First of all, thank you so much for all your articles. They have given me in a few days what nothing and nobody else has for all the years I've been riding. You make the little pieces come together and I can't express how grateful I am for that. I have the most wonderful trainer I could have asked for but your ability and will to help and make things understood is like I haven't seen in anyone else. Err... back to the topic before I get lost even more...
I've been reading this topic for 4 hours now over and over again (just another boring Sunday afternoon) and the more I try to understand the more confused I am... I guess I was just trying too hard and while things were really making sense in the beginning now I can't seem to be able to clear my head anymore. I have so many questions, but let's take this easy...
The half halt consists of two things. The leg that drives the horse forward with the OPPOSITE rein that supports and adjusts the stride length and swing distance and timing.
So you drive with the inside leg which in trot will affect the outside hind and inside front. This will occure just as the outside leg leaves the ground. This will simply tell to horse to move that leg forward and the strength of your drive will tell the horse the degree of thrust (and affect the length of stride). If the rider stopped there the horse would be going forward in a state of unconstraint and here is where you will find riders saying their horse is falling on the forehand or speeding up as the rider has not told the horse to do anything beyond "go forward".
The second part of the half halt is in modifying just what that leg now in motion is supposed to do beyond just going forward. So the rein aid will occur on the OUTSIDE rein in support of the INSIDE rider's driving leg. That rein aid will in effect catch the leg while it is motion and tell it to slow down ( and start to create suspension) so the arc of the swing of that leg will be higher (but the rate will remain the same, just take up a difference space) and will be planted on the ground at a shorter distance.
So now you have replaced thrust with support. At this point it is up to the rider to adjust the strength of drive (for the longer stride) against the support ( for the shorter stride that is not just mincing steps but actually carry suspension).
All this is the start of collection needed later in advanced riding.
You keep repeating "a half halt given on one side will influence the other side". I have very well memorised this by now, but I seem to have missed the most important part of it - how? Half halt given on the left side will shorten or lenghten the stride on the right side? I seem to be the only one to whom it's not yet obvious by now so it must have been made clear somewhere throughout the topic but if you could maybe repeat it for the slow minded like me..?
First we must know you cannot influence a grounded leg.
So look at your horse as it moves. If the OUTSIDE hind leg is under the horse and therefore ON THE GROUND you as the rider cannot do anything to it. The horse's belly will actually bulge on the opposite side. So when you feel that bulge and use your INSIDE leg to push the belly to the opposite side, the outside leg will have lifted off the ground and your inside driving leg has now told that outside hind to take another stride. The rein aid will be on the outside (opposite to the driving leg)to support the stretching of that side of the horse ( or restrict it) and actually defines just what sort of animation the trot will display.
As I lack this very basic knowledge I don't fully follow the next explanation:
"If the horse is supple enough the half halt along with the riders inside leg should suffice to accomplish the turn..." Can you please specify on WHICH side the half halt is applied? I was always told to half halt on the inside, which would mean that a half halt on the left side influences the opposite side by lenghtening the stride. Is that correct? Or am I utterly lost?
That is all I will ask for now as maybe your answer will answer my other questions too. Thank you in advance.
Again the OUTSIDE rein aid will support any stretching of that side and prevent a turn taken too sharp by the horse.
The basic point is that the rider influences the striding and support by allowing one aid to influence the horse more than the other. Too strong a drive with very light rein aid will result in a longer stride but if the rein aid is NOT supportive enough the horse runs through the bridle. Too much rein and the horse shortens its steps and goes choppy.