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Hello everybody! :)

So my question has to do with collection/on the bit/whatever it should be called. I think in my stage of riding I am really concentrating on making sure the horses that I ride are staying light in their face, easy on my hands, holding the bit for themselves, and pushing from behind. In order for me to achieve this, I first start working on having lateral flexion mastered before I work on vertical flexion. When they give to the pressure, I release them. Then, in order for vertical flexion, I squeeze with both my legs, take up rein pressure. When they give, no matter how long it takes them, I give back the reins. The mare that I rode at school caught on to this very quickly and now ALWAYS stays soft in her face for me. I take up the reins lightly and she's got her nose in. She's even gotten to the point where I can gently squeeze my legs and she tucks her nose in.

I guess what I want to know is, am I doing this right? In the pictures below, is she behind the vertical? Is she avoiding bit pressure? How much pressure should I feel in the reins to know the difference from pushing against the bit and being "on the bit"?

Whenever anybody else rides her, her nose comes straight out and gets very heavy in her face and gets on her forehand. Its like no one knows how to ask it of her and she is more than capable of doing it! Then when I get back on her, I have to fix her up.

I'm not really sure what I'm asking, so I'm sorry if this sounds confusing. I guess I'm looking for more information on collection and being on the bit.








 

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Hello everybody! :)


I'm not really sure what I'm asking, so I'm sorry if this sounds confusing. I guess I'm looking for more information on collection and being on the bit.

First of all there are several threads (one recently) in the dressage section covering this subject.

As far as the pictures are concerned................

The top two I throw out because collection cannot be achieved on a horse not moving). In the other two pictures, no the horse is not in proper collection. No contact with the bit.
 

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Okay. Thanks.
 

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Anybody else? I wasn't able to find that other article.
 

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in the bottom two pics your tipping forward and ur hands are way too low and there is no contact with the bit so there is no collection, you need to be driving her more forward at this point and pic your hands up
 

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Your biggest problem is that you are creating a headset to 'induce' collection.

A horse's head falls on the vertical due to proper conditioning.

Putting your horse's head back in order to create said-proper conditioning, is backwards, and ultimately, inefficient.

You can argue that you're not pulling, and I would agree. You're doing something that is harder to train out--you are making a horse trained to back away from the bit. If a horse is supposed to create contact with the rein and take out the slack themselves, your horse will never do this. The moment she feels rein pressure, she was taught to release.

This is very hard to train out of a horse; the first thing I would start would be long and low, and your horse reaching for contact with your hands. Push your horse forward but don't restrict. You've got your work cut out for you if you want to work towards real collection.
 

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Your biggest problem is that you are creating a headset to 'induce' collection.

A horse's head falls on the vertical due to proper conditioning.

Putting your horse's head back in order to create said-proper conditioning, is backwards, and ultimately, inefficient.

You can argue that you're not pulling, and I would agree. You're doing something that is harder to train out--you are making a horse trained to back away from the bit. If a horse is supposed to create contact with the rein and take out the slack themselves, your horse will never do this. The moment she feels rein pressure, she was taught to release.

This is very hard to train out of a horse; the first thing I would start would be long and low, and your horse reaching for contact with your hands. Push your horse forward but don't restrict. You've got your work cut out for you if you want to work towards real collection.
Too right. The 20 year old I just got for my dad to learn on travels like this. Doesn't matter how much leg you put on and how much rein you throw away, that head does NOT come off his chest! I cannot for the life of me put him straight into long and low, it's next to impossible as he is so stuck in that frame. Instead, I use a million transitions, changes of rein and SHOULDER IN! About 10minutes of this and he starts to pick up his back and take up the contact. Being 20, it's going to be difficult to totally correct this behaviour, and since he is intended for my beginner father to ride, not myself, I'm not going to mess with him too much.

Sorry for the long story, but yes, a horse that drops back off a contact is an absolute ****** of a thing to correct!
 

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Collection ironically has nothing to do with the horse's head. It's all in getting him to use his hind end to bear weight instead of just using it to propel the front end forward. Once the hind end bears more weight, the front end, aka the shoulders become lighter, and the whole front end lightens up. It just happens to result in the head coming into that pretty head set, but it's just an after-affect of the shoulders being lighter.

There's a good book and helped me really start to understand how to properly manipulate my horse's hind and front end to get him to start to transfer weight toward the back of the bus. It's called Build a Better Athlete. It's 20 exercises. Some may seem very basic, but if you do them correctly, you'll start to feel your horse change underneath you and start to get an idea of what proper body usage really feels like.

From the pics, it looks like you ride with kind hands since your horse is giving to the bit very nicely. You probably already have the relaxation part going for you. Good luck.
 

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believe it or not you can achieve collectiogn without that much contact... I have seen people collect a horse without a contact. (well, onyl one person to be truthfull, lol) just wanted to throw that out there for all those people saying you need contact to acheive collection. :) by the way, geminijumper... you are on your way to achieving collection!! just keep working, it will eventually come
 

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Why is she on the way when she is putting the head into a false frame? (sorry OP... but it is what it is.)

Contact is not needed, but correct contact and a horse moving it's neck forward and up is needed. Your horse is moving her neck back and in.

Curious, is the first picture from the western barn at Findlay?
 

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Why is she on the way when she is putting the head into a false frame? (sorry OP... but it is what it is.)

I think, in the three horses in those pictures, the OP's horse appears to be the most receptive to the bit and will most likely seek the contact when ridden correctly instead of brace against the bit. If that's the case, then she is on her way to at least a correct start.
 

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The OP is riding in a kimberwick style bit. This bit does not encourage a horse to move into the bridle and use contact constructively, in my opinion. But it will teach them to back away from it.

You might consider trying a french link or simple snaffle and try again.
 

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I don't understand why people always refer to collection before they have even acheived a horse with a swinging back on 'on the bit'??? Collection comes after these basics, collection comes from a soft back, from correct muscling, from correct work, a horse that at least knows basic laterals etc. Hence why you don't see any 'collected' paces until elementary in dressage. Below elementary, all judges want to see is the horse working actively forward, seeking the bridle and swinging the back.

So really, the OP is not working on attaining collection, but more so just to understand how to get her horse working over it's back and into her hands.
 

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i didn't read all the posts.

but i would just like to say a good way to test if a horse is carrying himself (collection/comiing over the back) is to give with the reins (or let your horse chew the reins out of your hands) and see if your horse stretches down to seek the contact with the bit, if he does than you are working over the horses back and working from back to front.

if your horse raises his head and looks around you were in a false frame.

to me in the pics it doesn't seem that your horse is in a false frame and that you have the right idea).

your horse doesn't seem to be broken in the 3rd vertabrae (except in the first photo of you standing your horse is behind the bit there.) you need to push him into his halt/his bridle the same way you would in the trot and canter.

by the way you wrote in your OP it seems like you have the correct way.

pushing your horse into the bridle from his hind legs so he works over the back.

i do believe you first have to have relaxation, rythym and straightness before collection.


if you feel your horse get heavy in your hand that is a sign he needs more forward from your leg. also if he wants to stretch down in trot let him ( i know alot of people who want to keep there horse head up and "on the bit" and never let them stretch down and do a stretchy circle so there horse seeks the contact and works over there back MORE.

it is a great exercise.

i hate the term "on the bit" because it brings image of just a horses neck being on the bit instead of the horses energy moving from the impulsion of the hindlegs over the back and up the neck to the bit. also i hate the term "frame" as it is brings the same image as above. and doesn't allow one to think of elastic contact and softness.

i would much rather think "is he through?" and working over his back?

NOW FOR THE PICS:

pics of him standing: he is being brought into a frame by the hands and not from coming up from his hindlegs overhis back, as i said you have to push your horse into the bridle just like in walk,trot and canter for him not to be in a false fram and behind the bit. when you halt, think squeeze with your legs and block forward motion with your hands so that he halts under himself.

The riding pics: in the second to last pic it looks good, your horse is infront of the verticle( it is a good thing and means he is using his baskc and hindlegs) and seems to be raising his back and reaching under himself. he is not broken in the 3rd (good thing).

the last pic he has lost impulsion but is not being forced into a frame by the hands. more forwardness and he will regain the contact and reach farther under himself.
 

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^^ I don't think the OP's horse is using his back in those riding photos. The back is hollow, with the croup higher than the wither, and is no where near tracking it. It simply has it's head in and is pottering around with no engagement.
 

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if you read my entire post ( badly typo'ed but it was after 10 mins and couldn't edit) i wrote " more forwardness and he will regain the contact and reach farther under himself. " which to me means that i believe the horse isn't reaching under to his full potential"

we also do not know the conformation of this horse (maybe he is built a bit downhill? he is also NOT being ridden on level ground in the second to last picture and looks like is riding on downhill ground.

in the last pic he looks to be making a turn (or dropping his shoulder but the riders head is slightly turned so i will assume turn) .

good teachers point out the good AND bad qualities instead of just the bad.
 

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if you read my entire post ( badly typo'ed but it was after 10 mins and couldn't edit) i wrote " more forwardness and he will regain the contact and reach farther under himself. " which to me means that i believe the horse isn't reaching under to his full potential"

we also do not know the conformation of this horse (maybe he is built a bit downhill? he is also NOT being ridden on level ground in the second to last picture and looks like is riding on downhill ground.

in the last pic he looks to be making a turn (or dropping his shoulder but the riders head is slightly turned so i will assume turn) .

good teachers point out the good AND bad qualities instead of just the bad.
Yep but am I a teacher? Nope. And don't plan to be one either ;) PLus, if my coach told me that the sun shined out of my backside every lesson I would find someone who nitpicked. If you don't hear the negatives- along with an explanation of WHY it is a negative, you're never going to learn. And I think I have stated pretty clearly the sort of work the OP should do if she wants to get her horse through.
And down hill.... so? I'll have to dig out a photo of a Qhxappy mare that I had for a while. SHE was downhill, the OP's horse has nothing on her ;) And I competed her at State dressage championships up to elementary training some medium movements etc. within a year, from having done nothing other than a few trail rides.
I really don't care if the horse is downhill if youre just wanting to get it over its back.
 

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Yep but am I a teacher? Nope. And don't plan to be one either ;) PLus, if my coach told me that the sun shined out of my backside every lesson I would find someone who nitpicked. If you don't hear the negatives- along with an explanation of WHY it is a negative, you're never going to learn. And I think I have stated pretty clearly the sort of work the OP should do if she wants to get her horse through.
And down hill.... so? I'll have to dig out a photo of a Qhxappy mare that I had for a while. SHE was downhill, the OP's horse has nothing on her ;) And I competed her at State dressage championships up to elementary training some medium movements etc. within a year, from having done nothing other than a few trail rides.
I really don't care if the horse is downhill if youre just wanting to get it over its back.
hmm, i don't know why you are reading into my posts and putting words in them that aren't there... but here is more clarification for you.

i didn't say to only point out the positives either. positives and negatives need to be accompanied together or else people will get frustrated.

also if you don't want to teach, why are you on this thread?

just to clarify. i saw nowhere in the original post the question " is my horse collected?" ( though i will look again) it seems she wanted to know if her horse was through and working from back to front properly.

but i will humor you and carry on the subject of collection

as you (or someone)stated in an earlier post, collection and self carriage takes muscle and proper conditioning....so if this horse is downhill and just starting to get proper conditioning, it is hardly fair for us to pick it apart. even with correct riding it will take time.

i am saying is we don't know alot about this horse's conformation ,fitness level etc for us to pic it apart or the riding.

we only know what we see from a picture that is only what is happening that second.

you can take a picture of a horse that is being ridden FEI grand prix and have a split second look downhill and not tracking up and the rest of the test look amazing.

if you looked at the main subject of my post i pointed out a good way for the OP HERSELF to test if her horse is in self carriage. Not us. and explain how a horse reaches over his back from the impulsion of the hindlegs.

the top of the pyramid scale is collection. but you can't have collection without impulsion and coming over the horse back, you keep talking like it is a different thing all together and that they are seperate. when really collection is the end point of impulsion

collection is recycling the energy of the hindlegs over the back up the neck and back again.

collection is inextricably connected to extension.

i agreed the horse could come under himself more.

also a horse CAN be high withered and low in the croup and still not be collected and be INVERTED (leg mover).

examples would be of a horse doing piaffe and have the animation of the front end and raising, but no lowering of the croup and no animation of the hock. i see a lot of Grand prix horses today with all forhand action no hindleg action.

which would be called a flat,contracted piaffe.
just because a horse raises his front end doesn't mean he is collected. there also has to be lowering of the hindend.
 
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