Throughness

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A diagram showing the flow of energy in a "through" horse Wellenbewegung-pferd.jpg
A diagram showing the flow of energy in a "through" horse

In equestrianism, throughness is an absence of resistance in the horse to the rider's commands.

A 'through' horse is perfectly submissive, allowing the rider's aids to go freely through the animal, with the reins influencing the forehand, and the riders' seat and legs influencing the hindquarters. When completely through, the horse is soft and elastic, with a connection from back to front, balanced and relaxed. It is supple and attentive to the rider's aids, and will willingly respond at the slightest touch, not only to the driving aids, but also to the restraining aids. [1]

Throughness is often compared to a circuit of energy between horse and rider: the rider's leg aids encourage energetic movement in the hindquarters, which push the back upward, which in turn allows for connection with the front end and the bit, and the connection felt in the bit transmits a feeling of energetic movement back to the rider's hands. [1] Of course, this is a question of "feel", meaning a very soft reaction in the rider's hands. If a rider gives driving aids and the horse responds by putting a lot of weight into the rider's hands, the horse is not "through" at all, but unbalanced and dependent on the hands of the rider to keep itself in balance.

Throughness is most important in dressage riding, essential for impulsion, but a through horse can make riding easier in all equestrian disciplines.

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Riding aids equestrian sport

Riding aids are the cues a rider gives to a horse to communicate what they want the animal to do. Riding aids are broken into the natural aids and the artificial aids.

Lateral movements or lateral flexions within equestrianism, have a specific meaning, used to refer to movements made by a horse where the animal is moving in a direction other than straight forward. They are used both in training and in competition, vary in difficulty, and are used in a progressive manner, according to the training and physical limitations of the animal.

Impulsion

Impulsion is the movement of a horse when it is going forward with controlled power. Related to the concept of collection, impulsion helps a horse effectively use the power in its hindquarters. To achieve impulsion, a horse is not using speed, but muscular control; the horse exhibits a relaxed spinal column, which allows its hindquarters to come well under its body and "engage" so that they can be used in the most effective manner to move the horse forward at any speed.

The turn of the haunches is a lateral movement performed at the halt and walk, used in horse training. It requires the horse, while bent in the direction of the turn, to move his forehand around his hindquarters so that he makes a very small circle with the inside foreleg. The horse should pivot around a hindleg, as seen in the spin. Additionally, the horse should continue to display basic requirements of dressage, such as an even and regular rhythm, relaxation, acceptance of the aids, balance, and freedom of movement.

The shoulder-in is a lateral movement in dressage used to supple and balance the horse and encourage use of its hindquarters. It is performed on three tracks, where the horse is bent around the rider's inside leg so that the horse's inside hind leg and outside foreleg travel on the same line. For some authors it is a "key lesson" of dressage, performed on a daily basis.

On the bit

The phrases "on the bit", "behind the bit" and "above the bit" are equestrian terms used to describe a horse's posture relative to the reins and the bridle bit. A position on the bit is submissive to the rider's rein aids, given through the bit. When a horse is behind the bit, the head is tucked too far down and rearward. If above the bit, then the head is too high.

The half-halt is a specific riding aid given by an equestrian to his horse, in which the driving aids and restraining aids are applied in quick succession. It is sometimes thought of as an "almost halt," asking the horse to prepare to halt in balance, before pushing it onward to continue in its gait.

References

  1. 1 2 United States Dressage Federation, USDF Glossary of Judging Terms (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-02-14, retrieved 2009-06-12