Cantering AFTER fences
   

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Cantering AFTER fences

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  • Trotting into a fence and cantering away
  • Why do horses canter fences

 
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    03-31-2010, 10:13 PM
  #1
Trained
Cantering AFTER fences

I was over on some other forums to see what other folks argue about. I came across a thread with a green horse learning to jump. The video showed the horse trotting in and then coming back down to a trot after landing. More than a few replies said that the horse should always canter away from a jump. I guess the logic was, if the horse cannot even keep a canter going, how the heck are you supposed to get the necessary impulsion to jump larger fences. Is this true?
     
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    03-31-2010, 10:25 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
Not at all. I always start a horse trotting over fences and trotting out. As they develop balance and engagement over the fence I start trotting in and cantering out. Only after they are able to do that well do I canter in and canter out. Even my best jumpers will be asked to trot in and trot out on occasion.

A horse does not need impulsion to jump bigger fences as much as they need balance and engagement of the haunch. I will walk a horse up to a fence that is 3' and jump it from a walk. It is no problem if the horse knows how to use his haunch.

No amount of impulsion will replace engagement. A fast moving horse may just as easily be heavy on its forehand making any jump ackward.
     
    03-31-2010, 11:00 PM
  #3
Banned
Big crock of horse do-do.
     
    04-01-2010, 01:07 AM
  #4
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allison Finch    
Not at all. I always start a horse trotting over fences and trotting out. As they develop balance and engagement over the fence I start trotting in and cantering out. Only after they are able to do that well do I canter in and canter out. Even my best jumpers will be asked to trot in and trot out on occasion.

A horse does not need impulsion to jump bigger fences as much as they need balance and engagement of the haunch. I will walk a horse up to a fence that is 3' and jump it from a walk. It is no problem if the horse knows how to use his haunch.

No amount of impulsion will replace engagement. A fast moving horse may just as easily be heavy on its forehand making any jump ackward.
just to clarify - I believe you are confusing impulsion with speed. Impulsion is engagement of the hind end and propelling the horse fro behind, so essentially one and the same. With regards to horse movement, fast does NOT = forward and I think that is where your confusion lies.

For a horse to be able to jump from a walk, he needs impulsion in the form of engagement of the hind end and back muscles.

To the OP I agree with the comments quoted (save for the clarification on impulsion). Forward is important - forward comes from impulsion. Fast is NOT important, as fast does NOT necessarily include balance or impulsion. Trotting in and trotting out is a great way to teach a green horse to jump without rushing with a focus on a steady rhythm and pace. If the horse ONLY knows to trot in and canter out, effectively you're training the horse that after landing, they need to speed up - and can you imagine how disastrous that could be over a full course with a semi-green horse?

Here's an article I wrote that may help, including the USEF definition of impulsion as it relates to engagement of the hind end:

Understanding Impulsion, Suspension, and Action in the Gaits

Often you hear people talk about a horse's suspension, impulsion, and action, something you hear most in the Dressage rings, but you will hear with regards to other disciplines as well. Hunters are known for having "flat knees" and saddleseat and carriage horses have "high action", while dressage horses are known for having "great suspension", but just what does this mean?

First, let's look at the difference between suspension and action. Suspension comes from impulsion. Action specifically refers to the action in the joint that occurs during flexion and contraction of the muscles around that joint. So a horse with more action in their hocks simply flexes the muscles and joint in a more pronounced way (this also can be impacted by limb angles and conformation) than a horse with less action. Suspension is the time in which the horse is suspended from the ground during any particular gait. Suspension will occur more naturally in horses who are better built to carry themselves conformationally meaning that they also have more natural impulsion or self carriage.

Next, let's define impulsion. Impulsion is the ability of the horse to propel with energy from the hind end, specifically defined in the USEF Rule book as:

"the transmission of an eager and energetic, yet controlled propulsive energy generated from the hindquarters into the athletic movement of the horse. Its ultimate expression can be shown only through the horse’s soft and swinging back to be guided by a gentle contact with the rider’s hand."

So how do suspension, impulsion, and action all relate when discussing movement of a horse? Quality movement must have impulsion. A horse moving with impulsion will have more suspension in their gaits than a horse moving without impulsion. And a horse must have good joint action in order to be able to be able to move with impulsion and thus suspension. However good joint action and excessive high action is entirely different and not always desirable. So how do you tell the difference?

A horse with high action may appear at a glance to have more suspension but to be sure you need to look at actual movement. If the horse is not carrying themselves and moving with impulsion, then the actual time where the horse is physically suspended from the ground will be less than a horse with true impulsion. This can create the illusion that suspension and action are directly related, when in reality, a horse can have less joint action, but better self carriage and impulsion and actually stay suspended from the ground longer because they are propelling themselves forward rather than up. Remember that less exaggerated joint flexion coupled with more hind end power (impulsion) will still equal suspension.

Now that the difference between impulsion, suspension, and action is clear, we can better understand the "flat kneed" movement of a hunter and the "high action" movement of a saddleseat horse, and the suspended movement of a dressage horse.

With a typical hunter, judges look for conformation and soundness coupled with an even pace that would be comfortable to ride on the hunt field for an extended amount of time. This is where the "flat knee" expression comes in. A horse with less knee action and a free flowing shoulder will have a stride that is long and smooth making it easy to sit. When this horse moves with impulsion, the result is a long forward stride with quiet joint action. Think of the difference in riding a horse with sweeping movement as opposed to a non-gaited horse with a lot of joint action - the horse with the sweeping movement will be easier to sit to for a longer amount of time.

When it comes to saddleseat horses, you tend to see judges looking for that high stepping joint action referred to as animation, coupled with good impulsion and energy. Over-exaggeration of joint action is undesirable, however a naturally more active horse will be considered more animated, which is a criteria for which horses are judged. Animated movement which includes more noticeable joint flexion coupled with impulsion and suspension is most often see at the "Park" gaits, which as per the USEF are considered highly collected and animated. In this case, both impulsion and action are needed, collectively creating suspension that shows off the animated movement of the horse.

Finally, how does this relate to the dressage horse? In dressage, impulsion is looked for at every level in every gait. The more collected the horse in their movements, the more action they will need to have in their joints to perform that movement with quality while maintaining impulsion. For example, a horse performing an extended trot will use their impulsion to propel them forward in the gait, with more forward suspension and less upward suspension as they cover more ground. On the other hand, a horse performing a piaffe will need significantly more joint flexion in order to be able to maintain impulsion while staying in the same place, causing the impulsion to push them upwards rather than forwards. A horse overflexing their hocks at an extended trot is equally as undesirable as a horse performing the paiffe with sub-par hock flexion. In dressage, a horse with impulsion, action, and suspension will place well, however impulsion is always most important and the action of the joints must match the movement being performed.

The key to quality gaits in any riding horse is impulsion, regardless of discipline. The amount and type of suspension and action that goes with that impulsion will vary by discipline and the movement being performed.
     
    04-01-2010, 09:19 AM
  #5
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ82Sky    
forward comes from impulsion.
No, a horse must first be forward before anything else can happen. Forward is before any part of the training scale. Impulsion is 4th on the training scale after acceptance of contact. No forward, no nothing.

Forward is as much a state of mind and being as it is an action. Moving from point A to point B with a purpose, with motivation, in front of the rider's aids..that is forward.

Quote:
Suspension comes from impulsion.
This is correct. Simply put, impulsion is a change of 'forward energy' INTO 'upward energy'.
     
    04-01-2010, 09:24 AM
  #6
Trained
CJ8Sky! Glad you are back my dear!!!

Quote:
I guess the logic was, if the horse cannot even keep a canter going, how the heck are you supposed to get the necessary impulsion to jump larger fences. Is this true?
If the horse doesn't have a strong foundation of dressage under them - well, horse and rider, then they shouldn't be going to bigger fences in the first place. That's my theory :P

You obtain balance and quality gaits through working on dressage. You know where I'm going with this MyBoyPuck.

I'm actually quite surprised that at the barn I board at, there are riders doing 3'0" comps, with absolutely no dressage. All they do is hop on, trot around the arena flat, do a bit of canter flat and on the forehand, then they jump - with no knowledge of the importance of riding back to front.

Dumbfounds me. I mention dressage to some of the riders, and I get "I hate dressage, I'll do anything but" - and my answer is, "Well, that's why your horse sucks back so much and you blast through the fences flat and heavy"
     
    04-01-2010, 11:47 AM
  #7
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
No, a horse must first be forward before anything else can happen. Forward is before any part of the training scale. Impulsion is 4th on the training scale after acceptance of contact. No forward, no nothing.

Forward is as much a state of mind and being as it is an action. Moving from point A to point B with a purpose, with motivation, in front of the rider's aids..that is forward.
ACK that's what I mean - forward first, all else follows is one of my fave sayings. See what I get for posting at 1am on cold meds? Lol! Forward does not = fast and fast does not = forward though. Thanks for correcting me!!!
     
    04-01-2010, 11:50 AM
  #8
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIEventer    
CJ8Sky! Glad you are back my dear!!!



If the horse doesn't have a strong foundation of dressage under them - well, horse and rider, then they shouldn't be going to bigger fences in the first place. That's my theory :P

You obtain balance and quality gaits through working on dressage. You know where I'm going with this MyBoyPuck.

I'm actually quite surprised that at the barn I board at, there are riders doing 3'0" comps, with absolutely no dressage. All they do is hop on, trot around the arena flat, do a bit of canter flat and on the forehand, then they jump - with no knowledge of the importance of riding back to front.

Dumbfounds me. I mention dressage to some of the riders, and I get "I hate dressage, I'll do anything but" - and my answer is, "Well, that's why your horse sucks back so much and you blast through the fences flat and heavy"

Hiiii! I've missed everyone....right now done traveling for a few (i hope... was back and forth to ohio over a national rescue case there complete with me getting to give news interview blech) and now home. Working on rehoming about 15 horses across the country at the moment (if anyone wants a horse?!) and staying sane with the day job lol. Hope to be on here more - I never disappear for too long though!

And I agree - I don't understand how riders can do a 3' course with the horse on the fore, leaning and dragging with no cadence and balance and think it's okay? Basic dressage (the fundamentals of balanced riding in horse and rider) improves all disciplines! The concept of forward first, and all else will follow is universal, both english and western. You can't get a correct headset without the horse first moving forward and learning to relax and seek contact on the bit. When I see the riding front to back it kills me.
     
    04-01-2010, 12:01 PM
  #9
Yearling
[QUOTE=Mercedes;592354]No, a horse must first be forward before anything else can happen. Forward is before any part of the training scale. Impulsion is 4th on the training scale after acceptance of contact. No forward, no nothing.


Actually impulsion doesn't have to be when you are going forward. If you collect you still need impulsion.. And going faster doesn't mean there is impulsion in the hind end. The horse can just drop its back and go as fast as it wants. Although it is sometimes easier to have impulsion while going forward doesn't mean that's what impulsion is. Also, being "infront of the leg" just means that your horse has come up into your hands and is moving uphill.
     
    04-01-2010, 12:27 PM
  #10
Started
[quote=Arksly;592454]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercedes    
No, a horse must first be forward before anything else can happen. Forward is before any part of the training scale. Impulsion is 4th on the training scale after acceptance of contact. No forward, no nothing.


Actually impulsion doesn't have to be when you are going forward. If you collect you still need impulsion.. And going faster doesn't mean there is impulsion in the hind end. The horse can just drop its back and go as fast as it wants. Although it is sometimes easier to have impulsion while going forward doesn't mean that's what impulsion is. Also, being "infront of the leg" just means that your horse has come up into your hands and is moving uphill.
since forward does not need to be fast, it implies movement covering ground with energy, even a collected movement still retains elements of correct forward movement. Forward is first, impulsion comes after that, and collection is last but each is a building block for the next. Remembering that forward does not = speed a horse can be collected and still considered forward and engaged. It's in slight technicalities in uses of the term forward as it relates to riding that tends towards confusion.

You can't have impulsion w/o forward and you bring up an excellent point - forward also implies "in front of the leg" meaning the horse is moving willingly at the requested gait in front of the rider's aids.

There is no impulsion w/o forward. Forward first, all else will follow.

Remember the USEF definition of impulsion is : "the transmission of an eager and energetic, yet controlled propulsive energy generated from the hindquarters into the athletic movement of the horse. Its ultimate expression can be shown only through the horse’s soft and swinging back to be guided by a gentle contact with the rider’s hand."

Note that the bolded part specifically defines forward movement - controlled propulsive energy generated from the hindquarters into the athletic movement of the horse - this can not come WITHOUT having a forward moving horse. Remember also that in terms of horse training, forward is not as much directional (as in the horse is moving forward) but more a description of energy and beginning of engagement (the horse is a forward mover using his hind end to drive his gaits).

Hope that helps!

     

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