When we 'collect' a horse we ask them to lift their stomach muscles and that brings their rear end up further underneath their body. As a benefit, they also will drop their head in a "head set." This forms an illusion that they look round.
To just use side reins in training - and especially those with elastic side reins - the horse can learn to brace on the bit, and never arch the back (using the loin muscles) to get the hind quarters up underneath the body. The more a horse is worked correctly, the proper muscles contract and the unused muscles de-contract. In time the horse will have no problem carrying the correct carriage to collect, because his body muscles will be formed for collection.
We also want the horse to collect without us riders being on their mouths so much. This means using the reins as a fifth leg for balance (meaning the rider holds the horse with the reins) if the muscles have not been developed properly.
Balance Complete Training Systems have been sold in tack magazines for some time for ~$130.00. They are advertised to "Help develop correct head set and balance while strengthening back and neck muscles. Can be used in a variety of positions, depending on desired headset." Therefore we developed: the butt rope. The price is right on these, since we can make them for you for ~$75.00 + shipping. Email us for more details.
The butt rope brings the butt under the horse while bitting the animal, without any rider placing weight on the loin (area of suspension, where the stomach muscles need to pull up to). It also teaches the horse to give in and relax while having impulsion (correct collection) at all gaits. If the rider is light weight or inexperienced, this collection is very hard for him or her to achieve using their back, butt, and leg muscles plus using the hands to restrict the gait speed. If the butt rope is used, this will help the rider get the first stages done without frustration for both horse and rider.
If and when the horse quits the impulsion and collection, the butt rope is located so that the horse is reprimanded immediately for his wrong doing. And when they are traveling correctly, they have total relief on their mouths. This will create a good, soft mouth and a happy animal.
Repetition will contract the correct muscles, and create a beautiful profile (hence: collection).