i know its such a simple thing to learn but i get a little confused on how to do it, and unless im 100% sure i try to avoid it- however it would massively help improve my riding if i was able to do it properly:)
could someone explain what the excact aids are ??:-P
A half halt is a way to slow your horse down without pulling on both reins. It is generally used with your outside rein because your inside rein is used as a balancing aid while in a turn.
So all you do is use a gentle tug on the rein. The movement of your hand depends on the amount of pressure you already have in your horses mouth, along with the length of your reins. For example if your rein is longer and you have a very light feel in your horses mouth, then generally you will have to move your entire hand, elbow, and shoulder together slightly back. Just slightly, and after you feel the increase of pressure in your hand, you release. If you keep your rein shorter and have a steady and constant pressure on your horse's mouth then all you really need to do is close your fingers even tighter or close just your ring finger even tighter until you feel the slight increase in pressure and then release it again.
The general rule that I follow when using a half halt at the posting trot is to half halt with my outside rein whenever I sit. This way my leg is a little bit stronger to keep my horse trotting, but my seat is a reinforcement to the half halt.
At the canter, the goal is to use the half halt every time the horse's mane raises up. If you just glance down you will see the end of your horse's mane flip up once through every stride that they complete. The reason you want to half halt at this point where the mane raises is because at the second, both of their front feet are off the ground so the half halt is much more effective to slow them down and correct their balance.
Hope this helps.
In addition to what JumperGurl said, I thought I'd add that a half halt can also come from the other aids too. It can be (in addition to the rein aids) a tightening of your core muscles, bringing your shoulders up, or squeezing with your thighs.
thanks guys! alot clearer now:)
You also need to *teach* your horse what a half halt is. They aren't born knowing it so your horse may not respond when you give it a half halt.
You can start teaching yourself (and your horse) half halts by doing lots of transitions from trot to walk. Let your horse tort for six strides and then ask it to walk, walk four strides then trot, repeat until your horse is walking readily. Then only allow it to walk for three strides, repeat until the horse is responding well to the trot to walk and the walk to trot, then shorten it to two strides, then one, then once things are going well with that you can begin to ask the horse to walk, but don't actually let it walk, when he starts to slow ask him to trot again. That is the beginning of a half halt. When you close your legs and still your movement to ask for a decrease in speed you can do it to a lesser degree to ask the horse to rebalance and collect himself a bit.
I would work on thinking that you're going to ask for a walk but not actually asking the horse to walk as well as sometimes asking him to walk so that he begins to tell the difference between asking for a downward transition or just an almost downward transition. Then you can work on it from the trot to the halt and the halt to the trot once you have it going well at the walk-trot transitions.
when i half halt, i generally dont pull back on the reins.
i keep my hands in one spot but dont pull back [to keep a consistent length of rein and neck.] i close my thighs, then add my calf to keep the horse moving forward. if they try to ignore the half halt and run through it, i ask harder. if they still arent listening i do a down transition to halt.
if they dont understand what it means when i close my thigh, i will use it harder and harder until they come to a halt, then i will immediately take my thigh off, but not give with the reins.
A half halt can help collect/carry themselves, balance, or adjust pace without changing gait. If it is a balancing issue, I like to give a closing/tug of my fingers on my outside rein & hold my hand and elbow. If it is teaching them to carry themselves or adjust pace, then close your fingers & hold your hands on both reins for one stride/step and then release, all while keeping your leg closed. I usually follow for 3-4 steps and then half halt. I also agree with what StephanieMills said above, about having to teach your horse how to half halt. Good luck & happy rides! (:
My sister has been taking dressage lessons for years and she hasn't learned the importance and how to tell which foot is off the ground when.
I do half halts by pushing more weight into my stirrups and tightening my back/core muscles slightly. My horse is still in the process of learning them, so if necessary I'll put a bit more pressure on the outside rein.
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