Impulsion : The freedom and regularity of the paces The harmony lightness….

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THE HRCAV RECOGNISES THE FEI DEFINITIONS OF PACES AND MOVEMENTS (extracted from FEI Rules for Dressage Events – 19th Edition) Article 401 – Object and General Principles 1.

The object of Dressage is the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse.

As a result it makes the horse calm, supple, loose and flexible, but also confident, attentive and keen, thus achieving perfect understanding with his rider.

The HRCAV Levels allow the horse and rider combination to be judged at the appropriate standard for each Level.

The Dressage movements requested in the Test, reflect the requirements of the Level applicable. Section Number – Page Number 5-24 Dressage Rules Rev Jan1997 2. The qualities are revealed by: 2.1. 2.2. 2.3. 2.4.

The freedom and regularity of the paces; The harmony, lightness and ease of the movements; The lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the hindquarters originating in a lively impulsion; The acceptance of the bridle, with submissiveness throughout and without any tenseness or resistance. 3. The horse thus gives the impression of doing of his own accord what is required of him.

Confident and attentive, the horse submits generously to the control of the rider, remaining absolutely straight in any movement on a straight line and bending accordingly when moving on curved lines.

The horse’s walk is regular, free and unconstrained.

His trot is free, supple, regular, sustained and active.

His canter is united, light and cadenced.

His hindquarters are never inactive or sluggish.

They respond to the slightest indication of the rider and thereby give life and spirit to all the rest of his body.

By virtue of a lively impulsion and the suppleness of his joints, free from the paralysing effects of resistance, the horse obeys willingly and without hesitation and responds to the various aids calmly and with precision, displaying a natural and harmonious balance both physically and mentally.

In all the horse’s work, even at the halt, it should be “on the bit” for Levels 1 and 2.

A horse is said to be “on the bit” when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the pace, and he accepts the bridle with a light and soft contact and submissiveness throughout.

The head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck, and no resistance should be offered to the rider.

Cadence is the result of the proper harmony that a horse shows when it moves with well-marked regularity, impulsion and balance.

The rhythm that a horse maintains in all his paces is an integral part of cadence.

Cadence must be maintained in all the different exercises and in the variations of each pace.

All paces and movements are judged according to the HRCAV Levels. 4. 5. 6. 7. Section Number – Page Number 5-25 Dressage Rules Rev Jul 1999 Article 402 – The Halt 1.

At the halt, the horse should stand attentive, motionless and straight, with the weight evenly distributed over all four legs, being by pairs abreast with each other.

The neck should be raised, the poll high and the head slightly in front of the vertical.

While remaining “on the bit” and maintaining a light and soft contact with the rider’s hand, the horse may quietly champ the bit and should be ready to move off at the slightest indication of the rider.

The halt is obtained by the displacement of the ho rse’s weight on the quarters by a properly increased action of the seat and legs of the rider, driving the horse towards a more and more restraining but allowing hand, causing an almost instantaneous but not abrupt halt at a previously fixed place.

Article 403 – The walk 1.

The walk is a marching pace in which the footfalls of the horse’s feet follow one another in “four time”, well marked and maintained in all work at the walk.

When the foreleg and hindleg on the same side move almost on the same beat the walk tends to become an almost lateral movement.

This irregularity, which might become an ambling movement, is a serious deterioration of the pace.

It is at the pace of walk that the imperfections of Dressage are most evident.

This is also the reason why a horse should not be asked to walk “on the bit’ at the early stages of his training.

A too precipitated collection will not only spoil the collected walk, but the medium and the extended walk as well.

The following walks are recognised: Collected walk, Medium walk, Extended walk and Free walk. 4.1.

Collected walk.

The horse, remaining “on the bit”, moves resolutely forward, with his neck raised and arched and showing a clear self-carriage.

The head approaches the vertical position, the light contact with the mouth being maintained.

The hindlegs are engaged with good hock action.

The pace should remain marching and vigorous, the feet being placed in regular sequence.

Each step covers less ground and is higher than at the medium walk, because all the joints bend more markedly, showing clear self-carriage.

In order not to become hurried or irregular, the collected walk is shorter than the medium walk, although showing greater activity. 2. — 4.2. Medium walk.

A clear, regular and unconstrained walk of moderate lengthening.

The horse, remaining “on the bit”, walks energetically but calmly, with even and determined steps, the hind feet touching the ground in front of the footprints of the fore feet.

The rider maintains a light, soft and steady contact with the mouth.

Extended walk.

The horse covers as much ground as possible, without haste and without losing the regularity of his steps, the hind feet touching the ground clearly in front of the footprints of the fore feet.

The rider allows the horse to stretch out his head and neck without, however, losing contact with the mouth.

Free walk.

The free walk is a pace of relaxation in which the horse is allowed complete freedom to lower and stretch out the head and neck.

Article 404 – The Trot 4.3. 4.4. 1. The trot is a pace of ‘two time’ on alternate diagonal legs (near left fore and right hind leg and vice versa) separated by a moment of suspension.

The trot, always with free, active and regular steps, should be moved into without hesitation.

The quality of the trot is judged by the general impression, the regularity and elasticity of the steps – originated from a supple back and well engaged hindquarters – and by the ability of maintaining the same rhythm and natural balance, even after a transition from one trot to another.

The following trots are recognised: Collected trot, Working trot, Medium trot and Extended trot. 4.1.

Collected trot.

The horse, remaining “on the bit”, moves forward with the neck raised and arched.

The hocks, being well engaged, maintain an energetic impulsion, thus enabling the shoulders to move with greater ease in any direction.

The horse’s steps are shorter than in other trots, but the horse is lighter and more mobile. 2. 3. 4. Section Number – Page Number 5-27 Dressage Rules Rev Jul 1999 4.2. Working trot.

This is a pace between the collected and the medium trot, in which a horse, not yet trained and ready for collected movements, shows itself properly balanced and, remaining “on the bit”, goes forward with even, elastic steps and good hock action.

The expression “good hock action” does not mean that collection is a required quality of working trot.

It only underlines the importance of an impulsion originated from the activity of the hindquarters.

Medium trot.

This is a clear pace between the working and the extended trot, but more “round” than the latter.

The horse goes forward with free and moderately lengthened steps and an obvious impulsion from the hindquarters, keeping the same character as it has in the working trot.

The rider allows the horse, remaining “on the bit”, to carry its head a little more in front of the vertical than at the collected and the working trot, and allows the horse at the same time to lower the head and neck slightly.

The steps should be as even as possible, and the whole movement balanced and unconstrained.

Extended trot.

The horse covers as much ground as possible.

Maintaining the same cadence, the horse lengthens his steps to the utmost as a result of great impulsion from the hindquarters.

The rider allows the horse, remaining “on the bit”, without leaning on it, to lengthen his frame and to gain ground.

The fore feet should touch the ground on the spot towards which they are pointing.

The movement of the fore and hind legs should be similar (parallel) in the forward moment of the extension.

The whole movement should be well balanced and the transition to collected trot should be smoothly executed by taking more weight on the hindquarters.

Article 405 – The Canter 4.3. 4.4. 1. The canter is a pace of “three time”, where at canter to the right, for instance, the footfalls follow one another as follows: left hind, left diagonal (simultaneously left fore and right hind), right fore, followed by a moment of suspension with all four feet in the air before the next stride begins.

The canter, always with light, cadenced and regular strides, should be moved into without hesitation.

The quality of the canter is judged by the general impression, the regularity and lightness of the three time pace – originated in the acceptance of the bridle with a supple poll and in the engagement of the hindquarters with an active hock action – and by the ability of maintaining the same rhythm and a natural balance, even after a transition from one canter to another.

The horse should always remain straight on straight lines. 2. 3. Section Number – Page Number 5-28 Dressage Rules Rev Jul 1999 4. The following canters are recognised: Collected canter, Working canter, Medium canter and Extended canter. 4.1.

Collected canter.

The horse, remaining “on the bit”, moves forward with the neck raised and arched.

The collected canter is marked by the lightness of the forehand and the engagement of the hindquarters: ie.

Characterised by supple, free and mobile shoulders and very active quarters.

The horse’s strides are shorter than at the other canters, but lighter and more mobile.

Working canter.

This is a pace between the collected and the medium canter, in which a horse, not yet trained and ready for collected movements, shows itself properly balanced and, remaining “on the bit”, goes forward with even, light and cadenced strides and good hock action.

The expression “good hock action” does not mean that collection is a required quality of working canter.

It only underlines the importance of an impulsion originated from the activity of the hindquarters.

Medium canter.

This is a pace between the working and the extended canter.

The horse goes forward with free, balanced and moderately extended strides and on obvious impulsion from the hindquarters.

The rider allows the horse, remaining “on the bit”, to carry his head a little more in front of the vertical than at the collected and working canter, and allows the horse at the same time, to lower his head and neck slightly.

The strides should be long and as even as possible, and the whole movement balanced and unconstrained.

Extended canter.

The horse covers as much ground as possible.

Maintaining the same rhythm, he lengthens his strides to the utmost, without losing any of his calmness and lightness, as a result of great impulsion from the hindquarters.

The rider allows the horse, remaining “on the bit”, without leaning on it, to lower and extend his head and neck; the tip of his nose pointing more or less forward.

The cadence in the transitions from medium canter as well as from extended canter to collected canter should be maintained. 4.2. 4.3. 4.4. 4.5. Section Number – Page Number 5-29 Dressage Rules Rev Jul 1999 5. Counter-Canter (“False canter”) 5.1.

This is a movement where the rider, for instance on a circle to the left, deliberately makes his horse canter with the right canter lead (with the fore leading).

The counter-canter is a balancing movement.

The horse maintains his natural flexion at the poll to the outside of the circle, and the horse is positioned to the side of the leading leg.

The horse’s conformation does not permit its spine to be bent to the line of the circle.

The rider, avoiding any contortion causing contraction and disorder, should especially endeavour to limit the deviation of the quarters to the outside of the circle, and restrict his demands according to the degree of suppleness of the horse. 6. Simple Change of Leg at Canter 6.1.

This is a change of leg where the horse is brought back immediately into walk and, after three to five steps, is restarted immediately into a canter with the other leg leading. 7. Flying Change of Leg or Change of Leg in the Air 7.1.

This change of leg is executed in close connection with the suspension which follows each stride of the canter.

The horse remains light, calm and straight with lively impulsion, maintaining the same rhythm and balance.

Article 406 – The Rein Back 1. The rein back is an equilateral, retrograde movement in which the feet are raised and set down by diagonal pairs.

The feet should be well raised and the hind feet remain well in line.

At the preceding halt as well as during the rein back the horse, although standing motionless and moving backwards respectively, should remain “on the bit”, maintaining his desire to move forward.

Anticipation or precipitation of the movement, resistance to or evasion of the hand, deviation of the quarters from the straight line, spreading or inactive hind legs and dragging fore feet are serious faults.

If in a Dressage Test a trot or canter is required after a rein back, the horse should move off immediately into this pace, without a halt or an intermediate step. 2. 3. 4. Section Number – Page Number 5-30 Dressage Rules Rev Jul 1999 Article 407 – The Transitions 1.

The changes of pace and speed should be clearly shown at the prescribed marker; they should be quickly made, yet must be smooth and not abrupt.

The cadence of a pace should be maintained up to the moment when the pace is changed or the horse halts.

The horse should remain light in hand, calm and maintain a correct position.

The same applies to transitions from one movement to another.

Article 408 – The Half-Halt 1.

The half-halt is a hardly visible, almost simultaneous, coordinated action of the seat, the legs and the hand of the rider, with the object of increasing the attention and balance of the horse before the execution of several movements or transitions to lesser and higher paces.

In shifting slightly more weight onto the horse’s quarters, the engagement of the hind legs and the balance on the haunches are facilitated, for the benefit of the lightness of the forehand and the horse’s balance as a whole.

Article 409 – The Changes of Direction 1.

At changes of direction, the horse should adjust the bend of his body to the curvature of the line he follows, remaining supple and following the indications of the rider, without any resistance or change of pace, rhythm or speed.

When changing direction at right angles, for instance when riding corners, the horse should describe one quarter of a circle of approximately 6 metres diameter at collected and working paces, and at medium and extended paces one quarter of a circle of approximately 10 metres diameter.

The size of the quarter of a circle should be increased as appropriate for the requirements of the lower levels.

When changing direction in form of counter-change of hand, the rider changes direction by moving obliquely either to the quarter line or the centre line or to the opposite long side of the arena, whence he returns on an oblique line to the line the rider was following when starting the movement.

At the counter-change of hand the rider should make the horse straight an instant before changing direction. — Section Number – Page Number 5-32 Dressage Rules Rev Jul 1999 3. Leg-yielding.

The horse is almost straight, except for a slight flexion at the poll away from the direction in which he moves, so that the rider is just able to see the eyebrow and nostril on the inside.

The inside legs pass and cross in front of the outside legs.

Leg-yielding should be included in the training of the horse before he is ready for collected work.

Later on, together with the more advanced movement shoulder-in, it is the best means of making a horse supple, loose and unconstrained, for the benefit of freedom, elasticity and regularity of his paces and the harmony, lightness and ease of his movements.

Leg-yielding can be performed “on the diagonal”, in which case the horse should be as nearly as possible parallel to the long sides of the arena, although the forehand should be slightly in advance of the quarters.

It can also be performed “along the wall”, in which case the horse should be at an angle of about 35 degrees to the direction in which he is moving (refer Appendix 5).

Article 412 – The Lateral Movements 1. 2. The additional aim of lateral movements is to develop and increase the engagement and thereby also the collection.

In all lateral movements – shoulder-in, travers, renvers, half pass the horse is slightly bent and moves with the forehand and the quarters on two different tracks (see diagrams in Dressage Rules Appendix 5).

The bend or flexion must never be exaggerated so that it impairs the balance and fluency of the movement concerned.

At the lateral movements the pace should remain free and regular, maintained by a constant impulsion, yet it must be supple, cadenced and balanced.

The impulsion is often lost because of the rider’s preoccupation mainly in bending the horse and pushing him sideways.

At all lateral movements the side to which the horse should be bent is the inside.

The opposite side is the outside.

Shoulder-in.

The horse is slightly bent round the inside leg of the rider.

The horse’s inside foreleg passes and crosses in front of the outside leg; the inside hind leg is placed in front of the outside leg.

The horse is looking away from the direction in which he is moving.

Shoulder-in, if performed in the right way, with the horse slightly bent round the inside leg of the rider, and at the correct angle, is not only a suppling movement but also a collecting movement, because the horse at every step must move his inside hind leg underneath his body and place it in front of the outside, with the lowering of his inside hip (see Fig 3 Dressage Rules Appendix 5). 3. 4. 5. 6. Section Number – Page Number 5-33 Dressage Rules Rev Jul 1999 7. Travers.

The horse is slightly bent round the inside leg of the rider.

The horse’s outside legs pass and cross in front of the inside legs.

The horse is looking in the direction in which he is moving (see Fig 4 Dressage Rules Appendix 5).

Renvers.

This is the inverse movement in relation to Travers, with the tail instead of the head to the wall.

Otherwise the same principles and conditions are applicable as at the Travers (see Fig 5 Dressage Rules Appendix 5).

Half Pass.

This is a variation of travers, executed “on the diagonal” instead of “along the wall”.

The horse should be slightly bent round the inside leg of the rider in order to give more freedom and mobility of the shoulders, thus adding ease and grace to the movement although the forehand should be slightly in advance of the quarters.

The outside legs pass and cross in front of the inside legs.

The horse is looking in the direction in which he is moving.

He should maintain the same cadence and balance throughout the whole movement.

In order to give more freedom and mobility to the shoulders, which adds to the ease and grace of the movement, it is of great importance, not only that the horse is correctly bent and thereby prevented from protruding his inside shoulder, but also to maintain the impulsion, especially the engagement of the inside hind leg (see Fig 6 Dressage Rules Appendix 5).

Article 413 – The Half-Pirouette 8. 9. 1. The half-pirouette is a half-circle executed on two tracks, with a radius equal to the length of the horse, the forehand moving round the haunches.

Half-pirouettes are carried out at collected walk.

At the half-pirouette the forefeet and the outside hind foot move round the inside hind foot, which forms the pivot and should return to the same spot, or slightly in front of it, each time it leaves the ground.

When the half-pirouette is executed, the horse, slightly bent in the direction in which he is turning, should, remaining “on the bit” with a light contact, turn smoothly round, maintaining the exact cadence and sequence of foot-falls.

The poll stays the highest point during the entire movement.

During the half-pirouette the horse should maintain his impulsion, and never in the slightest way move backwards or deviate sideways.

If the inside hind foot is not raised and returned to the ground in the same rhythm as the outside hind foot, the pace is no longer regular.

The quality of the half-pirouettes is judged according to the suppleness, lightness, cadence and regularity, and to the precision and smoothness of the transitions. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Section Number – Page Number 5-34 Dressage Rules Rev Jan 1997 Article 416 – The Collection 1.

The aim of the collection of the horse is: 1.2.

To further develop and improve the balance and equilibrium of the horse, which has been more or less displaced by the additional weight of the rider; To develop and increase the horse’s ability to lower and engage the quarters for the benefit of the lightness and mobility of the forehand; To add to the “ease and carriage” of the horse and to make him more pleasurable to ride. 1.3. 1.4. 2. The best means to obtain these aims are the lateral movements: travers, renvers and, last but not least, shoulder-in, as well as halfhalts.

Collection is, in other words, improved and effected by engaging the hind legs, with the joints bent and supple, forward under the horse’s body by a temporary but often repeated action of the seat and legs of the rider, driving the horse forward towards a more or less stationary or restraining hand, allowing just enough impulsion to pass through.

Collection is consequently not achieved by shortening of the pace through a resisting action of the hand, but instead by using the seat and legs to engage the hind legs further under the horse’s body.

However, the hind legs should not be engaged too far forwards under the horse, as this would shorten the base of support too much, and thereby impede the movement.

In such a case, the line of the back would be lengthened and raised in relation to the supporting base of the legs, the stability would be deranged and the horse would have difficulty in finding a harmonious and correct balance.

On the other hand, a horse with a too long base of support, unable or unwilling to engage the hind legs forward under the body, will never achieve an acceptable collection, characterised by “ease and carriage” as well as a lively impulsion, originated in the activity of the quarters.

The position of the head and neck of the horse at the collected paces is naturally dependent on the stage of training and, in some degree, on his conformation.

It should, however, be distinguished by the neck being raised unrestrained, forming a harmonious curve from the withers to the poll, being the highest point, with the head slightly in front of the vertical.

However, at the moment the rider applies the aids in order to obtain a momentary and passing collection effect, the head may become more or less vertical. 3. 4. 5. 6. Section Number – Page Number 5-5-35 Dressage Rules Rev July 2005 Article 417 – The Submission 1.

Submission does not mean subordination, but an obedience revealing its presence by a constant attention, willingness and confidence in the whole behaviour of the horse as well as by the harmony, lightness and ease he is displaying in the execution of the different movement.

The degree of submission is also manifested by the way the horse accepts the bridle; with a light and soft contact and a supple poll, or with resistance to or evasion of the rider’s hand; being either “above the bit” or “behind the bit” respectively.

Putting out the tongue, keeping it above the bit or drawing it up altogether, as well as grinding the teeth and swishing the tail are mostly signs of nervousness, tenseness or resistance on the part of the horse and must be taken into account by the Judges in their marks for the movement concerned as well as in the collective mark for “submission”.

Impulsion is the term used to describe the transmission of an eager and energetic, yet controlled, propulsive energy generated from the hind quarters 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.

Speed, of itself, has little to do with impulsion: the result is more often a flattening of the paces.

A visible characteristic is a more pronounced articulation of the hind leg, in a continuous rather than staccato action.

The hock, as the hind foot leaves the ground, should first move forward rather than being pulled upwards, but certainly not backwards.

A prime ingredient of impulsion is the time the horse spends in the air rather than on the ground: in other words, an added expression within the paces always provided that there is a clear distinction between the collected trot and the Passage.

Impulsion, is, therefore seen only in those paces that have a period of suspension.

Article 418 – The Position and Aids of the Rider 1.

All the movements should be obtained without apparent effort of the rider.

The rider should be well balanced, with his loins and hips supple, thighs and legs steady and well stretched downwards.

The upper part of the body easy, free and erect, with the hands low and close together without, however, touching either each other or the horse and with the thumb as the highest point; the elbows and arms close to the body, enabling the rider to follow the movement of the horse smoothly and freely and to apply his aids imperceptibly.

This is the only position making it possible for the rider to school his horse progressively and correctly. 2. 3. 4. Section Number – Page Number 5-36 Dressage Rules Rev July 2005 2. Not only the aids of the hand and the legs but also of the seat are of great importance in Dressage.

Only the rider who understands how to contract and relax his loin muscles at the right moment is able to influence his horse correctly. Section Number – Page Number 5-37 Dressage Rules

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