January 3, 2003, Newsletter Issue #106: Dressage Tips

Tip of the Week

What is Forward Impulsion, and the most often soundest way to obtain it.

Forward Impulsion is the full driving force of the rear end of the horse (the horse`s engine) in a controlled forward power. Controlled, by the power engaged in the rear quarters, and received by the front extension.

In working with Hot Bloods, to encourage a horse to utilize the full power of his/her rear end into forward extension, you generally have to softly "finesse" the horse into using or pushing his rear power to move forward, and only so very slightly (especially if the horse is green to "controlled riding") control the use of the front extension. In working with Hot Bloods, it is always easier to gently and subtly bring back to you, than to over correct and have to begin to drive from the seat and legs.

Do not worry at first about the control, so much as providing the freedom to loosely and easily move out and forward. The Hot Blood horse may feel at first as though his/her movement is very loose and "noodley" and overextending, but that will stop with maturity of the movements.

In working with Warmbloods, you generally have to develop more of a driving seat and leg in developing the forward motion. Warmbloods being less sensitive, and less likely to over extend in being pushed forward by the rider.

In developing a driving seat, you will have to "roll and pivot your hips and pelvis back and downward." You will have to perfect to what degree and amount of force that you will need for each particular Warmblood horse that you ride. The development of the legs as aids, will be from the seat down into the upper thigh.

In trying to maintain a horse that is light on the leg contact and more responsive in later training, only use the upper thigh in driving forward, (just as you would to ski in a snowplow position downhill) and save the use of the lower leg for direct gait aids only in schooling a green horse in developing the necessary impulsion.


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