The half halt is an important, yet often misunderstood concept. When performed correctly, the half halt can help get your horse on the bit and is useful for changing gait, balance and movement – it is used to bring the horse into an improved state of balance.
Here we look at some top tips for mastering half halts:
- There is no “stopping” in a half halt. Think of the half halt as a ‘half-go’ instead – there is no stopping
- Half halts should contain power from behind, as if you’d asked for a medium gait
- A generic half halt consists of the momentary closure of seat, legs, and hands
- Confusion stems from the fact that there are many possible variations of the above, as you can you’re your seat, legs, and hands in different ways – you can also vary the duration and intensity
- Different variations create different results, such as connection or collection
- To ask your horse onto the bit, use the half halt so that you ‘connect’ your horse’s back end to his front end – use your driving and bending aids:
- Close both calves on to the horse to create a surge of power from behind
- Close your outside hand (rein of opposition) to capture, contain, and recycle the energy back to the hind legs
- Give three little squeezes and releases on the inside rein to keep the neck straight
- Soften everything
- Return to the light, maintenance pressure of legs and hands you had before the half halt
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