From Wikipedia: Impulsion (photo by Wikipedia)
'Impulsion is the pushing power (thrust) of a horse, which comes from his desire to move powerfully forward with energy. However, speed does not create impulsion, and a rushing horse is more likely to be "flat" than impulsive. A horse can only have impulsion if his hind legs are engaged and his elastic back allows the power to come through.'
Teaching a Horse to Go Forward With Impulsion
If you've ever ridden a colt who's had a rider for the very 1st time, you will see how the horse will be hesitant to go forward. They do not know how to keep balanced (with new weight on horse's back) without falling. So the horse does not go forward. And this happens as a trainer introduces each of the new gaits as well.The horse needs to be trained or understood that it's ok to go forward with weight on their back. So part of colt starting teaches a horse to go forward. It's a key area in starting a horse.
A Necessity for All Riders
It's also a key area for a rider to reinforce the idea of going forward to their horse. When you feel a horse getting stuck or not moving forward or hesitating, when they should be going forward then you need to do exercises to get the horse going forward.
Part of foundation training is to teach the horse the cues to go forward and to understand when it's necessary to go forward during a certain maneuver or exercise.
Part of my warm up at the beginning of each ride teaches and reinforces the idea of having lots of forward motion in a horse.
Another exercise I like to call Cruise Control, also teaches a horse to move with impulsion on their own. I believe it's the horse's job, as part of the team, to keep going forward in the gait that is requested.
Next 2 articles will go into more detail about my Warm Up program and my Cruise Control lesson.
Let's go forward!
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