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Collection: Soft neck and poll required

By LES VOGT - Horsetrader columnist - April 18th, 2013 - More with Les

41st in a series
After defining collection and our objectives in working towards it, Les offers pointers this issue as the work gets under way.

Without a soft neck and poll, collection is impossible, so if you still have any resistance in the neck during any of the exercises that we’ve done so far, go back and work on them.

In the video, I ride a horse in a clinic that is stiff to start with, and you’ll see me work one side and then the other until he starts to lighten up. There are a lot of great concepts explained in the video, but I want to point out that because it is a clinic situation, I’m throwing more at this horse than I would at home. If the horse had been developed with all the tools and guidelines that I’m giving you, he would never have been that dull to begin with. I guess what I’m saying is that there will probably not be the need to handle your horse like I do Jerry’s, because hopefully you’ve never allowed him to lean on your hands or become dull like this horse was. But you’ll see that as soon as he started to figure out what I wanted, he started to lighten up considerably.

It always just leaves you hoping that the owner learned as much from the experience as the horse did or he will fall right back into the same routine. Remember that 90 percent
of the time, a problem that a horse is giving you is just a reflection of your own riding, so work 90 percent on yourself and 10 percent on your horse!

EDITOR’S NOTE: More with Les is a regular California Horsetrader column. Les Vogt has won more than 15 World Championships, including two wins at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. Although Les still rides and occasionally shows, his focus is giving clinics around the world and developing products for the performance horseman. To learn more about Les and to see his clinic schedule, visit: www.lesvogt.com

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