Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: State College, PA
Just to take what Spyder says and put it in "cowboy-ish" terms. A half halt to the general public can be anything that clues the horse into your seat and legs, or tells them that something is going to happen. It could be a weight shift, taking up a little slack in the reins, even just wiggling your hand if your horse is on the drape. In dressage it is usually as spyder says a whole body thing, but that's not saying a horse going western on the drape can't be half halted. When you're riding your horse and you're getting ready to ask for a canter you generally close your legs a little and pick up on the reins lightly to get them ready and open up the shoulder, then you cue the canter right? That little picking up on the reins and closing of the legs is a form of half halt. A half halt in the barest form is sending energy from the hind end through to the bit and then you determine how much of it is forward energy and then you continue on. So you could be sending a lot of forward energy from the hips to the bit and then holding that energy to get a round, uphill moving horse. Or you could be sending just enough to get them to come under with their hind end and then change gaits. It's all relative and not all half halts are through steady, firm contact. Although most horses, especially those still in training, are going to need some direct contact to be able to come under with their haunches and engage the whole horse without falling forward or rushing.