Your Horse Is Designed To MOVE
I heard a fascinating theory from someone the other day, that stock horses cannot achieve suspension and lift. This is simply false. ANY horse can achieve lift and suspension when properly motivated and prepared.
I think this misconception about certain breeds being incapable of certain movements is that some breeds more naturally and frequently display these movements absent external motivation. For example, Iberian breeds often display flambouyant and bouncy movement with little to no prompting, while stock horses frequently demonstrate a more subdued way of going. However, this difference does NOT mean the stock horses are incapable of animated and diverse movement. It simply means they need to be better motivated and encouraged to explore their own movement!
Every breed, age, and type of horses is, above all else, designed to MOVE! And move with EXPRESSION! They literally have pogo sticks for legs, and their entire body is designed to bounce, and direct that bounce wherever they’d like to go without falling down. It is actually less efficient for a horse to move without suspension, because it means he isn’t using his biomechanical systems to their fullest advantage. Think about when you try to walk and run. You can probably walk along just fine while never getting “air-time” - the point at which you have no contact with the ground. However, if you try to go much faster than a walk, you’re going to rapidly run into problems with not propelling yourself through the air. It becomes incredibly difficult and inefficient to try and keep your feet constantly on the ground while moving forwards.
The same goes for your horse, to an even higher degree. He was designed to bounce. He was designed to achieve suspension with each stride. So allow him to. Encourage him to. And build his confidence in doing so. In the end you will end up with a healthier, happier athlete who can use his body to its fullest potential. Photo of a flouncy bouncy paint horse as evidence for floaty stock critters.