Collection in walk Collection in trot Collection in canter
The book
Basic exercises
• Collection
Haute Ecole
Collection at Liberty

When thinking about training classical dressage at liberty, the first question that comes to mind will probably be if it is actually possible to teach a horse to collect himself at liberty. That question is logical - and so is the answer: yes, naturally!

In the answer the keyword isn’t ‘yes’, but ‘naturally’, because collection is just something very natural for horses. In fact, the entire classical dressage is based on the fact that horses collect themselves when playing, expressing themselves in the herd and during fights. Ask any dressage trainer if all that stuff between those little white fences isn’t very unnatural, and you’ll hear as response that every dressage movement, from lateral work right up until the Haute Ecole jumps, is based directly on the natural movements of horses in the wild. In fact, with that reply every dressage trainer will tell you that all horses know very well how to collect themselves, without the help of a human who holds his body with reins, whips or spurs in the right shape. And Natural Dressage is based exactly on that idea.

Trot with the cordeo Collection with cordeo Piaffe with the cordeo
Hannah and Caspian in working trot
And even more collected
Once you have convinced your horse of the fact that it’s fun to spend time with you, to play with you and to puzzle with various ways of moving, collection will simply follow naturally, as natural collection for horses is nothing else than expressing their playfulness, pride and power.

If as a human you can make your horse feel so proud, strong and energetic, then the physical collection almost feels like of secondary importance. Because what could be more beautiful than simply making your best friend feel so good?

Working on a relaxed trot at liberty Passage on the cordeo Piaffe at liberty
Working on an energetic trot
As all classical dressage exercises can be trained at liberty and in the cordeo, this section covers all the collected movements divded by the gaits they're connected to:

  • Collection in walk: collected to extended walk, two beat School walk, Spanish walk
  • Collection in trot: collected to extended trot, piaffe, passage
  • Collection in canter: collected to extended canter, four beat canter, terre a terre

Read, write and ask more about Natural Dressage at the Art of Natural Dressage forum.
For info (in Dutch) on clickertraining and the book Vrijheidsdressuur:
© of this site, pictures and texts: Miriam Nieuwe Weme