Eliminate confusing horse jargons (Part 1)

In this article, we will discover a variety of confusing horse-riding-related terms and jargons. 

Collection

When learning the physical ability of a horse, you quickly find that for a horse to do anything athletic, they must learn how to engage their hindquarters (hind end) and lift their forequarters (front end), also called as “being/ having collected”. As riders, we should focus on helping a horse improve its athletic ability by teaching them how to maintain collection at all times. One sign of a collected horse is a rounded topline (similar to a slight downward arch from poll to tail, with the back is the high point of the arc). Riders can assist a horse’s collection by directing them to give to pressures from the bit (bend at their poll and neck gradually) while pushing and riding forward with their hind end (also described as engaging their loin, hind legs, hindquarters, hocks, etc.).

A horse that is uncollected may travel downhill, with their withers (head and neck) put lower than their hind end. These horses may also get a nosed-out appearance or appear resistance to the bit. A horse that is uncollected, appear to be “heavy on their forehand” will be more potentially to stumble, trip or likely fall. These horses will also have a much more hard time performing athletic maneuvers such as transitions, stops, lead changes, jumps, etc.

Half halt

Half halt is probably one of the most-often mentioned yet still most confused terms in all of horseback riding jargons. While experts across many disciplines will distinct their explanation of this commonly used riding jargon, in short, a half halt is a coordinated effort to combine leg, seat and hand together in order to gain a horse’s attention, develop their collection, increase their balance and get them ready for an upcoming maneuver. The methods in which a half halt can be taught or mastered may vary, but the results are often similar: a horse who is more in tune with its rider is more ready to perform an athletic task.