Degrees of Collection
C ollection is introduced to the horse at Second Level, but very few horses have truly established collection at that point in their education. The Third Level horse should have true, mature collection. I loved being the USEF National Young Horse Dressage Coach because during those 4-, 5- and 6-year-old years, horses gain the “college education” that gives them the mental understanding of how to use their bodies to collect. Then they can utilize that technique as they develop through the years. Horses continue to develop the ability to compress to greater degrees as they mature beyond their young horse years and their collection becomes more advanced, more purposeful and more confirmed. So, for example, a Grand Prix horse has much more established engagement and cadence than the Third Level horse as a reflection of the degree of collection.