Impulsion without Rushiness
Basically what the title says.
How do you create impulsion without rushiness? If I squeeze with my legs, he rushes and speeds up his steps. If I take up contact, he slows down and ignores my legs. Unless we're in a field but that's a different story.
It sounds to me like you're not creating a true contact if the horse is backing off of the contact and slowing down. Riding with impulsion takes a combination of leg, a soft contact through a flowing hand, and a centered riding position in the saddle and balance. First work on the horse moving forward and accepting the bit on a long rein where the horse reaches for the bit on the long rein while trotting forward. As the horse begins to stretch down, you can gradually pick up the reins and take a soft contact, while maintaining forward motion keeping your leg engaged and allowing the horse to still be able to use his head. As he learns to accept bit contact and you are able to keep your leg engaged, he will build muscle allowing the impulsion to become easier to get and maintain while riding. Good luck!
Transitions. Lots and lots of transitions. You can start fro the halt to walk, walk to halt. See if you can nudge your horse forward with the feeling of his hind end pushing first. If your horse gets heavy in front, stop, back up or rock him back, then nudge forward again. Repeat alot, and transition often. Only a few steps of walk before you halt. Each time you ask for him to walk forward, there is a lightness in your seat, but you maintain a soft even contact on the reins. Don't throw them away when you ask for forward. Be still in the saddle, don't tip forwards when you want him to walk forwards. Use a whip if you need to, to tap him up underneath you. Don't allow forwards until you feel him rock back. With each transition he will push more with his hind end, which is creating impulsion. He cannot push from behind if he is too down in front, too heavy in front, and too much on the forhand. That is why you either rock them back, or back them up. Even in the back up horses can be down in front. Raise your hands towards the sky and "bump" him up.
You can work your way from walk to trot, trot to walk.
Millions of transitions will create impulsion. Note that you need to maintain an even, soft contact with the reins so that your horse has a clear place to push into. If your rein contact is always varying, he will have a hard time finding where he is supposed to be. Just food for thought. :)
I agree with transitions. Transitions are my horse's friend! lol. They really help him lengthen out and become more lofty in his gaits. I'm at the point now where on the ground I'm working on our walk-canter transitions and today he nearly did a halt-canter transition. I LOVE'em!
True impulsion is when go=whoa. The horse is just as ready to go as he is to slow....he's ready to go forwards, backwards, right, left, up and down at any moment.
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