Need help staying in a square halt. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-12-2012, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Need help staying in a square halt.

With a lot of work and awareness of my leg, we're finally traveling straight down the center line and are able to get a square halt. However, as soon as I salute, Primo swings to the Left (most of the time). It's not a little step, we're now facing the corner to some extent.

He does cant his hind quarters to the left given the option, so I have to have my leg back slightly to keep his butt in line as we prepare for the halt. How do I keep him that way through the salute? I've tried carrying a whip, tapping with my heel, and some other rather visible cues and nothing seems to be keeping that hind end from moving a second or two after the halt.

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post #2 of 9 Old 02-12-2012, 08:37 PM
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When you salute, are you collapsing through one side? My money would be on this. As you salute, you shift your weight unconsciously, probably to the opposite side that you are saluting on. He can sense it, even if you have no idea you are doing it, and that cues him to step under that weight.

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post #3 of 9 Old 02-12-2012, 08:47 PM
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Try saluting with your left hand, instead of your right. Just try it and see if it makes any difference.
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-12-2012, 09:07 PM
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I'm going to take a different approach and don't salute (at home mind you.) Just make him stay square for at least 20 seconds.. no shifting, no turning no nothing.

Once he does, give him release by walking.

Once he can do this, then work on adding in the salute and then stay standing still until YOU give the cue to walk forward.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-13-2012, 07:03 AM
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My qh tried that on me simply being impatient. I used the leg on that side to drive her hind back to the position standing straight and still (while sitting quiet and relaxed), and when she tried to deviate again the leg was right there to remind her. Could times were enough for her to learn the lesson.

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-13-2012, 07:37 AM
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Pay attention to where you seat bones are positioned when you're in the halt.

Most people have a tendency to leave one seat bone back. To get and keep a square halt, I have to very consciously bring my left seat bone forward and remind myself to keep it there.

I also like Chilaa's suggestion, and tiny's to try saluting with the opposite hand to see if it makes a difference.
You may be inadvertently cuing this behavior by allowing one seat bone to drift back after you're in the halt.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-16-2012, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Seat bones... right... lol. Dressage, there is so much to be aware of.

I'm going to work on the school horse to see if I am misallinged somewhere, I know if I'm square he'll be square, if he does the same as Primo I can work backwards till I find the source.

I'll see what changing hands does and work on not saluting for a bit.

If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question or asked the question wrong

And God took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it and created the horse
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-16-2012, 11:09 PM
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You can also check which side he's more apt to compensate for by riding at the walk with no stirrups and doing shallow serpentines using just your seat bones for the cues to change bend. It'll also show you if you're weighting one side more than the other. Then you can adjust your salute side accordingly.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-20-2012, 04:49 AM
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20 seconds is too long to keep a horse halting for, they loose concentration, and asking for the next movement after that will more than likely be lazy. I'd say keep a halt for 5seconds or so.

How is he halting elsewhere in the school... and do you halt just against the school boards? I see this quite often, where a horse is halted on the first track, and then uses the boards as a 'balancer'- therefore not moving left or right.

Try doing lots of halt work in the centre of the school from different paces. Walk, trot, canter. Most importantly, make it from your seat and not your hands. If you use your hands, then salute with one, he may be saying your leg isn't strong enough.

Ride him in to the halt- but forwards. Don't slow the pace. Then trot on. Keep practising this in the centre of the school, different places and off the first track.

Slowly start to take one hand off. If he moves, put him back in position, and then move off.
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