Foundational Lesson Part I: Soft Nose and Collection

  • Added:
    Oct 24, 2013
  • Article Views:
    1054
  • Word Count:
    486
Foundational Lesson Part I: Soft Nose and Collection Photo by Ian Kirkham

Softness in a horse is responsiveness to the bridle and leg cues; softness helps you create a frame of mind in your horse to accept a request, whether that request be to slow, stop, turn, back, change leads or anything else. Having a horse with a soft nose is necessary for riders who want a light, responsive, willing, happy, under-control horse who is well on his way to being a collected horse.

Softness in a horse is crucial and takes a lot of work. You need to work on softness for the horse’s entire life. Softness comes from your hands not from the head position of your horse. If you release pressure on the reins while a horse is leaning on the bit, he will lean harder. However, if you lighten your hold on the reins, no matter how little, and release when he softens, he will continue to soften. It’s important to move your hands slowly when establishing softness and to give your horse a chance to respond to subtle cues.

A collected horse carries more weight on his hind legs than on his front legs. When collected, a horse draws his body in upon itself so that it becomes like a giant spring whose stored energy can be used to meet immediate needs. Collection allows a horse to move more easily and athletically, and helps prevent wear and tear on the front legs.

To visualize collection, lay a piece of paper flat on a table and push one end. The paper slides forward. Now place one hand at the far end as you push. The paper will arch up in the middle. This is what collection looks like. In collection, you control the front end of the horse while asking the hind end to move forward and the back to round. Pushing from the hind end without control of the front end does nothing except move you forward.

A collected horse will lower his hindquarters and elevate his withers. Collection may be achieved at any gait.

Company – LL Inc and the Lyons Legacy School of Horsemanship offer a wide variety of equine educational materials, including a series of horse training and riding courses, manuals, and videos for online and on-the-ground learning.

Contact – Ian Kirkham, LL Inc., ian.kirkham@gmail.com. A biologist with a PhD in animal behaviour, and a writer for much of his career, Ian now focuses on one of his lifelong passions – horses. He’s owned and trained horses in Canada, US, Zimbabwe and Costa Rica. Ian divides his time between training horses and creating educational products for horse lovers.

Author Bio:

A biologist with a PhD in animal behavior, and a writer for much of his career, Ian now focuses on one of his lifelong passions – horses & Horsemanship. He’s owned and trained horses in Canada, US, Zimbabwe and Costa Rica. Ian divides his time between horse training, horse professional trainer and creating educational products for horse lovers.

Author's Profile

Ian Kirkham enjoys writing articles for InterestingArticles.com. View the Ian Kirkham Author Profile


Please Rate this Article
Poor Excellent