Question: Hi. I am just starting to teach my 5 year old QH mare about collection (I know, a little late). She is getting the idea of bending her neck, giving to the bit, softening, and her head carriage, but now I want to start getting her to round up her back and drive from behind….but I do not know how to teach that. Could you give me some training tips? Thanks so much. –Erin
Answer from April Reeves: This is one of my longest and most comprehensive answers yet on the foundation and post foundation work and exercises to get a horse light, round and started in collection. This answer takes the mystery out of the difference between connection and collection. It is about one year’s worth of work and exercises anyone in any discipline can do. Enjoy!
Hello Erin. Let’s start with connection. This is where you are with your horse at the moment. Connection is one of three important parts to foundation training. The first is rhythm and cadence, second is supple, and third is connection. I have a scale (or levels) I work with: a good whoa and go button, then rhythm and cadence, suppleness and connection. These are the basic foundations to any horse’s training, regardless of discipline (English or Western).
Connection is different from collection, as it is the exercises you do to get a horse on the bit. To get collection, the horse must first be good at moving on the bit. You must have connection to get collection.