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Bugs-n-Frodo
Jun. 17, 2011, 11:42 PM
I am working hard here. We are starting collection and, IT IS HARD! I have never ridden a horse I have had to TRAIN collection, I have ridden horses who HAVE been trained. I have a great instructor who pushes us out of our comfort zone, which, after too many years working on the "easy", is where we need to be. What I need to hear from my 2nd level and above friends is your light bulb moments. What happened or what made collection click. I get it, but I can't seem to get it consistently. I know my horse needs to build muscle and I know it is a process but I just need some... I don't know... camaraderie or something. :lol: So spill it, tell me the stories of when you were in my shoes, or, if you are in my shoes, what are you finding about the process?

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 18, 2011, 09:46 AM
First off you need a trainer who can explain how collection works. Then when you understand how it works you go and try it out.

It didn't take me a long time since I have a great trainer!

Think of collection in this way:

Go with your legs while your hands say no.

In other words, urge your horse forward and keep giving half halts. But keep the hind engaged!

The once you feel a step or two of collection you're like "Ohhh I get it!" and then you do it again.

lovey1121
Jun. 18, 2011, 10:11 AM
My first thought after reading your post is of tons of transitions and half halts (doing them correctly w/help of eyes on the ground;)), and that "click" of self-carriage and power, which of course didnt last too long, but was INTOXICATING, and made me work so hard for it every time I rode. What made it consistent were those transitions, shoulder-ins, w/TONS of half-halts and riding forward. One thing I had a hard time with was judging how much to ride forward once I "got" collection...:cool:-on-ground helped me feel that though I thought my collection was good, it wasnt "sustainable", either because I'd lost the forward-- I'd just sat there enjoying the cool collected feel, and neglected the HH's, SI's, forward, etc.

Its so important to have experienced :cool:-on ground to remind you to keep riding through the euphoria of collection, and to help you recognise those collected first steps, and to build on them...also, when to change the subject or call it a day;)

Do you have access to an upper-level horse, or one who is at least a confirmed 2nd-3rd L horse, to remind yourself how colection feels? I think that's huge, if possible.

Hang in there!

dragonharte8
Jun. 18, 2011, 10:33 AM
DutchDressageQueen said it perfectly.
You know you have got it when your horse comes up in the withers and shoulders.

mjhco
Jun. 18, 2011, 10:52 AM
Remember that collection has NOTHING to do with SLOW

lovey1121
Jun. 18, 2011, 11:57 AM
Think of collection in this way:

Go with your legs while your hands say no.
In other words, urge your horse forward and keep giving half halts. But keep the hind engaged!

With respect to DDQ, though I know what she is trying to convey, evidenced by her follow-up explanation, thinking of collection as any kind of "kick and hold" is really dangerous to riders beginning collection. Again, DDQ, your follow-up is a better explanation. Too many people have the "kick and hold" idea in their heads; we see them everywhere.

Again, DDQ, I totally get what you're saying--I'm just super-cautious about telling collection newbies anything that they may construe as holding which they may then turn into pulling, then more kicking, then more pulling, yadayadayada.

TickleFight
Jun. 18, 2011, 12:42 PM
I can definitely remember the summer that I "got" collection with my first horse. It really is and "ah-ha" process.

I remember our transitions becoming completely off my seat and leg. I remember the first feeling of those BAM half-halts that totally rebalance the horse and make them stand up and sit down at the same time.

Enjoy the sense of accomplishment with your horse. It won't be quite the same with the next one.

millerra
Jun. 18, 2011, 01:06 PM
Not an expert - on the same path as OP, just a touch beyond...

The ideas that helped me the most: ride the hind legs quicker and think of the hind legs as being the platform that you are always riding under.

The skill that helped me the most was really learning how to sit and then being able to find, connect w/ and influence the hind end... and be able to feel what its doing back there. By keeping my feel tuned to the back end helped to lesson my tendency to ride the front end.

For my horse - lunging him in relatively loose side reins and going from a big circle w/ a forward reaching trot to a small circle and allowing him to rock back on his own to balance helped him to learn collection and gain strength w/ out me on top. I did this work in both trot and canter and it really seemed to help him. My instructor showed me how to do that exercise - the horse needs to understand half halts on the lunge line. It is cool because the horse will automatically lift his poll and drop his head towards the vertical w/out pressure up front as he sits and engages.

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 18, 2011, 02:33 PM
With respect to DDQ, though I know what she is trying to convey, evidenced by her follow-up explanation, thinking of collection as any kind of "kick and hold" is really dangerous to riders beginning collection. Again, DDQ, your follow-up is a better explanation. Too many people have the "kick and hold" idea in their heads; we see them everywhere.

Again, DDQ, I totally get what you're saying--I'm just super-cautious about telling collection newbies anything that they may construe as holding which they may then turn into pulling, then more kicking, then more pulling, yadayadayada.

yes I understand what you mean. I did not mean for it to sound like kicking and at the same time yanking in the mouth.

Oberon13
Jun. 18, 2011, 03:32 PM
I agree that it's probably one of the best feelings I've ever had on horseback...and I'm still working on training maresy to collect. This past week in a lesson, we worked A TON in counter canter making sure that I could keep my girl STRAIGHT by softening her on the inside rein (which was really on the outside, but it's the inside rein because it's on the inside of the bend), but connecting her into the outside aids. We did a 20-meter counter canter circle to a 20-meter true circle (like a figure eight...or, in my head, a snowman). After the work in counter canter, the true canter circle was up, through, rhythmic, and POWERFUL. We ended with some medium canter that kind of blew me away....

I'm learning that the collection IS coming, just in small pieces because of maresy's lack of strength to hold it for very long. I can't let my overly-driven personality ask for too much at once...a few strides here, a few strides there...pretty soon, those gaps where I lose the collection will get smaller and smaller until we're trucking around like the big guys! ;)

Bugs-n-Frodo
Jun. 18, 2011, 04:17 PM
I'm learning that the collection IS coming, just in small pieces because of maresy's lack of strength to hold it for very long. I can't let my overly-driven personality ask for too much at once...a few strides here, a few strides there...pretty soon, those gaps where I lose the collection will get smaller and smaller until we're trucking around like the big guys! ;)

:yes: This ^

We are on the EXACT same page. I get it, he gets it, I have ridden it before so I know what I am supposed to feel, I have just never TRAINED it before. It's challenging, fun, rewarding, but challenging.

My trainer is good, she does explain things well, so really, I am not looking as much for advice as I am personal experiences. I find them helpful and sometimes, I find them motivating.

meupatdoes
Jun. 18, 2011, 05:22 PM
With respect to DDQ, though I know what she is trying to convey, evidenced by her follow-up explanation, thinking of collection as any kind of "kick and hold" is really dangerous to riders beginning collection. Again, DDQ, your follow-up is a better explanation. Too many people have the "kick and hold" idea in their heads; we see them everywhere.

Again, DDQ, I totally get what you're saying--I'm just super-cautious about telling collection newbies anything that they may construe as holding which they may then turn into pulling, then more kicking, then more pulling, yadayadayada.

Completely agree with this.

Collection is not "go and whoa" at the same time.

In good collection:
a.) the horse is already forward without requiring gas from the legs. Legs can hang, horse has own motor. This has been established well before collection is even attempted.
2.)the seat holds the collection. Not the hands.
3.) then the seat *allows* (as opposed to drives) the horse out of the collection. If you need a driving aid to leave the collection, it wasn't good enough. If you need a driving aid to maintain the collection, still not good enough.

Let go, let go, let go.


Very different from any kind of "adding gas but whoaing at the same time." Of course it isn't cranking and spanking. But it also isn't "leg into a half halt" either.

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 19, 2011, 01:02 PM
Completely agree with this.

Collection is not "go and whoa" at the same time.

In good collection:
a.) the horse is already forward without requiring gas from the legs. Legs can hang, horse has own motor. This has been established well before collection is even attempted.
2.)the seat holds the collection. Not the hands.
3.) then the seat *allows* (as opposed to drives) the horse out of the collection. If you need a driving aid to leave the collection, it wasn't good enough. If you need a driving aid to maintain the collection, still not good enough.

Let go, let go, let go.


Very different from any kind of "adding gas but whoaing at the same time." Of course it isn't cranking and spanking. But it also isn't "leg into a half halt" either.


In the beginning to teach a horse collection, the go and no is basically what you do. When the horse gets it, and stays forward, then you take your leg off, and you guide your horse through the movements. Then when you feel the slightest change in your horse you may need to give him a squeeze with your legs to keep him going, or if you feel your horse is going towards "running" then you give a slight half halt to keep the same collection and balance.

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 19, 2011, 01:08 PM
I get it, but I can't seem to get it consistently.


Practice, practice, practice.

The more you practice, the better it gets, and the few steps of collection become a short side of collection, then a long side of collection, and before you know it you can do a whole round in the arena in collection. Of course this will not happen over night. your horse also needs to get stronger and be able to carry himself better.

What I find helpful is this:
if you are on a horse that likes to put his head in a low position, then in the warm up, do not put his head in a low frame, but rather keep him more towards competition frame. then when you go to collect it is easier as he will most likely not fall on the forehand as quickly.

when you have a horse that likes to put this head up way above the vertical, then warm up in a lower frame. You will feel then he will also get "looser" in his back, and then for that horse it will be better that you rode him lower and longer in the warmup because then you should be able to keep his head on or a little below the vertical easier when trying to collect.

Valentina_32926
Jun. 20, 2011, 01:04 PM
Two things helped me:

1. The ability to do a square halt - focusing on using my legs to push horse into a square halt from every gait. Trot to halt is the easiest.

2. The ability to obtain self carriage on a LONG rein. Trainer taught horse first, then me on horse. It took a couple of months to enable me to ride this correctly but if I can't get horse to work correctly on a long rein then shortening the reins will not help get us there either.

Once you have the self carriage the collection just comes.

Bugs-n-Frodo
Jun. 20, 2011, 02:38 PM
We are a work in progress. Unfortunately, we are headed into our worst time of year, summer. Temps today are expected to reach 110 and they will be between 110-115 all week, and, most likely through the rest of the summer. Since I am on that subject, anyone have suggestions on how to keep working on collection but not over-work my horse in this heat?? Right now I have transportation problems as my car is in the shop, so this week, I am at the mercy of transportation availability, so early morning rides are not available to me. When my car comes back, the earliest I can get there when my BF is working is 7:30am or 8:30, depending on the day. I am not worried about the days he is off, I can go as early as I want.

WILLOW&CAL
Jun. 20, 2011, 04:04 PM
I'm in no waay ready for collection but I agree with what Valentina said about achieving self-carriage first. My trainer and I have been working for months now to teach my horse the concept of self-carriage and as a test I managed baby-collection at the trot for a few strides while on a long rein, stretching up with my body and asking for it (by sheer fluke, because I dont know how else) with my seat. I cannot describe how it happened but it felt like I was given the keys to heaven for a second there :). Then of course it all fell apart...

DutchDressageQueen
Jun. 20, 2011, 04:16 PM
I'm in no waay ready for collection but I agree with what Valentina said about achieving self-carriage first. My trainer and I have been working for months now to teach my horse the concept of self-carriage and as a test I managed baby-collection at the trot for a few strides while on a long rein, stretching up with my body and asking for it (by sheer fluke, because I dont know how else) with my seat. I cannot describe how it happened but it felt like I was given the keys to heaven for a second there :). Then of course it all fell apart...

When you keep practicing, those moments become longer and longer! :)

TickleFight
Jun. 20, 2011, 04:22 PM
I'm in no waay ready for collection but I agree with what Valentina said about achieving self-carriage first. My trainer and I have been working for months now to teach my horse the concept of self-carriage and as a test I managed baby-collection at the trot for a few strides while on a long rein, stretching up with my body and asking for it (by sheer fluke, because I dont know how else) with my seat. I cannot describe how it happened but it felt like I was given the keys to heaven for a second there :). Then of course it all fell apart...

Another good way to test self carriage is to extend forward your inside hand for a couple strides. At the beginning do it in corners, circles, shoulder-in etc. Your horse should maintain proper bend, impulsion, balance, and contact with the outside rein.