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Lacking impulsion

Without impulsion a horse will not be able to carry himself in balance through turns, transitions or movements. Impulsion is an essential ingredient to performing dressage and put simply is the power generated from the hind quarters and legs which enables engagement. Impulsion goes hand in hand with rhythm, suppleness, contact, straightness and collection, so if your horse is lacking impulsion then it is likely one of these other areas will need working on also. Without impulsion there will be no self carriage, and as he won’t be using his hind legs properly straightness will be difficult to maintain. To improve impulsion you must ensure that you have a prompt, forward reaction to a leg aid and that your horse maintains the rhythm and speed without continual intervention. There should be sufficient power so that he will go forwards again from a light touch. Do not mistake speed for impulsion. Keep within your horse’s individual natural balance and rhythm, and occasionally check his impulsion with some transitions between paces or lengthening in the pace.

Incorrect bend

Creating impulsion, whilst maintaining straightness and a correct rhythm Felix and Sofia working on a figure of eight to try to achieve even bend both ways

When riding circles, correct bend is essential and requires the horse to bend through his body (not just through the neck), to carry himself and to engage the hindquarters. When a horse is bending the inside hind leg must step under the body or rhythm will be lost and the horse may fall in on the circle or swing his quarters out. When bending the rider must create energy with their inside leg and contain it with the outside hand. Most horses find it easier to bend on a specific rein so make sure you spend plenty of time working on the stiffer side to improve bend. Working on a figure of eight is always good to check that you can easily go from one bend to the other without loss of rhythm or resistance. When corners, turns and circles lack bend do not be afraid to take enough neck flexion to the inside, you can ask initially with the inside rein but then need to try and hold it between inside leg and outside rein. To avoid the horse falling out through the shoulder, keep enough outside rein on, don’t allow the horse to take too much neck flexion to the inside. Don’t be afraid of training lateral movements with more bend than you would want in a test, this will improve the suppleness and make the bend you need for the test feel easy for the horse.

For more information contact British Horse Feeds on 01765 680300 or visit www.britishhorsefeeds.com august 2010 Localrider 39 38-39dressage_lraug10.indd 2

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Complete version Localrider August 2010 issue  

Complete version Localrider August 2010 issue. Amongst many others this issue features reports and articles on: Hickstead Derby Report, Maki...

Complete version Localrider August 2010 issue  

Complete version Localrider August 2010 issue. Amongst many others this issue features reports and articles on: Hickstead Derby Report, Maki...