Saturday, June 6, 2009

Finally, the Impulsion, Collection Connection.

Robin and a Random Chestnut

Now that Impulsion is well understood and the anatomic mechanics of Collection have been explained, all that remains is to make the connection between the two. The relationship between Impulsion and Collection is simple and elegant.

Simply stated, Collection is a measure of Impulsion with respect to the horse’s velocity. Thus:

Collection = Impulsion/Velocity

But if, as explained in previous posts

Impulsion = Horse's Response/Rider's Cues


Collection = Horse's Response/((Velocity)(Rider's Cues))

So once the horse has Impulsion, then all that is needed to make him Collected is to reduce his Velocity, without losing Impulsion. But by looking at the last formula, it becomes clear that Collection can be increased by adjusting one, or all, of three variables in the following manner:

1. Increase the Horse's Responses

2. Decrease Velocity

3. Decrease the Riders Cues

Actually, it would be nice to do all three.

This can be seen when a horse is brought to an extreme state of Collection by a reduction of velocity as he is brought from a working or Extended trot to a Collected trot. From the Collected trot, his responses are kept high but his velocity is reduced as he is brought down to the Passage where a moment of suspension in the trot delays forward movement. Then the horse’s velocity is reduced even further as he trots in place in the Piaffe, while still remaining responsive.

At this point, the horse’s forward movement is reduced as far as possible (Velocity is near zero), so the only way to increase Collection is by increasing the horse’s response. Thus the next step is the Pesade as all the weight of the horse is loaded on the hindquarters in a rearing motion. In other words, the Horse responds without increasing Velocity. Next in line is the Levade, a lower more difficult form of the Pesade. From the Levade, an even greater responsiveness can be achieved in the Corbette, causing the horse to hop into the air from the Levade. And finally, the greatest response to the cues with no forward movement is the high flying Capriole.

The Western horse will undergo a similar sequence as he is put through his paces in the Reining Arena. The finale of his sequence will be a demonstration of extreme Impulsion as he is asked to gallop at full speed. Then his Collection is put to the test as he is asked to respond on a loose rein and bring his forward velocity to zero in the Slide-stop while still maintaining the high Impulsion established in the gallop.

Now that the relationship between Collection and Impulsion is understood, developing Collection becomes nothing more than a matter of increasing Impulsion while at the same time decreasing Velocity. Beware of exercises that seek only an arched neck or lowered head. These may give the appearance of Collection but without a high Impulsion to Velocity ratio, it will be an illusion.


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