The ultimate aim of this exercise is to increase your horse’s engagement. It can be beneficial for horses that lose impulsion in the movement because it encourages them to move forward and remain engaged. The added engagement will also improve your medium trot cadence and give it more ground cover. You will also improve and perfect your half pass.
The exercise: half-pass, medium trot, half-pass
In trot ride round the corner of the arena and begin half-pass from the quarter marker across the diagonal.
After about six strides of half-pass, straighten your horse and ask for some medium strides as you cross the X marker.
After another six strides or so, half-halt and go back into half pass again. Repeat on the other rein and from both ends of the school.
After the half-pass, you horse should be more engaged, so this exercise could also help to improve the medium trot.
- Come out of the corner asking for half-pass across the diagonal – make sure you look between your horses’ eyes and in the direction you want to go (toward the opposite corner)
- After six strides of so, straighten your horse and ask for some medium trot strides
- Proceed in medium trot across X. This should improve impulsion and engagement
- After around six strides of medium trot, half-halt and position your horse for half-pass again
- Half pass back to the track. Repeat on both reins and from both ends of the arena
If you horse is struggling, it is a good idea to use leg yield rather than half pass. If you do this take your time to make sure your horse is very straight before you ask for medium. You can also ask for less strides of both the half pass and the medium, giving your horse more time to understand what it being asked of him.
This exercise can be used to improve the canter, provided your horse is at a high enough stage of his training and that the arena in which you are schooling is long enough. Repeat the pattern of half-pass, medium canter and half-pass as before. If your horse is not as advanced, you can alternatively use a leg yield instead of half-pass.
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