Slowing and Collecting?
My horse is 6 and was trained for barrels (but never competed). We are working through some health issues right now (looks to be arthritis, but I'm getting a 2nd opinion, it's a long story). So depending on the severity of the issue, I'm starting to consider jobs for her that aren't so much impact on her joints. I want her to last! She comes from a long line of pleasure and race blood. Due to her not being sound, I've hardly ridden her at all. I do know she has a LOVELY trot but her canter needs work. She hasn't been taught to collect her canter at all! I'm looking for advice on teaching her to collect and slow her gaits (especially her lope).
For the record, I know working with a trainer is best, but we don't have any professional pleasure trainers in the area. I do know some people that are into it, but I honestly don't know how good of trainers they are. Also, I don't have high competition aspirations. I'm not trying to turn her into a World Show horse. If I (try) to turn her into a pleasure horse, we'll just be finding low-key local shows. If somehow we did AMAZING at that then *maybe* I'd look into AQHA showing down the road, but I am not expecting that.
I also wanted to add, she will be retired if she isn't sound enough to be ridden comfortably. But depending on what the doc says, if she does have arthritis that is controllable with supplements/injections/what have you, I don't think I want her tearing around a barrel pattern and having to turn hard. It would be less wear-and-tear in the long term to go a pleasure route.
Slow and collected gaits are just as hard as tearing about an arena, it takes strength as well. As for learning how to get your horse to round and slow it down, there are many articles on the internet, long ones because it's a lengthy process that would help you. This is forum is just way too limited to even scratch the surface.
I agree that it does take a lot of athletic ability, which once I get her back in shape shouldn't be an issue. There is less jarring impact then barrels though.
Yes there is less jarring impact, but the strain on joints to collect that much can do some damage on horses that aren't built for the movement. A lot of WP horses get joint injections while competing and later on in life, both as a preventative measure and because some actually need them.
I think you have an excellent plan! (providing Vet clearance of course).
Whether you ride English or Western, getting the collection takes lots of time. Time spent building the needed muscle strength. The classical riding scale may help you understand all the little steps needed to get where you want to be.
For example, my current horse came to me very greenbroke and underweight 2 years ago and we are just now beginning the Impulsion phase. You have to work them in order as they all build on each other.
Ah yes the pyramid. I remember that. With this horse, I'm really not sure where she's at since I've hardly ridden her.
Yeah, I see what you're saying. If she is still struggling with this then we'll just find something else to do. Mostly I just want to get her canter slowed down and collected. Her trot is LOVELY. But she was just trained to GO once she gets into a lope. It's downright scary in a big arena.
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