Sandy Collier has enjoyed great success in her career as an NRCHA, NRHA, and AQHA champion horse trainer. Named one of the “Top 50 Riders of All Time in All Disciplines” by Horse & Rider Magazine, she was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2011, and the NRCHA’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Collier was the first and only female horse trainer to win the prestigious NRCHA (National Reined Cow Horse Association) World Champion Snaffle Bit Futurity. She also won an NRCHA World Champion Snaffle Bit Futurity Reserve Co-Championship in addition to being a regular Finalist there annually. She has been a NRCHA Stallion Stakes Champion, an NRHA Limited Open Champion, and an AQHA World Champion.
In champion trainer and popular clinician Lynn Palm’s book THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION, Palm asked Sandy Collier to share how she works to achieve collection with her performance horses.
“I do a lot of work through speed and gait transitions,” was Collier’s reply, “which makes no sense at all to most reining or Western riders.”
Sandy Collier competing.
Collier says that even though reiners and Western riders will often get their horses really collected at the trot and lope, “as soon as you start putting a lot of speed to it, it’s like the wheels start falling off the car.” She uses an exercise called The Runaround to maintain collection, improve the quality of a horse’s rundown, and thus ultimately better his stop.
“I’ll build speed while maintaining collection for a long, straight run,” explains Collier. “As I approach the short end of the arena, I’ll take a deep breath, start to exhale, and make my horse follow my seat as I sit down in the saddle, making him come back to me on a straight line without falling out of lead. It’s like downshifting a real expensive car, where it has to come back down real smooth. I keep my horse slow and collected through the short end (don’t let him careen around the corner), and once I get around the corner, I ask him to build speed again and start over. My horses eventually get to where they can run really fast while staying collected, and then as I let my air out, they’ll come all the way back to a slowdown or a stop, depending how long I sit.”
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The goal is to capture the complete tail-to-nose package of supple muscle and hind-end-generated impulsion that becomes a “frame” where the horse is more athletic—that is, his forehand lightens, enabling him to maneuver his front end more quickly, and his steps become cadenced and his movement free-flowing. For more exercises that help achieve this real collection, check out THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION by Lynn Palm, on sale now at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a top rider, trainer, judge, or clinician? Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com) is tracking down its top authors and asking them to pull back the curtains and let us take a quick peek into their lives. In our fifth installment in TSB’s “Horseworld by the Hour” blog series, we caught up with “WonderHorseWoman” Lynn Palm.
Lynn is not only the author of THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION and YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE, she’s won 34 World and Reserve World Championships; four Superhorse titles, AQHA Female Equestrian of the Year, and many more awards and accolades throughout her career in the spotlight, which has now spanned over 40 years. She and her husband Cyril Pittion-Rossillon conduct training courses and clinics across the country. Lynn is an Advisory Director of the Western Dressage Association of America, and makes regular appearances at expos and special events, such as her popular bridleless riding demonstrations at the World Equestrian Games.
Lynn has shown horses on the flat and over fences, in Western, hunt seat, and dressage saddles. And NOW we hear she’s taking up a whole new sport, to boot!
So just how does Lynn fit it all in? Check out her typical day:
Just a Regular Ol’ Spring/Summer/Fall Day with Lynn Palm
5:00 a.m. Still sleeping, I hope!
5:30 a.m. I wake up in the spring, summer, fall at 5:30, with all my dogs. In the winter I get up around 6:30 a.m.
6:00 a.m. My morning chores: making coffee, unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, planning meals for the day. If I have clinics, I start preparing lunch and dinner for at least 20 people and often more!
6:30 a.m. I feed my wonderful dogs: 3 labs and 2 mini longhair dachshunds.
7:00 a.m. I check my gardens and greenhouse, and then get dressed for the day while drinking my coffee. I make a protein fruit smoothie and take my vitamins!
7:30 a.m. In the summer, by now I’m getting to the barn to ride my first horse before feeding. Spring and fall I start riding at 8:30 a.m., and in the winter I may ride in the afternoon, switching my day to ride with our warm afternoon sun!
8:00 a.m. I’m riding horses and following up with necessary calls for the day.
8:30 a.m. Still riding horses, and finding time to check in with Marie Frances (my office manager) and Cyril (my husband) about what’s up for their day. Cyril also works our horses, and we discuss our saddle business and what orders or leads he may have about our hunt seat and dressage saddles we have made in France.
Lynn Palm has written two important books for Western dressage riders: THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION and YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE.
9:00 a.m. I’m in the barn, checking on all the horses for health or care, confirming supplies needed, and discussing with the farm manager what he is doing on the farm for the day.
9:30 a.m. On another horse, while my staff turn out some horses and plans for grooming and care of horses and the stable for the rest of the day.
10:00 a.m. I am training horses in our wonderful training field with the big Live Oak Trees.
10:30 a.m. Training horses in the Outdoor Jump Field.
11:00 a.m. Training horses on our 3-acre Natural Obstacle Training Arena.
11:30 a.m. Training horses with ground work in our training paddocks.
12:00 p.m. Training horses still—but now it’s driving to prepare for Combined Driving (a new sport for me this next year!)
12:30 p.m. Riding horses in the covered arena (if it is raining, as can be the case in the afternoons).
1:00 p.m. Lunch, swim in the pool, play with dogs!
1:30 p.m. Shower and clean up from the barn.
2:00 p.m. Office duties: email, Facebook, marketing plans, writing newsletter or editorial for magazines, following up on horse sales, planning shows and clinics, working on remodeling our property in Sarasota, Florida (Southern Reflections – An Equestrian Private Retreat).
3:00 p.m. More office duties: conference calls with sponsors, companies with product development, reviewing client requests with their horses, making contacts for clinics or expos engagements.
4:00 p.m. Office duties continue, or if we have a clinic going on, I prepare dinner for the students, guests, and staff.
4:30 p.m. Still in the office: preparing the daily horse training and lesson schedule for the next day.
5:00 p.m. Haven’t left the office but gotta feed my dogs!!
5:30 p.m. Close the office for the day.
Lynn with her Labs. Photo by Cappy Jackson from THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION.
6:30 p.m. I’m watching Nightly News on NBC if I can!
7:00 p.m. Preparing dinner for Cyril and me, and friends if we have some over (which is often).
7:30 p.m. Cocktails at the Red Fox Inn or sitting on the front porch enjoying the sunset—talking about the day or what is happening in the horse world with Cyril, Marie Frances, and/or horsey friends. My dogs have cocktails, too: marrow bones, which they love so much!
8:00 p.m. Dinner in the main dining room, in front of the TV if it is just Cyril and me (of course with the dogs) or at poolside—we have a wonderful pool area with lots of beautiful landscape.
9:00 p.m. Cleaning up dinner or maybe sitting at the bonfire in a courtyard beside the pool.
9:30 p.m. In bed watching The Voice or America’s Got Talent or sports.
10:00 p.m. Up again! Time for Night Check on all the horses.
It has been exciting to watch the evolution of the new sport of Western dressage and rewarding for so many to see it finally be recognized at national levels. And now, at the mid-year meeting of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the Board of Directors approved a rule change proposal, effective December 1, 2013, which recognizes Western dressage as an individual discipline! That’s right, beginning with the 2014 competition season, Western dressage will have its own chapter in the USEF Rule Book.
TSB is thrilled to have a role in promoting Western dressage and encouraging riders of all abilities and levels to pursue it with their horses. Right now, you can order the official, fully illustrated Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) tests at the TSB online bookstore. WDAA tests are available in four “Dressage Illustrated” collections (click each link to view and order):
Each book includes the directive ideas for each test with all coefficient movements (double points) shaded for easy identification. In addition, the required gaits and movements are clearly diagrammed and defined. Western Dressage Illustrated books are printed on heavy paper and plastic laminated for outdoor use, so you can refer to them time and time again.
Western Dressage Illustrated books feature required gaits and movements clearly diagrammed and defined.
For those all-around dressage enthusiasts, TSB also has Dressage Illustrated books for USEF tests, Training through Fourth Level (CLICK HERE for more information).
Just getting started in Western dressage? WDAA Advisory Director Lynn Palm’s wonderfully illustrated book THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION provides all the training exercises you need to succeed!
Since the early 1990s, Lynn Palm has been a major proponent for showing the American Quarter Horse in the dressage discipline. After nearly 20 years, on January 1, 2010, the AQHA agreed to recognize dressage as a event in which points could be earned. That same year, nationally known trainers Eitan Beth-Halachmy and Jack Brainard spurred formation of the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA), an organization that now has seven recognized state associations and is growing at astounding speed.
Dressage is simply the french word for “training.” By building a dressage foundation, a horse can gain suppleness, flexibility, and balance, all while strengthening the rider-and-horse partnership. Through the standardized progressive training methods of dressage, a horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to perform is maximized. Horses trained correctly are able to perform various maneuvers while remaining relaxed and giving the illusion of effortlessness.
AnnMarie Brockhouse, who serves as WDAA executive assistant and is a co-founder of the Western Dressage Association of Minnesota, explains that the nonprofit WDAA developed from knowledge of the importance of dressage “regardless of the tack it was being utilized in.” And TSB author Lynn Palm, winner of four Superhorse titles, is one of the leading proponents for good training, regardless of your tack or your outfit. Her fun, easy-to-use book THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION provides 26 dressage exercises, separated into basic, intermediate, and advanced sections. With terrific full-color photos and clear diagrams, its a terrific book for anyone looking to get a start in the new and exciting sport of Western dressage.
“Lynn understands that good training is just good training. She uses basic dressage principles as the foundation for all her work,” says US Olympic Dressage Team Alternate Jane Savoie. “Lynn’s book THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION explains the what, why, and ‘how-to’ of teaching your horse to collect. It discusses a number of factors that affect a horse’s ability to shift his weight back and lighten the forehand. And probably most importantly, Lynn explains the ingredients that go into laying the correct foundation to achieve true collection so you don’t resort to shortcuts that only create an artificial headset.”
The Western States Horse Expo is right around the corner! Don’t miss THREE EXCITING DAYS of horse education and entertainment in Sacramento, California, featuring THREE TRAFALGAR SQUARE AUTHORS, to boot! The fun runs from 9 am to 7 pm, June 8 through June 10, 2012, and includes great events for horse fans of every age and every discipline preference.
JIM MASTERSON, USET massage therapist and author of BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE (the BOOK and the DVD), will be teaching attendees how “finding the release” in your horse via his Masterson Method can free your horse from hidden sources of tension and make him more comfortable while ultimately improving his performance.
LYNN PALM, winner of four “Superhorse” Championships and author of THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION, is presenting all three days, with clinics focused around show ring performance, rider attitude, and the benefits of training bridleless.
Check out all the TSB authors at the WESTERN STATES HORSE EXPO this coming weekend!
And don’t forget, you can order their books and DVDs from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE. BLOG BONUS!! Enter the coupon code TSBBLOG15 at checkout and save 15% on your entire order!
Lynn Palm is looking for the best trail challenge tale! Tell your story to win great prizes!
Lynn Palm, author of THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION, and partner Cyril Pittion-Rossillon are offering fans an opportunity to win enrollment to their November 2012 Ride Well Training with Natural Obstacles Clinic, valued at more than $600, as well as entry in the clinic’s Trail Challenge Competition, along with their latest five-disc DVD series Trail Ability.
Lynn is asking riders to submit their favorite story describing an encounter with natural obstacles on the trail or in competition in 500 words or less to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1, 2012. The winning essay will be announced September 15 and posted for all to see on Lynn’s website http://www.lynnpalm.com. The lucky winner will then enjoy the clinic with Lynn and Cyril Pittion-Rossillon at their Fox Grove Farm in Ocala, Florida, November 2-4, 2012, including two days of instruction, convenient onsite lodging, healthy meals prepared by Lynn, plush stabling, fun evening activities, and the Trail Challenge competition with proceeds going to AQHA’s America’s Horse Cares.
Lynn Palm is also a featured presenter at this year’s Western States Horse Expo, June 8-10, in Sacramento, California. If you are attending WSHE this weekend, don’t miss Lynn’s terrific clinics!
THE RIDER'S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION is featured in the September 2011 issue of America's Horse, the official magazine of the AQHA.
An excerpt from Lynn Palm’s newest book THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION is featured in the September 2011 issue of America’s Horse–the official magazine of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Lynn gives tips for using your body and voice when working a horse at liberty—one of the ways she likes to exercise her horses in preparation for work that demands a particular “frame” or “collection,” in both Western and English tack.
Interested in Western Dressage? Check out the Western Dressage Association of America (westerndressageassociation.org), of which Lynn is an Advisory Director. And, get a copy of THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION—it was recently reviewed in USDF Connection (the official magazine of the United States Dressage Federation), and here’s what they said:
“What hasn’t Lynn Palm done? From bridleless demonstrations and AQHA Superhorse titles to ribbons in hunters and dressage, this versatile horsewoman has a vast wealth of practical experience, all rooted in solid dressage basics. Palm brings her sensible, cross-discipline approach to THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION, in which she leads the reader through easy-to-follow ABCs of dressage principles that can be applied to any horse in any type of program. Emphasizing the universality of dressage, it’s particularly fun to see the photos of Palm demonstrating shoulder-in and other dressage moves aboard various breeds and in Western, hunter seat, and dressage saddles.” —USDF CONNECTION
Lynn Palm—2007 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Horsewoman of the Year and the Women’s Athletic Association Female Equestrian of the Year, with over 34 AQHA World and Reserve World Championships to her name—has announced what will be featured on the new season of her HRTV® show. HRTV, the “Network for Horse Sports,” regularly features Lynn’s show “Palm Training,” which promises upcoming episodes that include two series: Successfully Traveling with Horses and the Trail Ability Training Series, focusing on natural obstacles both in hand and under saddle.
By popular demand, Lynn’s upcoming shows will feature Unforgettable Rugged Lark, AQHA Hall of Fame inductee, and his owner/breeder and AQHA Hall of Fame member, Carol Harris. “Palm Training” airs on HRTV Dish 404 Tuesday evenings, with additional airings throughout the week and on demand at HRTVlive.com.Visit HRTV on the web, or Lynn’s website (see our links on the right-hand side of the page) for information.
Lynn’s new book THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION is a masterful mix of down-to-earth instruction and legitimate exercises to attain collection with any horse—and especially stock-type horses, whose conformation can often make reaching the goal of collection more of a challenge.