Hey guys, I could use some tips/strategies for working on impulsion with Lighty. Sometimes she gets it, big time. Like over ground poles. But a lot of the time she just wants to speed up or slow down. Right now I just use leg aids, squeezing on both sides as I go down. I started to get it a couple of months back, when I had a lesson with a trainer, but we're a tad stuck now. (ah, the woes of trying to find a trainer who will come to your barn as you have no trailer or truck).
So any tips or ways you worked with your horse on it? I get the definition of it, and what the horse should be doing to achieve it, I'm just having trouble with the teaching consistency part of it :]
Instead of using both legs, use only your inside calf (not heal) when the horses inside back leg comes up (when you are posting - its when you rise) and think of lifting her leg with your calf. At the same time engage your keagle muscles (lower abs). Another thing that I find that helps me is to think 'up and forward' (because you want her to lift her front end but at the same time have forward impulsion).
Hope this helps, and good luck!
Notice that impulsion appears after relaxation, rhythm and contact. So in theory to get impulsion, we must first aquire the first three steps of the scale.
I'm going to assume that because this thread isn't titled "my horse is out of control!" that you have the relaxation part down pat. Just remember that if something starts going wrong, ALWAYS come back to this step. If your horse isn't relaxed then they are in "fight or flight" mode and it is impossible to teach them anything.
Now we come to rhythm. This is the regularity of paces, the steps and the stride. The key to good rhythm is setting it at the horse's natural pace, not allowing them to go too slow or rush along. Play with this one and ask for faster and slower steps until you find the tempo that your horse is most natural in. Then you can start working on forward and back transitions in the gait and large figures, keeping the rhythm the same through everything.
Contact should develop quickly after the establishment of rhythm if your reins are the proper length and if you aren't pulling and your arms are supple. The horse's power and push from behind will prompt it to seek the bit and contact. The horse will want to stretch to the bit and take a light contact. Then the circle is complete and this contact recycles energy via tiny half halts and allows the horse to really push itself up and off the ground. Which is impulsion.
This will take a while to develop, but if you ride your horse consistantly and the expections are always the same, soon your horse will develop and advance in the training.
Thanks for the great advice! Yes, she definitely is relaxed at all gaits, I think that I can work more on rhythm though, before worrying a whole lot on impulsion. I'll work on that tomorrow. I feel like I know her natural trot/canter, but keeping it fluid will be good work for me.
Hopefully the trainer my dad is calling today will come through, the lessons are super pricy since its on site, but I really want us to improve.