Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
You need to learn how to ask your horse for a half-halt. The first time you perform a half-halt, you must learn to do it by walking, then half-halt, then full halt. A half-halt is like touching the brakes of your car. As you walk you follow the horse's head (direct reining), or neck reining, be choked up enough to halt without putting you elbow behind your back. You see, every movement is a forward movement to the horse, so you cue forward to slow down. First, you must correctly halt your horse. Here's how to do it:
You push the horse forward from a halt into a walk with your legs, you follow with your body (relaxed) and you cue with your legs if your horse slows. To effectively halt, you push the horse forward with your legs, but you STOP following with your body (lean back a bit) and you STOP following with your reins. The horse stops, then you release (sit up straight, stop pushing with your legs, stop the pull on the reins.) Sit at the halt so your horse is clear about your aids.
Now try a half-halt. Here's how to do it:
You move forward at the walk. You stop following the head and stop following with your body for just a moment, but then cue foward with your legs and give with the reins to move the horse out. It's certainly okay if your horse thinks you want to stop. It will keep him on his toes when you surprise him and ask to keep going.
You MUST master this at the walk before you apply it to the trot, or try to collect your horse with it. Certainly you do not try it the first time in a downward transition. Once you learn to do this you'll find yourself half-halting quite a bit. Your horse will listen to your body much more when schooled with a half-halt. You won't need to worry about slamming him in the mouth to stop or slow down bc he'll soften more to the bit, since you won't be braking hard to stop him. Hope this helps you. If you need a visual PM me and I'll search for a good utube video to watch. =D