2 Minute Training Tips - Better Riding with P.O.T – Sensational Feeling!
Connection is a feeling - a physical sensation of the horse moving your hand forward with him and you going with the horse in your hands, arms and body without restriction.
Connection is a hard feeling to put into words because it's sensations (what your body senses) and responses (what the horse does and then what you do in response) of so many of your body parts and the horses' body parts. For some it's easier to understand when the horse is actually going somewhere like the trot of the canter. But then again it can be harder. The aids must come faster in the trot than the walk. The aids have to come faster in the canter than in the trot. Impulsion doesn't really work in the trot since it's not there. Sigh.
Our brain has to process faster and our reactions and interpretations have to happen faster to communicate with the horse in trot and canter to learn to feel it. You need to have confidence in what you are doing. Impulsion is that driving force behind you – your horses’ haunches. True impulsion, once your feel it becomes something you want to seek out since it’s such a rush. I like to think of a speedboat when the boat motor engages, and the nose comes up and you feel your head snap back a bit as it takes of slicing through the water. That’s the impulsion - that oomph that you feel from the gravitational pull on your body as the boat motor revs up. The trouble is feeling that on a horse that’s just started to develop - well, it can feel like a tiny boat motor force that's barely perceptible. You have to believe in the exercises trying to build impulsion – like forward and back within a gait or transitions to keep believing it’s building.
Another way I like to feel impulsion when not on a horse is the feeling in a car and the driver steps on the gas and you’re not really paying attention and your back gets pressed against the seat. Trying to absorb the push in your pelvis and back as it sinks into the car seat feels like impulsion to me. Horses generally have some type of horsepower or impulsion. Its up to the rider to help the horse use that engine to push forward into a giving equal-ish connection to help them learn to use it and trust you to guide them to and through those moments of thrust.
We forget that the horse has to learn to handle their own power too. I had a horse who we had to put the trot on him. He learned rhythm and regularity first and then we started building up impulsion using gymnastic exercises and piaffe/passage. It made him super powerful and a little scary since he would do a medium trot and not really be able to stop. Like he was so freaked out by his own powerful trot he would just leave the arena. It was nuts for awhile. Thank God for smallish circles at the beginning and ending of those diagonals to teach him to dial back the power. Tell me how you feel impulsion? What are your best ways to explain it? If you need help with developing impulsion in your horse let me know! I can help!
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