COLLECTION – This will certainly be an on-going topic. I’ll probably write briefly, throw a little fit about it or rather people’s perceptions of it, go away and come back to it.
I don’t have a problem with collection, I have a problem with people confusing it with the real BIG “C” word that they really mean instead and the other BIG “C” word that they associate with it but don’t really think about.
So, to begin my fit and then get over it (maybe), I’m going to ask you to think about your perception of what you think collection is, what you want your horse to do and how you propose going about it.
Generally when someone tells me they want to ‘work’ on collection I… 1) take a deep breath so as not to kill anyone. 2) Inquire in my most pleasant voice possible under these circumstances, “And what do you mean by that?” Where-in they look at me like they can’t figure out why I haven’t heard the word before. 3) I suggest that their definition of the word and mine are probably not the same and they get to go first.
In a nutshell (to be opened and picked at) I will give you the BIG “C” words for you to ponder…
for starters. The BIG “C” is control. That’s what people usually mean. I want to control my horse so I must ‘collect’ him. And the other BIG “C” they DO to get this control masquerading as collection in their mind, is compress the horse. Sadly and easily, bigger bits and/or heavy hands and spurs do both of these almost instantly, but in true collection the horse’s mind carrying the body calmly in a manner with SELF-carriage must be what you’re going for. Self-carriage, by definition, eliminates holding the head in a ‘set’ position with a bit while spurring every stride to force forward while holding a stop position at the front. That can’t be SELF-carriage. True????
So, now I’m going to go outside and admire my horses while I let my hair settle down. While I’m out there, think about it and get back to me.