Objectives of training: impulsion

Seven are the basis objectives of all training. Among them, there is the controlled forward impulsion


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The following objectives are the basis of all training. It is difficult to place them in order of priority because they are inter-related and may be worked simultaneously. The seven objectives are:
1 controlled forward impulsion
2 rhythm and balance
3 suppleness
4 straightness
5 acceptance of the bit
6 submission
​7 development of the gaits

Impulsion is a tendency to move forward with elesticity, originating from the haunches, flowing into a swinging back and ending in the mouth. Is is contained energy created by the activity of the hind quarters and should be instantly ready for the rider to call on. The consequent willingness and ability of the horse to go forward is the foundation of all work. If impulsion is lost it should be recreated before other movements are attempetd. Impulsion is not speed. A horse which has impulsion should be able to establish a slower rhythm to his gaits.

To develop impulsion, the first step is to achieve the basis of impulsion: the willingness to go forward.
​The horse must be made responsive to the leg: to be in front of the leg. Leg aids can, if necessary, be supported by the voice and little and soft taps with the whip. As the training progresses and the horse gains his rhythm and balance, more forward momentum can be created and the seat aids can be brought into action. This forward momentum, instead of producing more speed, can be partly contained within the horse (impulsion). The driving aids, rather than simply making him go forward, can – if the rider’s hands restrain but allow – result in the horse’s hind quarters becoming more engaged and active. This gives the horse the power to go forward as soon as he asked. In creating this forward impulsion it is important for it not to be associated with speed. He should never be asked to go forward so much that he begins to lose balance and goes faster, not should so much impulsion be cretaed that the rider cannot control it, for then the tendency is to pull the reins backwards, which destroys the impulsion and creates resistance.