourage her to use her body more effectively. She will build better muscle and get in better shape for riding, which will extend her riding career.
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-23-2008, 11:01 PM
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transitions transitions transitions.
That helped my horse ALOT to round his back and push himself from underneath himself.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-24-2008, 04:45 AM
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I'm in the process of teaching my OTTB half-halts at the moment, so in the meantime I use a market harborough to encourage correct head carriage and use of the back muscles. I find they are fantastic- a lot safer than draw reins (dangerous in the wrong hands, I've only used them once on an instructors horse at their request!). Usually has 3 settings- very loose, medium, tight. I usually ride my horse on the very loose, then medium setting, I've never used the tightest one.
What you do with your hands doesn't affect the harborough at all, it's basically up to the horse to decide whether to have pressure on it's mouth, or hold itself correctly!
Here's a video of me riding my boy with a market harborough- gives me a chance to ask what I want without having to worry about collection because he's mostly doing it himself.
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