What are some good excercises to help a tense and quick horse to collect up properly? At home I use nothing but my seat and legs to get him well collected. He does not like a lot of contact with his reins due to some problems he exprienced in the past with a heavy handed rider. At home he is a nice, calm and good listener and collects up when asked and varies in speed when asked. At shows, he gets a slighty nervous and doesn't listen to my seat or legs and therefore has no collection. He hollows his back and quickens his pace. I keep my body movements and posting calm and slow and give him tons of half haults before I ask for any movement but like I said before he desn't listen to my body when he starts to get a little tense. I do as many transistions as possible along with many smaller circles, bending and flexing when possible in the warm up.
Well, as you've probably already discovered, you cannot collect a tense horse. Without relaxation, half halts just can't go through. The only thing I can think to suggest to help him settle down at shows is to give yourself plenty of time to walk him on a long rein so he can get used to the surroundings without having anything asked of him. If he's more of the "need to blow off steam" type, lots and lots of transitions (we're talking every 8 strides or so) to get his attention focused on you instead of giving him time to worry about everything. That's about all I can think of.
I posted this in another thread in response to make a horse move out but this is a very good collection exercise as well. A really good exercise to make this horse collect, is the extended walk & collected walk. It all begins with the walk & you build from there. Ok I am going to try to explain this to you, sorry I am not the best at explaining instructions but here goes....Sit deep in the saddle with your legs well back of the girth. Elbows in, hands still, do not move your hands during any of this, when I say raise your hand I am referring to a lift from the elbow, that's it. Get him walking, collect him up a bit by raising your hands and applying a squeeze with your calf, if he does not respond, use a dressage whip and tap him by your leg until he does, annoy him like this until he responds. DO NOT INCREASE rein pressure, you just lift. Release when he give to you, then squeeze alternate calves on his sides & push with your seat to drive him forward, alternating squishy fingers on the rein, get a rhythm going. Tap him with the whip at your leg if he lags. Keep on it, it's not stronger cues, just the same annoying ones, eventually he'll move out & you might even get a bit of "air time" in between strides if he has enough shoulder reach. When he's doing that for you, collect the walk. Half halt, make your backbone rigid to your seat & calf pressure, weight in your heels & squeeze both the reins for a second, release. When you can feel him rounding for you (even a tiny bit), release & stroke his neck & let him walk as a reward. Keep at him until he can hold the frame for longer periods of time. After you get this down, repeat at the trot. Good luck!
I can't upload videos due to dial up connection, here is a pic. I am sorry it's small and poor quality. BTW this picture was taken over a year ago when he was very green still. It was the only one I have on this computer at the moment.
I think you mean you'd like him working with his hind and lifting his back, being engaged?
I know this topic has been beat to death, but is 'collection' not a totally different thing? I know you have to have the horse engaged to collect, but is the OP confusing say a 'collected trot' to just an engaged horse at the trot? Or am I the one confused? Lol my thinking is collected is another thing just like extended, working, etc.
It has been beaten to death. Well, not to death but to tatters.
I think the Op is saying that at a show, the horse is so worried about external things that she can no longer make the connection via the rein that she is used to having at home, and the horse will not flex his head to the bit, but rather raises it above the bit, hollows out , braces the body and neck and just runs his anxiety out forward.
It's nice that the horse has some forward energy but that he loses his connection to the rider is what makes him uncomfortable to ride. It is all mental, in the fact that it's the horse's mind going far away from his rider .
So, my advice would be to do what ever makes the horse's mind come back to the rider. She says she does a lot of transitions and I think that's good. Lot's of bending would be good, too.
Getting the horse to go forward off the leg, so maybe actually asking it for more forward than it's going woud restore the rider as the "driver" rather than the rider hanging on the reins and holding the hrose back. It's tough, because as we all know, many horses really get distracted in a show environment. It takes a good rider bring the horse's mind back to his business and back to following the rider in good confidence. I know that I have struggled with this , too. so, though I might have some thoughts on the matter, it is not to say that I could do this perfectly myself.
I took him to a show yesterday and the judge stopped me and told me he just needed some collection (Which I already knew, lol) and once achieved he would be a great horse. I told her that at home he has great collection, it's just that in a show enviroment he loses it and he has too much forward movement. She was understanding and said it wasn't uncommon.
I'd MUCH rather have a horse with too much forward than one without it. A horse that comes behind the bit is much harder to make honest to the bit than one that comes above the bit, as yours.
If your horse won't give you longitudinal flexion, than go to lateral flexion.
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