Training a young horse HELPP - Page 2

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Training a young horse HELPP

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    01-28-2008, 09:08 PM
Green Broke
Impulsion how to I train a horse to have more impulsion and how do I work on his head set and elasticity ..

I have a good idea on the impulsion but I want some more info for back up

Is there certin excersizes I could do with her??
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    01-28-2008, 09:38 PM
Impulsion simply means to have rhythmic forward movement where the horse is moving from its hind legs (where the forward motion comes from) through his back.

Regarding the headset, here are a couple of my previous posts:

To ask for a headset, you keep the inside rein steady and check and give (like squeezing water out of a sponge) with the outside rein until the horse responds by giving through the jaw and putting its head closer to being in a headset, I.e. Lowering the poll. When he flexes, stop bugging him with your hands, and keep them steady. As soon as he raises his head or moves it out of the headset, you want to correct it by asking with the outside rein.
Ideally, I want to see a horse with a long and low headset when first learning, then you can bring the neck up and tucked when you further your dressage training. I like to see the neck flexed and the poll around the height of the wither with the head flexed so the nose is on the vertical..It looks more equitation-horse/ hunt-seat horse but this allows your horse's back to strengthen enough to ask for the "swan neck" in dressage, if you're going that far.

Picture examples:

Horse not in headset:

Horses nicely flexed in equitation-style/hunt-seat style headset:

Nice dressage Headset:

Horse Behind the Vertical:

Horse in front of the Vertical:
I would also encourage you teach him to stretch. Take the rein like you're asking for the headset, and squeeze and release and ask him to drop his nose down. You use the same aids as you would to get a headset, but when he drops his head down more past the point of his usual headset, release your hand forward as well to encourage him to take the bit and move his nose to the ground. This will take a while, but it's very worth it. Eventually you want to be able to get him to trot forward with his nose practically on the ground while you ride on the buckle.
That brings me to my next point: if your horse is losing impulsion when you ask him in a frame through your transitions, then something isn't right. Forget about the headset for a few minutes and just make him trot forwards. Impulsion should come before headset, and the horse shouldn't lose impulsion while in a headset, so take him back to square one - just get him moving forwards. Once he's been moving forward for a few laps around the ring, slowly ask him to come to a frame, and ask him to keep the same impulsion while you're doing this. Take impulsion over the headset.
Once he's holding the headset and impulsion at the same time, take a sitting trot - remember, the trot-walk transition should come fom the seat. Your sitting trot (when asking to walk) should indicate to him that this is your way of saying "yellow light - watch for the red!" and then sit deep in your seat and ask for a walk. Once your horse starts walking, DON'T QUIT RIDING! As SOON as he takes his first walk step, move him into a nice working walk.
The same is for the walk-trot transition. Get your horse walking comfortably in the frame, then give a check-give with your rein, indicating that something's going to happen, then ask him into a trot with your legs. Don't change your hands, seat or leg while doing this - if your horse is putting its head up, that tells me that you may be losing contact while asking for the change of gait. Once he starts trotting, then make him work forwards RIGHT OFF THE BAT - don't let his trot to get choppy. Don't worry about the head - if it pops up for a few strides, fine. At least he's working forwards. Once he's okay with working forwards from the transition, then you can re-introduce the frame.
You want her to be supple, so working on lots of bending exercises will certianly help - serpentines, circles, figure eights, spirals (going from a 20m circle to a 10m then back out to a 20m), counterbending, etc to get the horse to bend and work around your legs.

Don't ignore your walk either, make sure she WORKS in the walk (too many people forget about this gait because it's "easy") so don't let her die into a walk from the trot or canter... make her have a good solid 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 walk, where you're marching to get somewhere rather than moseying along. All this should be done while holding a long and low frame (for a young horse)

In the trot I like to see impulsion from behind while working up and through a nice long and low frame (think Hunt Seat) where the horse is learning to come back on its hind end and not leaning on its front end. I want to see it working through its back to have a nice elastic trot.

In the canter, the horse should hold the frame again, and have a balanced 3-beat canter. NO LOPING. He should be working into the bridle and balanced on its hind end. The canter should be rhythmic and not rushy. If the horse is rushy, circles will help.
    01-28-2008, 10:06 PM
Green Broke
Lol I think you confused me a bit im not sure how to work on the head set this weekend I might free lunge her and ill record it and ill put it up

If you want you can e-mail me at

And maybe explain it a little simpler lol
    01-28-2008, 10:08 PM
Haha oops!!
For the headset, just pay attention to this part:
To ask for a headset, you keep the inside rein steady and check and give (like squeezing water out of a sponge) with the outside rein until the horse responds by giving through the jaw and putting its head closer to being in a headset, I.e. Lowering the poll. When he flexes, stop bugging him with your hands, and keep them steady. As soon as he raises his head or moves it out of the headset, you want to correct it by asking with the outside rein.

.. better? Or should I try explaining in different terms?
    01-28-2008, 10:10 PM
Green Broke
If you want to get into natural horsemanship I recommend Parelli.... the whole set is like $500 which is way too pricey for me, but I watch his shows on RFDTV which is on most satellites, and I bought his book "Natural Horse-man-ship" What he can do with horses is absolutely amazing!!
    01-28-2008, 10:46 PM
Green Broke
Justdressageit: I understand most of it but what do you mean by (just like sqeezing water out of a sponge) I reallyy think im miss understanding that part

Mlk: ya I was thinking about parelli
    01-28-2008, 11:00 PM
I mean what most people call "checking and giving" with the rein, however I find that people take that a little too far, where they're actually pulling and releasing, where it's just supposed to be a simple motion in the hand only.. so you check (squeeze with your hand) and then release (open the hand) but the motion shouldn't be anything more than like the motion you'd go through to squeeze water out of a sponge.
Does that clear things up?
    01-31-2008, 12:12 AM
Meet trainers, ask ?s, read books, ask ?s, watch movies, go to seminars, ask ?s, experiment what works for your horse, and ask ?s

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