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posted by Horse Owner Today    |   May 29, 2011 10:28

A horse is said to have impulsion when the energy created by the hind legs is being transmitted into the gait and into every aspect of the forward movement.  A horse can be said to be working with impulsion when it pushes off energetically from the ground and swings its feet well forward.

To be able to work with impulsion in trot and canter, the horse needs first to be able to show looseness (Losgelassenheit), a springy, swinging back, and a soft, correct contact.  Impulsion is only possible in the trot and canter.  There can be no impulsion in the walk because there is no moment of suspension.

The impulsion is of good quality if the hocks are carrier energetically forwards and upwards immediately after the feet leave the ground, rather than being carried only upwards, or being drawn backwards.  The movements are absorbed by the horse’s back muscles, so that the rider can sit softly and ‘go with’ the movement, and while still feeling the powerful forward thrust of the hind legs: the horse is said to ‘take the rider with it’.

Impulsion is created by training.  The rider makes use of the horse’s natural paces, but ‘adds’ to them looseness, forward thrust (originating in the hindquarters) and suppleness (Durchlässigkeit).

If the horse is pushed too hard so that it quickens its steps, the moment of suspension (suspension phase) is shortened because it puts its feet down sooner.  Even if the rhythm is maintained, if the tempo is too fast, the impulsion will suffer as a result.