Impulsion into Connection: my 2 weeks with Hans Biss

Hans Biss with Andrea Hart and her mare Winterfair

I’m sitting at my computer after 12 days of lessons with Hans Biss.
Each day I’ve posted a quote from Hans to Facebook . I think of them as ‘Hansisms’: I know that isn’t a real word but its how I think about all the little pieces of the puzzle he and I worked on over the past 2 weeks. But, simply put it all boils down to: Impulsion into Connection. So, for everyone’s reading enjoyment here are my 12 tidbits.

Day 1 “impulsion into connection”
Day 2 “the more the horse’s head is behind the vertical the less the hind legs can step under”
Day 3 “Every stride in principle is coming back and going forward. How much can he go forward and how much can he go back?”
Day 4 “Pick up your reins with the support of your driving aids. Activate the horse with your inside leg to the outside rein.”
Day 5 “Half Halt and release; repeat as needed.”
Day 6 “In all transitions the horse must know that he should march forward. That the transition is not stopping. That he should remain on the line requested.”
Day 7 “Do not just tire a horse. Lunging needs to be a gymnastic exercise.”
Day 8 “Do not block the horse with the outside rein. Half-Halt and release and ride from the inside leg to the outside rein; remembering to take care of the tendency of the haunches to escape during this process.”
Day 9 “Each step is a turn. Know where the horse’s legs and shoulders are in relation to the line you are on.”
Day 10 “Canter Depart: sit for turning into canter. Lower and go by this turn with impulsion.”
Day 11 “Flying changes are not possible when the neck is turned prematurely. They can only be achieved by riding forward into the new direction with little to no bend in the neck.”
Day 12 “When turning always take into account the speed and the balance of the horse. A horse that is not prepared for a turn will lose their balance and come against the reins. You must also take into account the experience of the horse.”

We of course worked on so much more than just these 12 items. It is really interesting that as I wrote them down each day I did not go back and look at what I had previously written. So, it was with great surprise that I got to Day 1 while writing this blog only to see the title of the blog was the first day’s thought.
These two weeks emphasized the idea that in order to do accomplish your goals in dressage, the horse needs to move freely forward and into connection with impulsion.

I would like to add that I was very fortunate to not only ride my mare Winterfair but to also ride a new young horse. Sharon White was gracious enough to pay for the 12 days for her horse Selten. Hans loved him of course and worked with him each day on the lunge. They worked over trot poles and Selten was even introduced to jumping. I rode him each day after Hans lunged and the change in him from day 1 to 12 was astounding. Many thanks to Sharon for her generosity. I look forward to another intensive clinic with Hans in February.

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