COLLECTION: This is important to know about and to practice. The feel you build in from the ground is what gives your horse the foundation for true collection. So many people use this word, but the way they go about collecting a horse seems to take away the interest a horse would have in being collected. When you’re speaking about collection or lead changes, it’s real important to go real slow at those places further back down the line. You’d spend a lot of time on the things that come before collection and that’s where a good foundation is built. You need it in there to work from.
Once you have prepared him to be real mellow and flexible at the poll in response to your feel, then you need to have that horse understand your whole body feel that causes him to want to liven up his whole body.
You’d start this at the walk. If a horse doesn’t collect at the walk, it’s because he’s not been prepared further down to understand how to collect, and you’ll need to spend more time there until he can understand what he’s supposed to do. You want that horse to respond to the feel of your body when it livens up. He needs to feel of you through those reins, and soften for you as he moves into the walk. He’d tuck his chin down and in, just a little, in response to your feel. When he does he would be liable to leave real smooth from a standstill and never push against that bit. This will take some time to perfect at the walk. Once this is pretty good, he’d be ready to progress to the trot.
Once the trot is real smooth, you’d move to the lope. You’d do this on either lead, too. You’d just present him with the feel for either one and have him pick up either lead. These maneuvers come in way before you’d have any thought of collecting your horse at the gallop and a person will take some time practicing this. A horse that collects up at the gallop is very attractive, even if that horse isn’t much for looks.