NOTE: I must start by apologizing to the person here who I have forgotten the name of as source, who very recently mentioned the powerful thrust of the forehand in the jump. And the suspension elements of the horses spine, and shoulders that come into play.
I use that information to make a point in this post below. Thank you.
Well, I'm still confused. I hear that the horse needs to coil which means that he is flexing at his stifle and hips just like you stated about the runner having to go down so the energy will come up, so that is the same for the horse?
The horse coils and gathers up the energy in the hindquarters and because of this the forehand becomes lighter?
Yes, true. There is also though a balancing factor that accompanies this coiling. But it would be trite to go into that, since you and others cover it so well here.
I know that there will be some weight on the forehand, but there will still be shifting of the weight to the hindquarters so he can carry the rider better, correct?
Yes, again. Very much so according to the activity. Yet, in certain postures and actions the horse can better carry the rider over the forehand.
It's so dependent on the kind of activity at the moment in time under discussion.
At take off at a jump, for instance, the weight is more easily lifted by the tremendously more powerful spring and muscles of the shoulder and spine suspension of the forehand, and that maintains through the jump and upon the landing, but as the horse makes his next approach he will, if ridden properly, begin to collect. To coil.
Some think it is to 'rate' the spacing, but I know it to be, more importantly, as I think you are saying, to coil up the power for the drive of the hindquarters finally in front of the jump.
The piaffe needs to be in collection to be done correctly, and then the passage comes out of the piaffe which also needs to be collected to be done correctly, right?
Neither have the same amount of weight shift as say Levade, or for a sliding stop in a western reining horse.
Collection can take place in more than one 'form.'
Collection is about elevation, right? Anything that isn't elevated isn't collection, right?
The only thing you've said so far that I might want to look closer at in question of it. But I would need to know more.
Now this is where close attention must be given by all of us that study this. I would need to understand your definition of "elevation."
Do you mean the horse lifts his body higher from the ground, or that he lifts his limbs (possibly including the head and neck) higher? Or both? Or all?
When I taught I made clear to my students that the horse's neck constitutes yet another 'leg' for the horse in terms of the amount of balancing force the horse does with his neck. Even humans do it in a smaller way ... that is use head position as part of balancing.
Yes, there will be horses that cannot do this level of collection, these horses I'm not talking about. I'm talking about the ones who will go to High School.
Isn't it true that there are many phases within balance. You have the medium walk, the working walk and then the collecting walk, correct?
Same with trotting, you have the working trot, medium trot, extended trot and then the collection trot, correct?
Yes. I love your questions. And I await the "punch line," with gleeful anticipation. I learn so much from you.
Canter is the same thing; working canter, medium canter, extended canter and then the collected canter, isn't this correct?
And in each one of these levels the feet will land differently. Isn't that correct?
And then each one of these levels will lead to collection.
Yes, I think that is certainly given.
In the canter (at least the medium canter) a diagonal pair do land together, so they would be not differently but the same as to this footfall part of the feet.
But differently in that it is a three beat versus a four beat. Or two beat.
I'm unclear about "working" canter.
Generally speaking canter is a three beat gate with a diagonal pair making one of the three beats.
I'm not sure that the sequence you point out as to various cantering is required to reach a collected canter, or that it is required, of you wish collection, to actually work one's way up through them in order, or at all.
Wild horses don't do this, as far as I've been able to tell. Even a foal can exhibit a collected canter.
On the other hand, to carry a human rider I'd be very hard pressed to justify NOT following your logic and working toward collection at the canter by degrees of cantering.
But I do want to look at possibilities.
Imagine, if you will, that AND practitioners, with all the patient ground work, after developing a good range of trot, extended and collected, may be ready for the horse to canter with collection.
Collected walk exercises the very legs that will be used as each of the separate two beats, and the trot exercises the diagonals that will constitute the single beat of the paired diagonals at the canter.
Everything is in place.
The horse begins now with the rider mounted, and the same sequence is used. Trot and walk with collection. And then the canter is asked for from a collected trot, or for that matter, the collected walk.
Is it not conceivable that the horse is not only ready for the collected canter, without the other intervening kinds of canter, and will strike off collected at the canter possibly the first time asked?
But we can't have collection unless our horses have rhythm, are relaxed, the hindquartes need to be engaged and they need to be straight, is this correct?
No. Unless you mean AND collection. I see a lot of collection, and that in competition, at the canter, that is not relaxed, poorly engaged hindquarters, and horses forced into the lead by angling their body with the forehand taking up the first stride of the new lead instead of the hindlegs doing so.
Some actual "collection," is AWFUL, and certainly not up to AND standards.
I'm going to take it that you are not describing poor riding and performance, but good performance.
And there I agree with you vigorously.
So, even though we have these, if we don't have the elevation and the hindquarters aren't engaged, then we have no collection, is this correct?
I guess I'm getting a bit lost.
You listed rhythm, relaxed, hindquarters, engaged and straight as the components of collection.
So then if we do not have, thus have removed, elevation and hindquarters engagement, that would remove the condition we call, "collection."
I would say that is so.
I would add that "collection" is not the only 'frame' of power. And additionally that collection is not a static state, but a dynamic one that comes and goes, just as you describe, between extension and collection, and all points between.
I'm not being redundant to be tiresome or obstinate. I'm hoping to lay some groundwork in our discussion for the next point I wish to make.
But even if we don't have elevation, we may have a balanced, fluid, relaxed extended trot, or a medium walk, or a very nice medium canter, is this correct?
We are on the same track as far as I can see. I reviewed my post that you are responding to and it referenced mostly jumping, with mention of both Caprilli and Litauer.
As I followed their work in the nineteen sixties (Litauer following Caprilli's, from Valdimir's exposure to the Italian equestrian team at the Olympics that fateful day in about 1935 or so) what I saw was the most miraculous of eye openers for me in my professional development.
I have mentioned here that my start was with an old racehorse, I was ten, he was probably 20, who you must imagine rarely moved in a collected manner. He knew nothing much but the track.
And then at about 14 I was exposed to the vaquero's on an uncle's ranch, and nearby ranches. And my goodness, they moved their horses with collection. Back then we called it "handy."
And they taught me. So for a time I had a single picture with two extremes in my mind: racehorses (I was also working at a racing stable during that time) and cow horses under vaqueros.
Two extremes. I thought.
Though if I'd watched those cowhorses better I've have learned what I'm going to discuss now much sooner.
When I saw the first moving pictures (no videos back then
) of Caprilli I had only the year previous heard of him and began to study an employee of mine that had studied under a protege of Litauer.
She was magnificent with jumpers. So I watched every move, and had long discussions with her, and monitored her classes. She was generous with her time and knowledge.
Then I saw that Caprilli movie of the Olympics and the Italian team. In fact, my instructor had gotten the film on loan from her sources where she had schooled, and been schooled.
And then it struck me.
Those horses were extending in the gallop and collecting at the jump, and extending over the jump, collecting for or IN the landing, extending again for the departure etc.
And I had viewed it before in the wild and in the horses I worked with professionally as a teenager, but I had not "seen" it.
Once I did see my thinking and training changed dramatically. I had to completely retrain myself. And start to think much more holistically.
It wasn't enough to get good form of rider and horse over a jump, but in all phases of jumping. Approach, take off, flight, landing, departure.
And it meant even more to me in the western reining work I was studying, and much more in the dressage work I was a complete novice at(and still am).
I was so naive (hadn't seen any movies of Dressage at time) that I assumed as much work was given in performance to the extended work as the collection.
But then I like being naive. It allows me to learn new things.
So you are making me think, and review, and see if there are things I can more closely examine.
Isn't it odd that though I learned how to collect a horse with Bosal under the tutelage of vaqueros, just working cowboys, I learned more about what was happening and so could do it more effectively on jumpers?
Horses who spend only moments in collection, and the rest of the time going extended and on the forehand?
I just wasn't paying attention well enough before ( you know those teen age boys
) but most certainly did so later when running my own stable for training and instruction. (manager not owner until later).
My learning is still, as then, in fits and starts as I discover more, and mostly by people putting good questions to me, as you have done.
Fascinating. Thank you for the discussion.
I think it's time I put these in chronological order, no?
Donald Redux 1965
Donald Redux - now