Feel free to comment on my riding, I would be particularly interested on way to improve the halt which was poor in the Novice test
One of the things that many people don't think about with the halt, is that it is a VERY forward movement, if done correctly. Many people just tell the horse to stop with the hands and some seat and minimal legs. As a result, the horse falls forward onto the forhand.....then the horse's head comes up, the back hollows and they often fall onto one shoulder causing them to slip sideways.
As you ride the halt, increase the leg during the halt. Make the horse step forward with the haunch as he is stopping. Then, as soon as the horse halts, release all that energy you created by relaxing the hand. Otherwise, the horse will still be energized and seek escape. If they hit a hard hand still holding the rein, they will step back. It is a delicate balancing act....how much leg/hand/seat.....
What a nice haffie!!
I would say you need to create more and better bend. You were unable to really use your corners (a terribly useful tool to energize and balance the test) because the horse didn't bend well enough. It was especially seen in the canter where he, at times, even counterbent a bit. He fell pretty heavily on his inside shoulder.
On your trot diagonals.....slow that tempo down. He got a "quickening" instead of a lengthening. Keep him light on the forehand because if he is heavy, he will quicken every time. The diagonals are where using your corners in a tactical manner will be especially helpful.
Ok, no more nit picking. What I saw here was a lovely team who's going to have a fabulous time. That haffie is very talented (as seen by your placing). When bending and lightening improves will be even harder to beat.
Keep up the great work!!!