The Rider's Guide to Real Collection: Achieve Willingness, Balance and the Perfect Frame with Performance Horses

Overview

Written for riders who wish to extend their horses’ athletic lives and make them better, happier performers, this guide defines the practice of collection and explains how to train horses in it. Collection, or self-carriage, involves a horse carrying more weight on its hind legs than its front legs, allowing it to move more easily and perform more beautifully—but it can be difficult to achieve. Exercises for varying skill levels, riding styles, and horses help riders learn what qualifies as collection and how to ...

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The Rider's Guide to Real Collection: Achieve Willingness, Balance, and the Perfect Frame with Performance Horses

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Overview

Written for riders who wish to extend their horses’ athletic lives and make them better, happier performers, this guide defines the practice of collection and explains how to train horses in it. Collection, or self-carriage, involves a horse carrying more weight on its hind legs than its front legs, allowing it to move more easily and perform more beautifully—but it can be difficult to achieve. Exercises for varying skill levels, riding styles, and horses help riders learn what qualifies as collection and how to attain it. Tips on how to avoid the most common bad habits and mistakes are also included in this manual that is beneficial to riders and horses everywhere.

Collection is one of the most misunderstood concepts in Western and English riding. Everyone wants it, but few people know how to get it. World-class rider, trainer, and clinician Lynn Palm now offers the one and only book that explains away the mysteries of collection while telling you exactly how to attain it. With 30 years experience riding and training champion all-around performance horses, and a background in dressage, Lynn has perfected an easy-to-use system of exercises that gradually collect any type of horse, regardless of his build, and that are of particular value to stock horse breeds such as Quarter Horses, Paints, and Appaloosas.

Lynn assures us that every horse can achieve and move in a collected frame with time and patience, and learning how to bring him into true collection helps you improve his performance; create a more willing equine partner; extend his physical and mental longevity; and enjoy riding him even more than you already do. Real collection proves elusive because—until now—the instructions for achieving it have been complex, incomplete, or even incorrect. The result (false collection) is often based on a forced headset and little else. This is uncomfortable and unhealthy for the horse, and can lead to behavioral problems and physical breakdown.

Real collection is actually a complete tail-to-nose package of supple muscle and hind-end-generated impulsion: the hind legs step further under the body, the horse’s back rounds, he flexes at the poll, and the rider’s seat, legs, and hands connect it all. It is with this “frame,” as it has come to be called, that the horse becomes more athletic—his forehand lightens, enabling him to maneuver his front end more quickly, his steps become cadenced, and his movement free-flowing.
To achieve this desirable “fluidity,” Lynn begins on the ground with in-hand exercises—free lungeing, ground-driving, and lungeing-and-bitting—to gain the horse’s trust and improve his responses to cues and commands. She then explains how you start in the saddle with simple transitions—such as halt–walk–halt—and gradually progress through stages that include more difficult transitions between gaits and markers; lengthening and shortening of stride; yielding on diagonal, straight, and curving lines; turns on the forehand and haunches; shoulder-in and shoulder-fore; haunches-in and haunches-out; half-pass; and simple and flying lead changes.

As the horse gains conditioning and increases his strength over time, long-and-low work and stretching down encourage him to “give” to the bit and flex at the poll. This, in coordination with Lynn’s progressive exercises and training figures such as loops, figure eights, and serpentines, eventually leads to the beautiful, balanced frame of the responsive, collected horse that every rider dreams of: happy, healthy, willing, and ready to be competitive in the show pen or just simply a great pleasure to ride.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Lynn is truly the consummate horsewoman. She never ceases to amaze me with her knowledge, experience, and insights into the minds of both horses and of riders. The book is chock full of informative, easy-to-digest riding theory, and practical exercises. So pull on your boots, and enjoy the ride!"  —Jane Savoie, three-time Olympic coach and author, That Winning Feeling! and Cross-Train Your Horse

"Readers will be kept busy with 26 training exercises covering everything from simple transitions to yielding to flying changes. Photos and diagrams can be found on nearly every page, helping to bring the exercises to life."  —Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar

"This is a good book for beginner or novice riders who need to understand how to create balance and energy in their horses. Palm clearly and thoroughly explains the basics of training and various equipment."  —Horse Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570764448
  • Publisher: Trafalgar Square
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Palm is one of the foremost and respected horsewomen in the world and was named 2007 AQHA Horsewoman of the Year. She is a regular contributor to Dressage Today, Horse & Rider, and Horse Illustrated, and is the author of Longevity Training and Lynn Palm’s Head-to-Toe Horsemanship. She lives in Ocala, Florida. Stacy Pigott is the editorial director of TRACK magazine, and her articles have appeared in the Appaloosa Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Quarter Racing Journal. She lives in Springtown, Texas.

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