"OKay- to simplify, Collected, means to 'bring together', shorten /compress, and would be the opposite of strung out,.
The FEI defines it differently.
"But more importantly is where the center of gravity lies. Think of collection as a loading of the hind legs- a shifting of the center of gravity to the rear.
Effect of head and neck position on vertical ground reaction forces and interlimb coordination in the dressage horse ridden at walk and trot on a treadmill - Equine vet. J., Suppl. 36 (2006) 387-392
In HNP1 peak forces decreased in the forelimbs; in HNP5 peak forces increased in fore- and hindlimbs.
Conclusions: HNP5 had the biggest impact on limb timing and load distribution and behaved inversely to HNP1 and HNP6. Shortening of forelimb stance duration in HNP5 increased peak forces although the percentage of stride impulse carried by the forelimbs decreased.
Discussion: At the walk, regardless of the statistical significance, virtually all changes of force and temporal parameters showed a concurrent direction in HNP1 and HNP6, and a concurrently opposite direction in HNP3 and HNPS.
"...Although the impulse redistributions between the forehand and the hindquarters seen in HNP1, HNP6 and HNP5 were statistically significant, it should be noted that these load shifts were small (between 1-1.8%). Similarly small shifts in load to the hindquarters «1.8%) are reported by Roepstorff et al. (2002)..."
...Collection may, therefore, be a reflection of an increased vertical impulse of the body that indicates a more impulsive gait. The decreased StD promotes a faster build-up of force, increased FZpeak and results in prolonged SpD. Perhaps the perceived shift in weight due to a reorientation in movement direction towards the vertical as is indicated by the concomitant increased loading of the fore- and hindlimb. We therefore suggest that the impulse shift to the hindlimb is a compensatory mechanism. To achieve the redirection of the resultant force vector acting on the centre of gravity of the horse into a more vertical direction, the body has to increase stiffness. This reasoning is supported by the decrease in range of movement of the whole thoracic back (TIO-T17) in HNP5 (Gomez Alvarez etal. 2006).
In conclusion, no impressive shifts in load distribution between forehand and hindquarters caused by changing the HNP were observed. However, in the unrestrained position and in the position with the neck and head extended forward, load was shifted at the walk towards the forelimbs, whereas in the extremely elevated position load was shifted to the hindquarters at walk and trot. A shift of impulse from the forehand to the hindquarters is not necessarily associated with a reduction of FZpeak in the forelimbs. In a movement pattern where forelimb StD decreases, as observed in HNP5, higher peak forces are to be expected. The experiment demonstrated that an extremely high neck affects functionality much more than an extremely low neck.
"Because the balance has been shifted to the hindquarters, the weight in the reins is light and pleasant.
Begs the question, then - why do dressage riders use a lot more pressure on the reins than western riders? Why do dressage riders talk of riding with the reins in their FISTS instead of FINGERS, and say it is dangerous to ride with the reins in your fingers? Why did a dressage rider use 20-25 lbs of pressure to stop a horse at a canter, and a reiner use 5 lbs, both using the same bit? Why did Clayton measure 8 lbs of pressure for a half-halt, and alternating between 4-6 lbs of pressure at "light contact", vs 1 lb of pressure for slack - and most western riders prefer slack reins?
Why is it that it is bad to nag a horse with your legs, but good to nag a horse with the bit? Why would constantly bouncing your leg against the horse dull the horse, but doing the equivalent with the bit make him "soft"? Why would ANYONE call this "good riding":
Repeating the myths of dressage does not make them true.
" Pleasure horses can benefit from collection as well because performing collection works the entire muscle structure of the horse like an all-body workout. Because horses are presumed to be ridden their entire lives, good muscle structure of the back especially not only improves a horse's ability to carry a rider, but can improve his quality of life as well.
Again, repeating myths will not make them come true. Muscle use is very specific. When you do a bicep curl, the fibers used to create the first 30 deg of motion are different from the ones creating the next 30 deg, and so on. If you exercise the bicep thru the last 60 degrees of motion, you will have a very strong bicep - for the last 60 degrees of motion.
Again, the back does not bend. It does not round up. The muscles of the back to not work that way. They work to stiffen the spine, protecting it. The stiffen to allow the back to transmit energy from the hind legs, not to the bit, but to the shoulders, moving the front legs - those useless appendages so often ignored in the language of dressage.
How do you strengthen the back? By riding. By riding in turns and riding up and down hills. By doing transitions in gaits and speeds within gaits. By riding the horse thru the maneuvers you need him to be ridden thru. Am I to believe these horses are not athletic and strong?
Odds are, that horse has not emphasized "collection". Not the "collection" that dressage riders boast of. He probably isn't used to doing "half-halts" every time his rider wants him to change a speed or make a turn. The fact that many horses are ridden their entire lives without a half-halt should suggest, at least, that half-halts, and bouncing the horse off the bit, and holding him together so his energy doesn't "spill out" the front is not needed for an athletic horse.
Notice this horse, on a winning run in a national championship, using its elevated withers to quickly and athletically turn:
And this one, likewise:
Me neither. It is simply and undeniably false to say collection is a prerequisite for fast turns, accelerating, or a strong, athletic and responsive horse.
"It always surprises me, why those that don't show, that don't ever want a horse that has a higher degree of training, are the ones most vocal against it
You completely miss the point. What you call "higher degree of training" isn't "higher" unless one defines the goals. This is a high degree of training, and I would hope we could agree it takes a LOT of training to achieve it:
But that is not good training for what I want from a horse. I want the horse to use its judgment, and the horses I know would say, "Aw HELLLLL NO! We're going AROUND, not OVER!
" I deliberately train my horses to refuse me if I ask something stupid.
Of course, good judgment comes from bad judgment, so the only way a horse can learn good judgment is by making mistakes - just like a human. That requires one to ride a horse into situations that will, sometimes, by accident, overwhelm it. But no horse can learn to think well without the chance of failure - just like humans cannot.
Training a horse to use independent judgment is not "low riding". I argue it is, if anything, BETTER horsemanship than teaching a horse blind obedience, since it gives the horse confidence and improves the horse's chances of staying alive. It works with the best of the horse's nature rather than smothering it with demands for unquestioning obedience.
Training Bandit to go past scary things on a loose rein is not low training, while bouncing of the bit is high training. No one here says no one should be able to compete in dressage. It was a guy who loved dressage who taught me the concept of giving a horse rein when he is scared, instead of trying to hold him tight. And his advice proved extremely effective with Mia. It is now paying benefit with Bandit.
But training a horse's MIND to exercise independent judgement is not the goal of dressage. Yet training the body is easy comparing to training the mind. Folks may poo-poo the idea of calming a bolting horse, so that the bolting horse turns into a running horse - but I've tried it, and it worked. I know - I couldn't have REALLY tried it. Mia couldn't have REALLY been bolting when she squirted diarrhea out the back. When my daughter said her eyes were rolling like slot machines, she was just making it up. After all, if a self-taught rider could do it, then what about those trained riders who have NOT been successful? Hmmm?
But the horse has a mind. Unlike a previous post on this thread suggested, a car is a pee-poor analogy for a horse. I've never had to train a car to go right when I turn the wheel. But all of my horses have needed training to turn softer. We do not control the horse. Based on what modern scientists have measured, we have gone centuries without even realizing HOW the horse moves
! We can only influence the mind. We do not create impulsion with OUR legs. We can only ask, and train a horse to respond with impulsion to a cue.
Lilly, a horse I rarely write about, learned to wither rein. I preceded a request for a left turn with pressure to the left on her withers. Same with a right turn. Before long, she would turn left or right in response to pushing with my fingers on her wither. I felt a little silly, so I stopped do it. But it worked. It was just a cue. We cue horses. We do not control their bodies.
Still, if anyone wants to train in dressage or for sustained collection, no one on this thread has said not to do so. Some of us have merely said it is not needed for a good horse. It is pathetic that such a statement is considered radical or a cause for outrage by so many on HF.