Until a horse works with rhythm, it will be difficult to make him supple, work to a true contact and the horse certainly cannot work with impulsion.
The rhythm should be regular which is correct for each pace. For example, the walk should be four hoof beats, the trot should be two hoof beats (the legs move in diagonal pairs plus a moment of suspension when all legs are off the ground), and the canter three hoof beats (only one diagonal pair move together and there is a moment of suspension).
The speed of the rhythm should be the same tempo. The horse should not speed up or slow down whether he is going around a corner, doing a circle, on a straight line, or whether he is lengthening his strides or shortening them.
In order to achieve rhythm your horse must be light to the forward and wait aids, which is when you can achieve rhythm as the horse self-maintains its speed. Going on his own, and to keep doing what you asked him to do, is a defining feature of rhythm. Correct training is therefore an important part of this rhythm.
The rhythm should be trained to be self-maintained by the horse, not held by the rider so they collapse when the reins and legs are taken off. Training is about teaching the horse to continue doing what you have asked until signalled otherwise.
Remember – a happy horse is a well trained horse and rider!
Find out more about Giles and his training methods at Huntercombe Horses
Call: 07916 886539 – Facebook: @Huntercoomehorses