The Impulsion and Submission

1. 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 guided by gentle contact with the Athlete’s hand.
1.1. 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. Impulsion is, therefore, seen only in those paces that have a period of suspension.
1.2. Impulsion is a precondition for a good collection in trot and canter. If there is no impulsion, then there is nothing to collect.
2. 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 it is displaying in the execution of the different movements.
The degree of the submission is also demonstrated by the way the Horse accepts the bit, with light and soft contact and a supple poll. Resistance to or evasion of the Athlete’s hand, being either “above the bit” or “behind the bit” demonstrate lack of submission. The main contact with the Horse’s mouth must be through the snaffle bit.
2.1. Putting out the tongue, keeping it above the bit or drawing it up altogether, as well as grinding the teeth or agitation of the tail, are mostly signs of nervousness, tension or resistance on the part of the Horse and must be taken into account by the Judges in their marks for every movement concerned, as well as in the collective mark for “submission”.
2.2. The first thought when considering submission is willingness, that the Horse understands what is being asked of it and is confident enough in the Athlete to react to the aids without fear or tension.
2.3. The Horse’s straightness, uphill tendency and balance enable it to stay in front of the Athlete’s legs and go forward into an accepting and self-carrying contact with the bit. This is what really produces the picture of harmony and lightness.
The fulfilling of the main requirements/movements of a Dressage test is the main criterion for submission.

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