Saturday, January 31, 2009

Collection - Part 1 - Definition

Def'n of Collection
There is a lot that has been said about collection and why we need it in a horse. It is one of the biggest parts of Body Control or what is now being called Western Performance Horse Development.I encourage you to research the topic on the internet; even YouTube. A lot of great stuff has been written about collection. I will include some links at the bottom of this article.

It is certainly important to talk about collection when we talk about advanced training but it is also important when we want a horse to balance themselves with a rider. We don't want the horse to fall or stumble or at the least, not be able to do what we asked them to do.

Collection is, according to
Jack Brainard (the master of flying lead changes) in his book "If I Were To Train A Horse": "The weight transfer from the front end to the engaged hindquarters." Update: July/7/2010. Jack is also promoting Western Dressage.

Larry Trocha ( has a great definition on true collection. "True collection is a way of riding your horse that teaches him to round his back, lower his croup and travel with his hocks farther under his body."
Wikipedi says: "Collection is when a horse carries more weight on his hind legs than his front legs. The horse draws the body in upon itself so that it becomes like a giant spring whose stored energy can be reclaimed for fighting or running from a predator. "

Collection in Riding
Wikipedi goes on to say: "Collection is also an important ingredient in riding, if the rider wishes to perform more advanced movements or jumping. It not only allows the horse to move more easily and athletically, but also helps prevent wear-and-tear on the front legs. Through training, the horse learns to collect itself when requested to do so by the rider. The observer receives the impression of great strength held under perfect control."

This obviously implies to any type of more advanced movements like reining, cutting, working cow horse .... anything really.... that the horse is required to do athletically. The horse is better able to carry its rider.

That is why collection is taught to horses (& riders) during foundation training. This is a big part of the Body Control ie. Western Performance Horse Development. The horse needs to know how to collect themselves (or a rider knowing how to ask for collection) before the horse & rider progress to more athletic riding such as maneuvers.
Collection in ReiningFrom the Ontario Reining Horse Association (ORHA) website, 'A Pocket Handbook for Reiners' prepared for the NRHA by Mario Boisjoli... question 40. Is collection necessary in a reining horse?
Mario's answer is: "Collection is extremely important in helping a horse move better in the circles and to keep the hind legs underneath him in preparation for stops and lead changes."

More on why we need it, when we need it, what it feels like and how do we get it in the following articles.

My background on Collection
I never knew what collection was when I first learned how to ride properly in my early 20's. (That was sometime ago.) Often I would ask what collection is and why riders use it and I wasn't always given an answer that didn't made much sense. People seemed to say riders just needed it and would shy away from the question.
Almost like they didn't know why themselves and were put on the spot. And they were professionals.
So I decided to pursue the information on collection, knowing it was important, and really wanted to understand it well so that I could use it in my day to day riding and training. And with my reining horses, of course.

I will explain how I use collection and why collection is used in reining in later articles.

Links on Collection
YouTube video on collection on a reining horse at a walk. James Hansen and Ditte Poulsen demonstrates collection and giving in on the bridle in all three gaits.
YouTube video on teaching a western horse to collect by laumantr. I really like this video. It's 8 min. long and laumantr really shows how to teach a horse how to collect. The video is a little dark but I think you will get a lot out of it.
YouTube video explaining how a rider can ask for collection. Note: I really do not like the word 'submission' that is used. I prefer 'yielding'.
YouTube video explaining how a rider can ask for collection at a jog.
YouTube video explaining how a rider can ask for collection during a lope.

The video below shows Touch of The Whizard or Jackie collected during circles.

Questions & Comments always welcome.
If you need help with this, please contact me.

Putting my spin on Collection!
©Copyright KISS Reiners

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