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Half-halt in half a minute. March 22, 2015

Posted by mikeschaffer in balance, competition, contact, dressage, half-halts, looseness, performance standards.
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A half-halt is half of a halt.  A halt is a forward going stop.  To ride a horse forward to a stop (halt) he must understand what you want and do it because you asked him to.

You can (sometimes) make a horse “stop” with strong use of hand and leg by making it difficult or impossible for him to keep going.   However, a rider cannot use strong physical aids to “forward going stop” a horse.  To ride a horse forward to a halt you must use aids that allow him to go forward.  Aids that request, encourage and allow.

A rider can slow a horse down with strong hands and legs – but that is a slow down, not a half-halt.  A rider cannot physically half-halt a horse (FEI definition be damned!).  He can only ask the horse, with whispering aids,  to collect himself.  Since we rely on the horses’ understanding of the aids for the correct response, there is no problem with the horse listening for what we want next  and doing that as well.

Times up.

Mike

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Comments»

1. Patrick - April 28, 2015

mike your books etc show you have a good way with words but on this occasion I am struggling to make sense of it….

mikeschaffer - April 29, 2015

Hi Patrick,

the trick to following the 30 second version of the half-halt explanation is to have a good grasp of moving forward to collection, a downward transition, or a halt. Thsi means there is no backwards pulling by the rider or bracing by the horse. I don’t know if this helps – I’m in the proscess of writing much more on the subject and hope to have it ready fairly soon.

Mike


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