Showjumper Charly Edwards, who specialises in breeding, breaking and producing young horses for top sport, explains how to collect your horse while riding
The dreamy image of a supple and relaxed horse, sailing around the arena in a glorious collected frame evokes sighs of contentment from most — but it takes a lot of work to get there. Training for it properly, so that you and your equine partner are getting the most out of it, can be tricky. International showjumper and coach Charly Edwards breaks it down for us to explain how to collect your horse.
Collection occurs when the horse carries more weight on their hind quarters. There is an increased engagement, lightness in the forehand and self-carriage. It is the last step in the scales of training and is preceded by the other five steps — rhythm, suppleness, contact, impulsion and straightness. To achieve collection, the other scales of training need to be established to a certain extent. So before you get to this point, you’ve probably put in quite a lot of hard work!
As well as performing the scales of training relatively consistently, your horse must have the muscular strength, balance, understanding and acceptance of aids to accurately achieve collection. Work with your coach, a friend or even use video of yourself to assess that all this is in place. If you feel you are lacking in one area, go back to work on it, before progressing again.