Exercises to get a horse (bitless) collected?
Transitions, up & down the paces helps to engage the core muscles (with or without a bit!) and so develop the correct outline. A horse learns by the release of "pressure", for example, someone pulling on the bit to create an outline. Once the horse reaches the correct position i.e. not over bent, make it a "nice place to go" for the horse so that it understands that this is the place you need him to be. Then, when he comes out of the desired outline, gently take up contact again... and release when you get what you want. Most people want to be at the finish before they have started. So remember, its like you starting alley or gymnastics - its going to take a while for him to develop the correct muscles! When you get an improvement, stop there & do something else, then come come back to it another time. My partner works his horse from the ground, without a bit, without a saddle & without a halter and through transitioning up & down she now has a beautiful outline, which proves its not all about brute force. Good luck, and enjoy your horse!
Do i use my no slip pad under or above the saddle pad?
Best to put next to the horse's skin (under the saddle cloy/pad/numnah) 1) to maximise shock absorbstion & allow the gel to move to get the best fit under the saddle & 2) assist the airflow to help the spine breathe through the perforations/holes. In polo, the trend is now to wear just a gel pad under the saddle & forget about a saddle cloth. Easy to wash - and if you find it sticks together, sprinkle with a little talcum powder. Happy days for your horse! :-)