I’ve been having a blast competing in the ranch sorting competitions across the state. Here’s a video of a first place run I had a few week ago at the URSA competition in Tremonton, UT.
Proper collection completely changes the dynamics of your horse’s performance.
Why is collection necessary? What does collection do? How do I achieve collection?
1)Why is it necessary? Some horses are built to have an automatic physical advantage when it comes to collection. Their conformation lends itself to being more compact and flexible. Their legs are up under them, they move well, and they have a sense of self-collection. Other horses are loose movers, strung out, and feel like their front feet are forward and clumsy and their rear legs lack power. Either horse must be well broke to respond to a rider’s legs and reins to perform any requested task. The goal of collection is to aid a horse in the ability to understand and more easily be maneuvered by his rider.
2)What does it do? When a horse achieves proper collection, they are round, soft, and in tune with the rider. They respond to leg cues and are able to drive from the rear end while maintaining controlled and relaxed communication in the mouth and on the neck. Because their body is more balanced, stable and compact, they move and respond readily to cues. They will turn better as the turning radius is shorter. They will stop better because the head maintains form while the rear end rounds and drives into the ground. Balance is a big aspect of collection. Once you have the chin pulled to the rear and the rear pushed to the head, your horse’s stride is more up and down rather than forward. Proper collection equals control.
3)How do I achieve it? This is not an easy task. We concentrate on collection from the early stages of training. Lateral flexion is the precursor to vertical flexion. When we break colts, we bend them with the purpose of inhibiting forward movement and teaching the horse to “give” to pressure. You give and take to direct, then reward a correct response. During bending, use your inside leg to create roundness and give. Rather than a straight pull, I use offset rein pressure, usually picking up one rein and pulling with the other. I have developed a technique of jiggling my hands to ask for a reaction prior to the pull. A constant hold is used sometimes to steady the horse and wait for a giving response before I release.
The most important factor in this process is the implementation of your leg. Simply, your hands can control the front and your legs control the back. Without both, collection cannot be achieved. I concentrate on my horse yielding to leg pressure and basic bend/leg techniques, backing with leg, two-tracking, and side-passing. Concentration with feel and knowing how much to ask in a session combined with knowing when to release the pressure and reward makes this work well.
Being logical is of the utmost importance. Having a purpose and a goal is mandatory and taking your time and being patient is necessary. Start getting collected to achieve greater communication and the performance results you have always wanted.
~With permission from Al Dunning’s Newsletter -
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To Your Training Success,
Wow! Hard to believe it is already 2014 and 2013 has passed! This past year has been amazing with it’s accomplishments and also been challenging with it’s trials! In 2013 I was able to finalize my accreditation through Team AD International, quite a milestone for me! I also competed in the Mustang Million Competition which proved to be one of the biggest trials we faced this year! But it is a new year and will be filled with goals that I know will prove to be exciting and challenging. There will always be excitement with goals met, and also the trying times with some goals lost just because that’s life. Praising God for all that He has allowed me to accomplish and all the things He has taught me through this past year and excited for what He will do this year in my family’s life!
So, to start off 2014 I will be competing in the Utah Horse Trainer’s Challenge Semi-finals… There will be 11 other competitors at the Semi-finals and 4 out of the 11 will be chosen to move on to the next round. Making it to the next round will give me the opportunity to compete at the Utah Horse Trainer’s Challenge on a 2 year old horse I will have for 60 days. It will also allow me to present my horse training skills and business in front of hundreds of people! Quite the opportunity for me!
I hope you all have a GREAT 2014 with lots of goals met and safe riding!
Happy New Year,
Some may think it really isn’t important to float a horse’s teeth. If you are of that opinion this may help you see the importance of it. Dr. Mike Walburger explains why you should have your horse’s teeth checked and floated regularly. The video shows a horse that is a mustang and is his very first vet visit.
To Your Training Success,