Q: What is considered true collection?
A: Ultimate collection does not only ask for a great deal of straightness, flexibility and co-ordination but it also asks for tremendous mental concentration and contribution from your horse.
Very briefly, in collection your want the horse to shift his weight, to mean that the energy you put in is not going forwards but rather more upwards. In essence, the horse needs to be carrying much more weight on his hind legs and then lift his front legs.
Roughly we can distinguish three stages of collection:
- The natural balance of the horse refers to the three fifths of the horse’s weight that he carries on his front legs and the remaining two fifths of the weight that he carries on his hind legs. When the horse carries a rider there is even more weight on the forelegs. In the beginning, when starting a young horse, this is how the weight is distributed.
- In the second stage, the horse has equal weight distribution, with his weight evenly divided on all four legs, and this is referred to as horizontal balance.
- It is up to the rider to train and encourage the horse to distribute the weight more onto the hindquarter. This last stage is collection, and is difficult to achieve.