August Lecture/Demo Recap: Developing Collection

Our August lecture/demonstration on Developing Collection was another fun opportunity for riders to learn more about Paul’s method and approach to training, which has been carefully developed over 45 years. Paul began with a talk on the history of collection in dressage, and brought out several books from his famous library to illustrate his main points.

 He imparted to the audience that to truly understand the evolution of collection over the past hundreds of years up to modern day dressage there are three important things to know: 1) that the piaffe was a high school movement that was also a preparation for airs above the ground, which meant that the piaffe must ‘sit’ enough for a horse to eventually perform a levade, for example; 2) that the French rider Francois Baucher upended the traditional understanding of collection and dressage by insisting that the horse must be equally balanced over all four legs, instead of the accepted paradigm of training to move weight to the hind legs, and 3) that when the FEI was formed and rules and descriptions were written for the movements to be performed, the governing body did away with airs above the ground, capping the Grand Prix work with piaffe. This paved the way for piaffe to lose its ‘sitting’ nature, even at the highest levels of international dressage competition.

A series of rides then followed, demonstrating exercises at various levels of training that develop collection in the horse. First, Rose rode the 6 year old Andalusian mare Eleison, followed by a 10 year old Dutch Warmblood mare, and finished with her 18 year old Grand Prix Hanoverian. Over the course of the rides, Rose demonstrated trot to halts, canter collections, work in hand, piaffe/passage and canter pirouettes.

As a special treat, Rose and Paul invited each attendee up to experience piaffe in hand with the Grand Prix horse. It was a “first” for many people to experience the piaffe up close.

Our next and last lecture/demonstration for the year will be on September 14th. The topic is Work on the Ground: Classical Problem-Solving on the Longe and In-Hand. Visit our Clinics page or email to register.