Collection means that the horse will carry more weight on his quarters. Because the horse becomes stronger in the hindquarters the joints in his quarters will flex which will enable the horse to lower the croup. This will lighten the forehand and result in a more elevated movement. Collection is the outcome of the training your horse has received. Finally, at the highest level of the Grand Prix, the capacity for collection enables the horse to perform exercises like piaffe, passage and canter pirouettes in an expressive and fluent motion.
Collection in trot
One method for teaching collection is riding transitions, transitions, and once again, transitions. Transitions meaning alternating between short intervals of increased tempo within the pace, say the trot, and then again asking your horse to come back in tempo.
Collection in canter
In canter work more or less the same applies as in the trot. When you ask for more collection in canter always make sure that his strides reflect the same activity as in the working canter.
Collection in walk
The natural quality of the walk in individual horses partly defines the aptitude for collection in the walk.
The passage is a Grand Prix exercise which requires optimal collection. To execute a passage the horse must be able to lower his haunches and sit down, demonstrating power and move in an uphill frame.
For piaffe the horse must move in a faster rhythm than in passage. When a horse performs an on-the-spot piaffe this is generated by optimal collection.
Transitions piaffe – passage
Piaffe and passage are closely connected, you cannot have one without the other. Piaffe is a collected movement that is small and on-the-spot. The passage is a slow, but more forward and elevated movement.