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Drills for Improving Collection
For the last few months I've been riding my horse with no real plan in my head about what to do and we're both getting bored. I think an important thing to work on before anything else is getting him to collect himself. Does anybody know of any exercises that would help teach him how to do this?
I just picked up a book real cheap but haven't had a chance to read it yet...
"The Rider's Guide To Real Collection" by Lynn Palm
It looks like a workbook with exercises. It is a little more english based but it has a few pics of some western style horses so I think it may reference the differences in western and english as far as head carriage and amount of contact on the bit.
I was looking for some different things to do too :)
I don't know how good I am at explaining..
I've been working on this too.
What I did was, at an gait, for my explanation will use the trot:
I would ask for the trot on a loose rein, SUPER light contact. I would let her go on her own three strides, so she has her head where she would put it.
Next I pick up my contact. So I can feel her mouth. Then I would drive her forward into my hands, if she would lower her head, my hands went with her.
This is as far as we've gotten, but she's learning to look for the bit. When she puts her head down (it's not on the ground, just very low and relaxed) I can feel her butt has more "swing" too it, more pushing up, i guess!
Oh, and to add, if she were to bring her head up after I pick up contact, then I would keep my hands with her, keep them very givingly, very following , when she lowers her head again, she gets a very slight release of my hands, and then I gently bring back the contact.
This taught her that there will be a release when she relaxes
Cowchick77 -- that seems like a great book. I'll see if I can find it :)
Lexiie -- I think I get what you're explaining. I'm really bad about the timing of the release because sometimes his give is so small I don't notice it. I guess I should work on that :)
Thank you guys for your answers :)
I've found that circles are very helpful in getting your horse to collect. Different sizes, and spiraling down from big circles to little ones a the trot and canter also helps. It encourages your horse to engage his hind end a bit more and have a more collected stride.
Also, figure eights are very helpful in collection because your horse will have to use his mind to complete the shape of the figure eight that you are asking of him. One exercise that was very helpful in getting my own horse collected at the lope was transitions during figure eights- i would trot the straightaways and pick up a lope for the curve, and then transition back down to the trot for the next straightaway, making sure she was relaxed at the trot before picking up the lope again the other way.
Hope this helps, and good luck! :]
I like to use different leg yeilding drills to help collection. I think that a stong back is really important to a nice collection and side passing, half passing and two tracking are great ways to strengthen a horses back. Its difficult for the to preform those manuevers without engaging their entire body, so you teach them to collect without them even knowing. Its a good change of pace from big circle/small circle and a great warm up/cool down.
Ditto on the circles. A nice, balanced circle requires the horse to use its whole body. I usually use my outside leg on my horse to ask for a full body bend and then take up contact to ask for her head to follow through with the rest of her. Once she gives I release to let her know she was supposed to do that. I barely have to ask anymore and she just gives.
I watch Clinton Anderson and the way he teaches collection is super simple and easy to learn.
Basically before you get on, your horse should know how to flex there neck and head to both sides. after you master that on the ground it will be allot easier in the saddle. continue flexing left and right until you can pick up each side with just an oz of pressure. from there at the stand still work on picking up with both reins until you feel your horse 'give' to pressure then release. if you continue this at every gait when ready you should good luck with collection.
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