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Collection: The key to maneuvers

Les Vogt for the Horsetrader - September 1st, 2016 - More with Les, Training

More With Les graphicLast issue, Les wrapped up Exercises 3 and 4. As we move into more athletic maneuvers, we examine a critical piece: collection.

• To concentrate on driving your horse from the back with your legs, in order to create a soft, round frame
• To continue to integrate the concept of 50 percent hands/50 percent legs into your riding
• To learn how to handle a tough or belligerent horse
• To learn about the elevator bit and how it can help you in your training program

Things to Concentrate on
• Developing a conditioned response of using your hands and legs together to soften any resistance
• Learning to feel when the horse actually starts reaching further underneath himself in response to your legs
• Start to condition yourself to reinforce collection with your legs first, then your hands
• Maintaining the correct vertical flexion in all your work and exercises

A horse can’t give you really athletic maneuvers if he isn’t collected. First, collection’s emphasis on carrying the weight on the hindquarters puts the horse in a posture that allows him to maximize his power in all his maneuvers by loading the weight to the hindquarters, allowing him to move his front end more athletically and with less effort. Second, a collected frame is one that’s ready for anything. Think of a football player ready for a play to begin— poised, coiled and ready to go any direction. A collected horse is the same way—with his weight on his hindquarters, he is spring-loaded and ready to unload into your next cue.

With reining and cow horses, our goal is to eventually teach the horse to maintain this collected frame on his own, without him depending on us to enforce it or remind him. So while we’ll spend a lot of time on it during the next few months, our goal is to encourage the horse more and more to take responsibility for keeping himself in this collected frame that stays pre-loaded behind. Then we can move more confidently into the next levels of difficulty in our maneuvers and starting to work on cattle.

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 the Web site: www.lesvogt.com. You can also read previous More with Les columns at: news.horsetrader.com.

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