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stoicfish
Apr. 1, 2010, 03:32 PM
I was on U-tube checking out a posted link and ran across a young girl who was adamant about Western pleasure horses being collected. From everything I understand, they are the furthest thing from collected. Is there something I do not understand or is the term have a different meaning for those in Western Pleasure? I have read several articles about how it is a concern that Western Pleasure needs to work on balance over the emphasized "slowness" of the gaits.
So educate me fellow Cothers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B39vqtB02dM

netg
Apr. 1, 2010, 04:05 PM
Historically, western pleasure horses had to move off their hocks, lovely balanced, shorter strides than a dressage rider would want - but still showing collection. These were horses meant to work cattle, do rollbacks, etc. - and western pleasure in the show ring meant a horse capable of doing that work, but just a nice, pleasure to ride. In the late 80's things started to get extreme where they wanted to have the heads down and the horses going as slowly as possible. I don't remember if there was an actual rule that judges were to disqualify any horse whose ears dropped below the withers in a class, or just encouragement to place those horses last, but when I was showing a quarter horse in '91-'93 the goal was definitely a poll even with the withers. Collection was talked about in the western magazines, instructors gave good information on using your seat and legs to ask your horse to lift its back, lateral work to improve self-carriage and get the horse to hold itself collected even when you were on a loose rein. Now, I think a lot of people believe that's "collection" because it's a slow, short stride - but don't have the fundamental knowledge to understand what collection actually is, or that western pleasure horses used to show it when they went around a ring.

Similarly, in dressage you see people who think a horse is extending wonderfully if it's front legs are flipped out far in front of it even if the rear hooves don't reach the hoof prints of the front hooves. I would say that's also an incorrect belief based on the current trend of wanting big movers and forgetting what their back ends are supposed to do. (Obviously, not ALL people! I think the people who know that's not collection have been chased away in the QH world, at least from competition - but I hope those who know what extension, balance, etc., are stick around the dressage world.)

NOMIOMI1
Apr. 1, 2010, 04:25 PM
In actual western pleasure, I have not seen any real form of collection or even a straight horse.I still show it today :) But my horse rides haunches in and hops instead of canters lol.


In "Western Riding" where you have lead changes, ground poles, and such, my horse is straighter and more "collection" is used to enable us to do the work, HOWEVER, the term is rather loose.

Reining is the closest, but still loose terms of collection as the wither doesnt exactly come up as the hind engages so its not truly "sitting".

That term in any western even is loose as a friggin goose :)

merrygoround
Apr. 1, 2010, 04:59 PM
This month's Dressage Connections has an article by a western trainer-Al Dunning, who trains reining and cutting horses, observing the differences in training. His comment that"in the beginning we rock the bit in the mouth" "just sliding it side to side", set my teeth on edge.

His earlier comment that "You can take a really good reining horse out on the trail, I don't know if you'd take a dressage horse up a mountain", really didn't set too well with me either.

There have to be some western trainers out there who have a little better knowledge of the conditioning, mental and physical, that goes into a top dressage horse. I doubt that the trainer I worked with was the only one on the face of the earth who hacked GP horses out in the surrounding countryside.

MassageLady
Apr. 1, 2010, 06:26 PM
I can say for sure, that my dressage horse would and did go up 'mountains', she came in 1st and 2nd in her 2 CTR's she was in. and was the best trail horse I've had. She beat warmbloods in dressage at their facility! they weren't very happy about that one.
I think there's collection-and there's too much in your face and having them go to slow' collection-which IMO is what the 'western pleasure' people have now. I'd much rather see a horse using his haunches, and able to actually move! YOu'd get nowhere on a trail with those horses!

Gry2Yng
Apr. 1, 2010, 07:16 PM
Well, to be moving THAT slow, they have to be using their hind ends to a certain extent. I saw a few that were doing an unrecognizable gait during the trot, but other than that, they were light on the forehand and in "self carriage" of a different sort.

Hevonen
Apr. 1, 2010, 09:31 PM
I don't know about all western trainers, but the one at the barn I ride at is adamant about getting their backs up and working from behind. He does western pleasure and is all about getting the horses off their forehands - none of his horses are dragging themselves along on their front legs, I can tell you that much. I have to admit that it seems to me a lot of dressage riders scoff at western riders, but in reality the western and dressage training has many similar aspects.

I've ridden western, though I currently just jump and do dressage with my TB. I've been working with a friend's WBX and when I ride at the same time the western trainer is riding, we can often discuss my friend's horses' engagement and collection (and lightness of the forehand) without any confusion despite being from different disciplines.

Many of the western pleasure horses are spur trained - they pick their backs up and collect when tapped on the belly with spurs. As far as I understand it, the collection itself slows their legs. If their backs aren't up and they aren't breaking at the poll, they lose the bounce in their backs that comes from hind end engagement and their gaits become false and flat (you can see the difference, just as you can see a horse become flat in the dressage ring). The trainer at my barn always says that you can slow a horse down when you need too, but if you lose the purity of the gaits, you're in trouble.

I don't know... I feel like the western trainer at my barn knows his stuff, and I don't think I'd ever say his horses go around uncollected and on the forehand.

[/rant] :D

netg
Apr. 1, 2010, 09:42 PM
Hevonen - exactly. Unfortunately, that's not what MOST western trainers do these days, which is why I decided to switch disciplines to dressage. I'm having to get used to a different frame, horses with longer strides, and learning what the lateral movement I always did as training is supposed to look like in a show ring... but it's all basically the same.

The western trainer where you are sounds a lot like my old trainer. He didn't use spurs, either, just seat and legs, and we all rode with two hands most of the time. Lifted and round without lifting the head means the hind end doesn't drop down as much/front end doesn't look as lifted - but it's still a type of collection if it really happens. For most of the horses n that video, it was not there at all.

With all the western trainers I have ridden with in the past, dressage was an absolutely necessary part of training. In fact, once I started riding dressage as a show discipline I didn't think I understood what half halts are, as I listened to how hard they are... but were something we always had to do. And when your horse is travelling on a loose rein, it sure better respect your seat if you want to attempt to ask it to round when it starts to drop its back!

Hevonen
Apr. 1, 2010, 10:00 PM
@netg - Hurray! Like I said, I can't speak for all trainers out there, but it's good to know at least some people understand that a REAL western pleasure horse drives from behind.

Actually, my western trainer does use spurs - as an aid in telling the horse to collect. I think everyone should ride a spur-trained horse once in their life, it's pretty cool! And man, some of the horses he's trained can REALLY lift their backs. Most people seem to think the western spurs are used to make a horse go, but the modern use is to ask them to collect. They're also used to tell a horse to stop from any gait. Squeeze your spurs on a horse that's spur trained, and you'd better have your heels down and your butt in that saddle, because they're gonna slam on the breaks (and a lot of them stop with their hind end tucked under them, too).

The youngsters who haven't really learned to go around on a long rein and respond correctly to leg/seat/spur aids to collect are ridden two-handed often in a snaffle bit, and lemme tell ya, they round up just like dressage horses. In fact, when he gets done with one of his current horses, maybe I'll just steal him for dressage...

Also, as a side note, I think NOMIOMI1 said the horses aren't straight? They don't travel straight, but they're supposed to be straight on an angle, if that makes sense? Their hips stay in, but they don't bend so that their front legs are straight and their hips are in like you would in haunches in. It's more like a slight leg yield down the rail, as I understand it. A western pleasure horses' body should be in a straight line with no counterflexing.

stoicfish
Apr. 2, 2010, 01:15 AM
Thank-you everyone for your input. I appreciate it. So to the people that say there is an element of collection - so do you see it in the video I linked to? And if so please explain. At the canter I noticed the horse having to use their heads to transfer weight to be able to get his front end up. It seems there is a lot of weight on the front end of these horses in the video?
BTW i also agree that not all extravagantly movement in horses is collected.

angel
Apr. 2, 2010, 06:15 AM
I guess you will have to put me in the camp that says the video does not show collection. Most of the horses are executing gaits that are impure. This tends to be true of many horses that are trained for strictly pleasure classes. I do not find it as true for horses that are well-trained for the working western classes.

We can look at western in the same way we look at dressage in that many of our upper level dressage horses are being shown without the collection needed for the level being ridden. Instead of saying "collection," however, in dressage we say that the horse is not "coming through." "Not coming through" implies that there is some collection, though not "completely" there.

Al Dunning, is one of the top working western trainers in the Quarterhorse industry. I understand what he means about dressage horses not being taken out on the trail. He is not speaking of a horse that is ridden by an amateur owner. He is speaking about upper level horses that are, for the most part, in training all the time with a top trainer...just as he, himself, is a top trainer in the western world.

From what I have seen, which has been over a long time, but a limited area of the country, there is a somewhat different mind-set as to what is required in the training of a western horse as compared to what is required for the training of a dressage horse. Both groups want well-trained horses, but how "well-trained horse" is defined is slightly different. "Well-trained" for the western horse tends to mean a more rounded training, both in the ring and out, while that phrase for dressage tends to mean ring riding only. I would say that the cross-country folk have a mindset closer to that of the western world in expecting the horse to be more well-rounded.

netg
Apr. 2, 2010, 09:29 AM
So to the people that say there is an element of collection - so do you see it in the video I linked to?

Nope.

I couldn't handle watching the whole thing because I hate what most western trainers are doing to their horses now. To me, there SHOULD be collection... but for the most part it has become some perversion of the gaits which is off balance and unable to do anything else. Even if a western pleasure horse is to be used in horsemanship, it has to learn to balance better so it can do transitions at the correct points, halt from a lope, lope from a halt, etc. While watching that video I didn't see any horses who would have been capable of doing those things.

Hevonen
Apr. 2, 2010, 02:28 PM
I can't honestly say I watched the video - I was just posting my feelings on western and collection in general. However, I can do that now...

And I think that that rider in the blue starts off with SOME collection (albeit not a lot at all) but seems to lose it fast (as in, within a few strides). I see a LOT of horses with their noses out too much for my personal taste, and correspondingly their backs are dropped (aaaand they seem to really lose that true jog, it's replaced with something akin to a shuffling gait). It's so easy get into the "my horse is going really slow so I must be doing it right" mindset... and it seems to me that a lot of these people are falling into it. I actually see it in dressage too - people think because a horse's trot is slowed and their neck is round, that they are doing a collected trot. Too often the horse is sucked back and not truly working with it's back up.

Didn't watch much more than a few seconds, I'm not a huge fan of watching western pleasure classes. :winkgrin:

I'm in agreement with netg, nothing really collected about that class IMO.

NOMIOMI1
Apr. 2, 2010, 02:38 PM
Lets put it this way, MOST of these horses (ones good enough for senior western world) came out of the box moving like that.

In the yearlings class you will see horses move like this without ever being put in side reins on the lunge.

A low swinging hock DOES NOT our term for collection make.

But it IS a form.

Now, as a poster above said SOME collection is needed to go that slow, and I would agree with that. But the horse built to naturally take weight in the hocks and joints is much easier.

dressage_queens
Apr. 2, 2010, 11:30 PM
I have no steady trainer, so when I need help with my young mare I turn to my farrier, who is a champion reiner. After an hour with him I have a whole new understanding of lightness, engagement, and a rounded back. She is not yet ready for collection but when she is I will know where to turn.

faluut42
Apr. 3, 2010, 01:26 AM
collection invloves shorter, HIGHER steps.

in western pleasure the steps arent higher, and the horses are level, not uphill.

That collection means in dressage is different from what collection in western pleasure is.

Gry2Yng
Apr. 4, 2010, 12:28 AM
Akkkk! You are making me watch this again. Rider in blue, some collection. Rider in purple, not even trotting - how do you get to a championship and not recognize that. When the music starts, they all seem to move on a bit, is that a call for some sort of different trot, cause I see more "collection" there, in the sense that the horse is carrying weight behind.

At the lope, I saw one horse, a chestnut with lots of white, that was actually in a three beat gait usually known as a canter. No collection from any of the horses in the ring.

So how many judges do they HAVE? There are at least three guys with clipboards in the ring. And who WINS? Yes, I know "Potential Diva", but which one is that? OMG that purple one won some money!

What do you even need the trot and canter for if the goal is to move so slow someone can walk next to you?

spirithorse
Apr. 4, 2010, 01:44 AM
:no:Checked USEF and AQHA rules yet I could not find any description for 'collection' in a western class.
USEF, in the western trail class has under the scoring section listed as 'minor faults' - over or under flexion, out of balance, poll to high or too low to throw horse out of balance.

The back being up, hindquarters engaged, length of stride being equal front and rear, and height of poll - - is not addressed by AQHA and USEF

stoicfish
Apr. 4, 2010, 04:32 PM
Sometimes people in different disciplines use terminology differently. As I understand it collection is a body position that allows the horse to shift its weight backward in order to increase balance when changes in direction, speed or gaits are called for.
I cannot find this in the body position or movement of the horses in the above mentioned class.
I can see some in this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-x9hBU3Eow) , but it looks different as the horse is built more downhill.
This (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgG_Gwy7Ysg&playnext_from=TL&videos=wPRpky-BN_Q) shows a high degree of collection.

spirithorse
Apr. 4, 2010, 05:53 PM
The reining horse is not collected, is heavy on the forehand, back and hindquarters are not engaged. The shoulders are not giving the forelegs any length of stride.

The bull fighting horse is collected and is a very athletic horse. Notice the rider maintains the contact and rarely wavers which allows the horse the ability to use his body correctly.

A collected horse will have the back up and the hindquarters engaged and this can be seen by the equality of the angles of the cannon bones of the alternate legs.

NOMIOMI1
Apr. 4, 2010, 06:32 PM
Spirit: I disagree with them being heavy... The reining horses IMO are the lightest of the group (western disciplines)

The bull fighting horses? Cranked into a shank bit from a running pair of horns is not collection IMO.

Collection is shown at the top of dressage

Coyoteco
Apr. 5, 2010, 02:44 PM
Historically, western pleasure horses had to move off their hocks, lovely balanced, shorter strides than a dressage rider would want - but still showing collection. These were horses meant to work cattle, do rollbacks, etc. - and western pleasure in the show ring meant a horse capable of doing that work, but just a nice, pleasure to ride. In the late 80's things started to get extreme where they wanted to have the heads down and the horses going as slowly as possible. I don't remember if there was an actual rule that judges were to disqualify any horse whose ears dropped below the withers in a class, or just encouragement to place those horses last, but when I was showing a quarter horse in '91-'93 the goal was definitely a poll even with the withers. Collection was talked about in the western magazines, instructors gave good information on using your seat and legs to ask your horse to lift its back, lateral work to improve self-carriage and get the horse to hold itself collected even when you were on a loose rein. Now, I think a lot of people believe that's "collection" because it's a slow, short stride - but don't have the fundamental knowledge to understand what collection actually is, or that western pleasure horses used to show it when they went around a ring.

Similarly, in dressage you see people who think a horse is extending wonderfully if it's front legs are flipped out far in front of it even if the rear hooves don't reach the hoof prints of the front hooves. I would say that's also an incorrect belief based on the current trend of wanting big movers and forgetting what their back ends are supposed to do. (Obviously, not ALL people! I think the people who know that's not collection have been chased away in the QH world, at least from competition - but I hope those who know what extension, balance, etc., are stick around the dressage world.)

Oh, this is such a pleasure to read. So few people know what WP *was*. It's my understanding that it is not at all what it was when I showed WP (and what I occasionally see on youtube - a bit shocking sometime). When and where I showed, there was collection and we did flying changes, roll backs and other such moves, all within the wp class. When you have very limited use of your reins, you definitely use your seat.

Coyoteco
Apr. 5, 2010, 03:01 PM
Thank-you everyone for your input. I appreciate it. So to the people that say there is an element of collection - so do you see it in the video I linked to? And if so please explain. At the canter I noticed the horse having to use their heads to transfer weight to be able to get his front end up. It seems there is a lot of weight on the front end of these horses in the video?
BTW i also agree that not all extravagantly movement in horses is collected.

No. I almost didn't watch it at all because I've seen some of that on youtube recently and it just makes me sick.
WP was a good class at one time and to see this is very disappointing.

I finished reading Netg's other posts and may have to reread them again for fun! When people see the class on this youtube, they can never be convinced that there once was a class called wp where these horses at the world show would have not made the first cut.

J Lav
Apr. 5, 2010, 04:38 PM
I can't see any collection as we understand it from a dressage point of view at all!!!

This is the definition of a collected trot from the british dressage rule book.. (I have put in capitals the bits I think are completely missing in the horses shown in the vids).

"The horse remaining ON THE BIT moves forward with HIS NECK RAISED AND ARCHED. The hocks being WELL ENGAGED, MAINTAIN AN ENERGETIC IMPULSION, thus allowing the shoulders to move with greater ease in any direction. The horses steps are shorter than in other trots but he is lighter and more mobile."

It is also recognised that when the steps become shorter that they become higher with a more defined cadence and not the shuffling that the WP horses do.

Therefore you can see that these horses are not fulfilling the necessary requirements for collection as we use it in the dressage world because they do not work in an uphill carriage with any energy and impulsion.

netg
Apr. 5, 2010, 05:21 PM
I can't see any collection as we understand it from a dressage point of view at all!!!


And you wouldn't, even if those horses showed collection, as it is not a dressage class.

Collection is the transfer of weight to the hind end, and use of the hind legs to propel a horse forward, rather than weight shifted toward the forehand.

In dressage, that means a frame in which the head and neck are elevated. For a cutting horse, that means a frame in which the head is down pointed at a cow... but hind legs are pushing that horse forward.

A reining horse could not do a soft sliding stop if it weren't collected.

My old horse could do what was essentially a pirouette canter - only he was doing it with his neck level and flat. That's not a typical amount of collection possible in that frame, but he was ridiculously athletic and powerful so he could. Collection is not defined by head position or speed - it is defined by balance, a shift in weight, and a lifted back. Of course those don't look like collected dressage horses, any more than a collected hunter might. Dressage doesn't "own" collection, even if collection in dressage does eventually reach a much more collected version than other riding disciplines.

Gry2Yng
Apr. 5, 2010, 05:58 PM
netg - nice post. Self carriage is another part of this I think. Other disciplines tend to ask for self carriage much sooner in a horse's career and they do so in a different frame.

netg
Apr. 5, 2010, 06:55 PM
Self carriage is another part of this I think. Other disciplines tend to ask for self carriage much sooner in a horse's career and they do so in a different frame.

That's for sure! A western horse actually showing some collection (not a lot in dressage terms) will scoff at what a dressage rider wants to call self-carriage in collection. It's all a spectrum, and different types of riding show more or less of one element depending upon their priorities.

Something also not included in other types of competition, at least not to the level it's included in dressage, is the detailed description of what each movement should be. Where you can have a finished western pleasure horse at 3 or 4 years old, dressage uses the detailed descriptions as an attempt to guide you to train your horse properly and steadily to reach the highest levels that horse can reach sound and happy. This is actually a huge part of why I switched to dressage, as well - all the details and levels really make it easier to continue developing and growing in your partnership. The only comparable kind of levels, to me, are regarding jumping height - but I like my seat deep in the saddle far too much to have ever been much good in hunters or jumpers!

spirithorse
Apr. 5, 2010, 07:01 PM
Self-carriage is what actually creates collection. Self-carriage requires the back be up and the hindquarters thorougly engaged.
So view the horses, if the angles of the cannon bones of the forelegs and hindlegs are not the same then the horse is not in self-carriage/collection.
It the forleg trails then the horse is heavy on the forehand and the shoulders are blocked. If the hindleg is trailing then the horse is not using the back and the hindquarters are not engaged.

netg
Apr. 5, 2010, 07:11 PM
Self-carriage is what actually creates collection. Self-carriage requires the back be up and the hindquarters thorougly engaged.
So view the horses, if the angles of the cannon bones of the forelegs and hindlegs are not the same then the horse is not in self-carriage/collection.
It the forleg trails then the horse is heavy on the forehand and the shoulders are blocked. If the hindleg is trailing then the horse is not using the back and the hindquarters are not engaged.

Other disciplines would call that balance, not self-carriage, but consider the need to have contact on the reins (sometimes pretty solid contact) and constant half halts a lack of self carriage.

I'm not trying to dispute the definition of self-carriage within dressage - trying to show how what dressage calls self-carriage may be scoffed at by other disciplines, just like collection in other disciplines may be scoffed at by dressage enthusiasts.

spirithorse
Apr. 5, 2010, 07:18 PM
I am agreeing in part with you.
Self-carriage means exactly that and is not created by the rider pulling on the horse.

Gry2Yng
Apr. 5, 2010, 08:03 PM
Yes, but I think a horse can be in self carriage without having an upper level dressage frame. I can show you video of a lovely young hunter that is in an uphill balance (shoulders elevated) but his poll is only level to slightly higher than his wither and he require no contact to carry this balance. I am sure if we found some video of cutting horses we could see the same, although I am not sure where a cutting horse carries its shoulder, I know where its eye is and I know it is in self carriage.

This is a great discussion. (Will see if I can find that video and load it.) I am not sure I agree with the concept that self carriage is what creates collection. Your post seems to indicate the opposite, that without collection there is no self carriage.
Self-carriage requires the back be up and the hindquarters thorougly engaged.

spirithorse
Apr. 5, 2010, 08:28 PM
collection does not require the head being in the air....

Gry2Yng
Apr. 5, 2010, 08:58 PM
collection does not require the head being in the air....

Sorry. Which discipline has their head in the air. Missing your point.

spirithorse
Apr. 5, 2010, 11:17 PM
dressage does not believe collection exists unless the head and neck are elevated

Gry2Yng
Apr. 6, 2010, 10:32 AM
Got ya. To me, "head in the air" has negative connotations, that's just how I use it. "Why are you letting that horse run around with his head in the air?"

netg
Apr. 6, 2010, 12:19 PM
Got ya. To me, "head in the air" has negative connotations, that's just how I use it. "Why are you letting that horse run around with his head in the air?"

I think that's another one where someone from a stock-type show may actually have that reaction, even though dressage is clearly not running around with the head in the air. :)

NOMIOMI1
Apr. 6, 2010, 12:27 PM
In most cases traveling 'flat' in dressage is a negative thing.

These horses travel pretty flat.

Reining was the only disc that I actually asked for the horse to be round EVEN in the show ring.

But in west (wp) and hunter (hus) the horse was to be nosed out quite a bit :yes: