Age Appropriate Collection

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Age Appropriate Collection

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:23 pm

Hello ladies. As I was reading over Susan's article for this month (great, by the way!), I decided to ask a question of my own. I have a 2 1/2 year old colt that I am riding [very] lightly at this point. I am not asking him for gait, just moseying along with his training and letting him decide when we can move forward. At this point, I have just introduced a training snaffle and we went for our first ride yesterday in that. He's a very trail minded colt and is brave and pays attention. Doesn't like the bit, but then that's another story. My question is this: When we go downhill, or even sometimes step off after a stop, I notice that he collects himself. He doesn't hold it, but I feel it when he rounds his back. This is exciting to me as that concept has been one of the hardest things for me to teach my colts. I have never tried to teach the collection before they turn at least 3, so I don't know whether to practice and encourage this behavior with him, or just let him either do it or not as is his choice. I feel like I need to encourage it, but don't know how to do that and still be age-appropriate for him. What are your thoughts?

~Tracey
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Re: Age Appropriate Collection

Post by Susan Brown on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:35 pm

SUSAN: Tracey,

You are correct in that he is not ready to be taught collection yet.You'll come to that later. First teach him to carry your weight and move forward with direction and confidence. You have a lot to teach him right now. Give to the bit, leg yields, backing, stopping, desensitizing, and many other skills. By the way, the backing will teach him collection, that's why he was collected after the stop. The stop is very closely related to the back. He should put his rear end under himself to stop or back. But this can all come after you teach him to move forward and steer very well and listen well to your agenda. Stretching exercisesto get his head very low as he moves forward is very good. Steering well comes first. No wandering without direction. He must learn to meet YOUR agenda at all times from when you first start handling him.

Since he is unaware of his training program, and you are, I wouldn't wait for him to be ready to move on. If he seems to perform a skill or task well, move him on to something different, keep things interesting and mix things up a bit. Work on a skill, then another, then back to the first again. Teach, teach, teach. Challenge yourself and him, keeping a working rhythm. Yes, start with short rides, but lengthen them right away as you move forward, adding and improving skills. He is age appropriate, he can handle it. You said he doesn't like the bit. This will go away when he well understands it, and what to do when he feels pressure on it. You can teach him this with pressure, then release, when HE moves toward the pressure. But as you say, that is a whole different story.

Tracey, I'm glad you asked your questions.

Susan
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Re: Age Appropriate Collection

Post by Caroline Siegel-Hoffman on Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:55 pm

CAROLINE: Tracey,

I think he is definitely old enough to work on this. As long as it is done gently and as he is able. I have never had any problem with starting horses at two or 18 mo. I always ground drive a lot. During this when I ask them to stop I also make them back three or four steps. As you noticed they collect themselves naturally with out having to rig up tie down etc to bring their head in. They will begin to anticipate when you say whoa then immediately backing up and begin collecting themselves with the light rein pressure. I them ask the to move off right away after the back and this really gives them a nice self carriage for a few strides and we build from there. I like this especially on the ground because there is no undue weight and they can move lightly and respond quickly. Hope that helps,



Caroline Siegel
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