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-   -   REALLY understanding collection. (http://www.horseforum.com/dressage/really-understanding-collection-43019/)

Spyder 12-18-2009 06:30 PM

REALLY understanding collection.
 
Ok for those that have some smattering of dressage and collection I am going to throw out something that requires a little thought.

It is great that people constantly post that in order to achieve collection you need the hind end under the horse but real collection is so much more.

I have seen horses "in frame" and even with the hind end under themselves, but when you get on some of these beasts you realize they are not really collected. They are not through or even that light but some of them can go far if the judge does not base their marks on one componant that is often missing in todays horse shown in its "collected" state. Suspension.

So I challenge anyone to describe a correctly collected horse that is through and carries (shows) true suspension.

Post a video if you find one.

ridergirl23 12-18-2009 06:56 PM

this is a good post, it really interests me because i have heard great dressage trainers (some classical, some none classical) talk about collection, some say that suspension should only ever be seen in extensions...and i have heard some say that suspension is needed, i respect all of these trainers and it has confused me for a while, i personally dont really have my own opinion on it because i am not up to the level where the horse should be truly collected to its max. but from my un-educated eye, i think to much suspension is ugly, but it is beautiful to have the right amount, then that brings me back to what dressage is. Dressage was (not really anymore cuz we dont use usually horses in war as much) originally training a horse for war. How useful would suspension be in war? then again, the sport has changed a great deal since then... AND again, at the high school of dressage those horses dont have too too much suspension.but the grand prix horses at the olymipics do, jsut look at Totalis. haha this has really left me wondering. :) thnx for posting this thread

maura 12-18-2009 07:19 PM

My personal definition of collection is that the croup must actually physically *lower* and that there should be increased angulation in all the hind joints, with a related elevating and lightness in the front end.

I heard a clinician describe a Training/1st level frame as "sitting on the top of the rainbow" -- you feel the horse's back come up and you feel like you're sitting on top of the arch, suddenly the gait quality improves and you feel the horse's motion connected back to front. That's on the aids, or connection.

Collection is a huge step up from that lovely place. Collection feels like you're riding uphill, and like you have way more horse in front of you than behind. It should also feel like you're sitting on a coiled spring or a primed rocket.

Many people use "collection" casually to mean either *connection*, either with or without a frame, or shortening. They're not wrong, but they're not using the term in its most precise sense.

StormyBlues 12-18-2009 07:46 PM

I would say collection is when the hind end is a good bit lower than the shoulder. The horse drops almost all it's weight back on it's hunches and uses them to propel the motion, and also regulate the speed. I also think that there should be some suspension. You bring up a very good point Spyder, I would like to see others opnions on this.

MissDiva 12-19-2009 02:06 AM

There are so many dressage words that people typically try to associate with a look, but they (in my opinion) are actually feelings, or "ways of going". Collected, through and suspension are not always tied together. A young horse who has not yet learned to collect his body can be through to both reins-and will in fact rely on that to learn proper collection.

"Through" Is the energy travelling from the hind end of the horse, through his body and into the bit. A horse who is not reaching into both sides of the bit is NOT through on both sides of his body.

"Collected" Is the ability to have the same forward drive and energy, but to keep some of it instead of allowing the horse to trot forward and leave it behind (while creating new energy to replace it). The hind end has to be strong enough to reach under the front and lift it a little bit, so that the energy has a place to live. I know this sounds totally bizarre, but it's a feeling and it's hard to describe :)

"Suspension" In short, is total muscle control. The horse never hikes his legs, he uses the muscle to LIFT them, then he uses the muscle to LOWER them, rather than dropping them or flinging them. The moment between the lift and the lower is what most people think of when they think suspension.

That's what I think... but I'm very curious to hear everone else... including you Spyder.

MissDiva 12-19-2009 02:17 AM

I just read over what I wrote and I wanted to add that If you were riding a collected horse and you opened your hand every so slightly, the energy would escape and the horse would drive forward while staying through... close your hand and the dam would be back up, holding the energy in your hands. Maybe that is more clear?

Spyder 12-19-2009 09:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MissDiva (Post 494482)
I just read over what I wrote and I wanted to add that If you were riding a collected horse and you opened your hand every so slightly, the energy would escape and the horse would drive forward while staying through... close your hand and the dam would be back up, holding the energy in your hands. Maybe that is more clear?

Exactly. This is where many are confused in that they feel that only by blocking the front with the reins/hands and driving can a horse be collected but the controled management of built up energy is the key to creating the expression of suspension in the truest way.

Just a point Diva...


"Suspension" In short, is total muscle control. The horse never hikes his legs, he uses the muscle to LIFT them, then he uses the muscle to LOWER them, rather than dropping them or flinging them. The moment between the lift and the lower is what most people think of when they think suspension.


We must not ever allow the horse's controlled movement to become stilted or hesitant with stops at the point of most bend. This will occure in some horses and is incorrect. Hors Blue Matanee (sp) come to mind in this instance.

MissDiva 12-19-2009 10:41 AM

No, but the muscle HAS to take a split second to change directions. A horse (or any creature with muscles) would appear to pause mid stride UNLESS he were to rush through the movement. Like the moment of straightness between bends, if you don't allow it to happen you'll get stuck. What I was attempting to express is that that split second is what people think suspension is and what they focus on, but I do know that trying to extend that split second of change is like asking someone to dance with their butt cheeks squeezed all the time. I think the suspension is carried equally through the entire movement of the limb and that, like most things is Dressage, is not a moment or a look, but a way of moving.

Spyder 12-19-2009 11:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MissDiva (Post 494604)
No, but the muscle HAS to take a split second to change directions. A horse (or any creature with muscles) would appear to pause mid stride UNLESS he were to rush through the movement. Like the moment of straightness between bends, if you don't allow it to happen you'll get stuck. What I was attempting to express is that that split second is what people think suspension is and what they focus on, but I do know that trying to extend that split second of change is like asking someone to dance with their butt cheeks squeezed all the time. I think the suspension is carried equally through the entire movement of the limb and that, like most things is Dressage, is not a moment or a look, but a way of moving.

Very true but I am referring to more of a hovering movement that is taking the slight break in totall forward movement into a realm that may look impressive to the novice (and some judges) but is incorrect.

MissDiva 12-20-2009 04:08 PM

Ok, I think we're on the same page with this one.


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