Getting her collected...HELP!
I recently got a TB mare, She is 10 years old and has had an extensive jumping career so far (up to 3'9 at class A shows) and I got her from a trainer who was downsizing b/c she was moving across state to a different barn. Anyways, She is great, my only problem so far is getting her collected! When I was test-riding her and had the trainer's help on the spot about all her cues, she was great! But now I'm unsure of what is helping or what is flat out confusing her! So, now until the trainer calls me back, im looking around for some help of starting her from base one with flextion and collection, because I can get her to collect at a standstill, but she wont hold it in any gait.
This is a thread where a video would be extremely beneficial. It is hard to say what you are or aren't doing without seeing what is going on.
Hmm so what you said about test-riding her and she was great...makes me think she can do it but you aren't asking right. No offense intended. And what you said about her being collected in the halt gave me a clue. Now a horse cannot be collected in the halt because there is zero impulsion. What she has is a headset. And yes a headset cannot be maintained in the gaits because it's not true collection. What you need to do is learn the theory of collection, then perhaps go and try again. And honestly it would be great if you could get an instructor.
Theory of dressage:
A horse's hind end is the engine and it's back is the tracks. The energy needs to be running from the engine to the neck, engaging the muscles in the stomach and neck to carry itself. Imagine that the energy is toothpaste and the bridle is the cap. In order to push the toothpaste up and near the top, you keep the top on and squeeze the toothpaste. So you use the bridle, not to stop the horse, but to contain the energy. Don't hold the reins, just half-halt whenever you have to. Doing lots of bending and counter-flexion while in a steady trot will relax her neck muscles so she can carry herself. Remember to think of sitting up, but slightly away from her neck so she can carry herself easier. Use your seat not the reins to slow her down.
I could go on and on but I could do a much better job if I knew how much you knew or if I saw a video :) message me I'd love to help you!
I could certainly use help here, too, and despite the theory in analogies (which, by the way, Kat, your analogy above was very useful, so I imagine it will help the OP), MY problem is eliciting collection with my seat consistently.
I only ride with a trainer, and I still have trouble...I know it's 100% me because the horse I ride collects beautifully for my trainer almost automatically and for me about 50% of the time, so I must be doing something right on occasion, just not consistently enough to believe I am riding her properly at all/most times. If possible I'll get some video of myself today and (IF OK WITH OP) post it, and if the OP can't get any video right away of herself, you can critique me and possibly help us both?
Sooo frustrating to me, as I'm betting it is for the PO, as well, because when you know your horse is capable, it MUST BE something the rider isn't doing/communicating correctly! (Great thread, OP! Thanks for putting it out there! I hope you dont mind if I learn along with you?)...If you'd rather I don't get involved, I'll be happy to start a second thread on the subject. This is YOUR THREAD...I was just happy someone else asked something that I've found hard to bring up!! :0)
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Hey thanks! I would do my best to offer any advice to you as well if you post a video :)
The best advice i ever had about collecting was to sit real hard in the seat, shorten your reins, sit up real tall, and ride uphill. It was about a year ago that i bought a thoroughbred quarter horse cross, and i totally understand where the taking over comes from, they are huge massive horses and they are very strong. But past that whenever my horse would start taking over or getting strong,i would do that and it really helped me out. Hope it helps you too!
Actually that is GREAT advice, Kinsey, & phrased for even mental slow-pokes like myself to "get" what you mean! It's funny, because Victory doesn't get super strong or anything but she fails to use her back and her back END unless I ask correctly & she falls on the forehand, hollows out and I SUSPECT it's because I am SO CAUTIOUS WITH HER MOUTH and ride with SUCH LIGHT CONTACT while simultanously not driving AT ALL with my seat, she just gives up the effort!
I'm always saying to my trainer "OK NOW my butt's in the saddle!" because SOMEHOW I've learned to ride with my butt like, HOVERING EVER SO LIGHTLY in the saddle, rather than PLANTING MY ****ED A** and squeezing my cheeks together a bit.
I often wonder if its something left over from my jumper days, when I'd half seat the canter, two point the trot whenever possible and just generally NOT CONNECT WITH MY TUSH! These dressage equines NEED TO FEEL THAT BUTT FIRMLY IN THE SADDLE! Not necessarily digging in and driving HARD, but those who work from the SEAT NEED A SEAT TO WORK FROM...Duhhh!
She can feel if I have 1/10th my weight to the inside and she'll come off the rail. She couldn't care LESS what I'm doing with her face...its all about mt balance in my tush. Darned well-trained horses!! (wink)!
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Hmm...I hate to come across as disrespectful or anything...I have to disagree with Kinsey. Collecting your horse is a bit more delicate business then just "sit real hard in the seat, shorten your reins, sit up real tall, and ride uphill." Although you can force your horse into a headset that way, it's not really correct. See if I did that to my horse he would immediately get tense and although I was holding his head down he would be fighting me intensely and it would be terrible LOL I'm just sitting here thinking about it...
Of course every horse is different. My horse has a tendency to become tense and to stiffen up if I'm not being correct.
My number one tip is to promote relaxation as much as possible. You should not have to hold your horse into position...I'm not saying that when you are teaching the horse a new movement you won't have to hold him together a bit to help but the goal is self-carriage. It's not as fancy and blah as it sounds. Basically you should not have to have a death grip on the reins, you should have contact but should always be thinking of letting go. You need to test your horse, constantly, even when you think/know it isn't going to go well. The more you do this, the more relaxed they become, and the easier it is to get them truly connected over their back.
Hope this makes sense;)
To keep a horse moving along, you should use your legs and your whip. Keep a mobile yet fairly relaxed seat. You can use your butt when asking for changes in gaits or half-halts..but other than that keep it relaxed!! :)
Oh absolutely! To tell the truth, I still can't quite figure out WHAT EXACTLY a "driving seat" ACTUAKKis...all I know is that I have a really hard time SITTING on my SEAT...like, I'm not actually riding in the saddle unless I'm doing no stirrup work...it's more like I'm riding from my balls of my feet in the stirrups, NOT relaxing INTO the saddle, and not giving the horse that firm contact point. As well, I do keep VERY LIGHT contact on her mouth...juuust enough to feel the corners with my ring fingers, & when I try to get her to round out and push her back UP into the saddle, I give a slight bit of pressure at the 4th finger, alternating between my left and right hand fingers, sit up, look up, and give an upward stroking slide of my heels on the sides of her belly...that with a slight squeeze but not a kick or a strangle-hold with my legs. I also TRY TO REMEMBER TO ALLOW EACH side of my BUTTOCK EVEN, balanced contact with the saddle. THAT'S the part I mess up with, & thus liked Kinseys advice about planting the buttocks "really hard" in the saddle (as this is my "forgotten contact" point); that will help me remember to involve that body part equally! ;0)
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