More impulsion, less speed

AFB

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28 February 2017
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After our recent venture into the dressage world, our feedback is getting pretty consistent now - 'tactfully ridden', 'nice pony, shows potential' and 'more impulsion, less speed' - yesterday he was particularly hot as I had to do P12 between two SJ classes, not ideal as I really didn't have the time to get him to soften and settle, so the majority of the test was me holding an unexploded bomb together, however the judge obviously saw something I didn't to put us second with a mainly 6's (some pretty generous judging IMO!).

Can anybody suggest any exercises for a busy pony that likes to rush, that might help with our 'more impulsion, less speed' comments? More half halts, transitions and circles before going in would have made a world of difference I'm certain, but if anybody can add any strings to our bow it would be greatly appreciated.
 

Farma

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Have you got any video?

From what you are saying the rhythm isn't established during the test, which is the first scale of training not being met, it sounds like you may have to be a little more firm with asking him to wait for you, use your seat to rise smaller and slower and count if you have to (in your mind) to keep the rhythm steadier. You can practice at home by using set markers to see if you are getting the same stride count each time, for example if on one side of the arena you get 10 trot strides between f-m then make sure you get 10 between h-k and that way you can make sure it stays the same, then try and fit 11 in (for example) which will mean you have steadied the trot and then keep that rhythm the same and keep going just by slowing your rising and using half halts to keep the front end up and the back end coming through until you can dictate the exact amount of strides each way.
Once you have mastered that which will take some practice you can use the same idea in a test hopefully.
If he gets tense about just going round the edge do it on the 1/4 and 3/4 lines then you can look at your straightness aswell x
 

JustMe22

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Sounds like he needs to take more weight behind and push rather than rush to me, but obviously it is hard to tell without videos.

Lots of shoulder in and leg yield can help as well as spirals and transitions as you mention. My horse tends to have big paces and wants to resort to going forward very powerfully rather than conpressing himself and we have had to be very strict with making him quicker behind without getting long and strong. Walking poles have helped tremendously to get him bending his hocks, so we now do them a few times a week - you want the horse to stretch down going over them and activate his hind end

Unfortunately its also just a lot of half halts qnd constant rebalancing backed up with leg to get him bouncy, particularly before and after transitions.
 

ruth83

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Transitions within the paces as well as from gait to gait can be helpful. It doesn't have to be collected/working/medium to begin with, just faster/slower (don't go so fast that the balance is running over the forehand though).
 

AFB

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Thanks for the responses, no video I'm afraid, OH had his hands full.

Spirals are a great idea, we used to do those alot but haven't for a while, they helped him soften nicely. Will also try the counting between markers, I've done similar between poles with jumping in mind but not an exercise I've thought to use from a flatwork point of view, if I have something to count to it will help me keep a better rythym for him I'm sure.
 
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