What's a Half Halt?
This is pathetic since I've been around horses ever since I can remember, :oops: but what's a half halt? My trainer doesn't teach them, or at least she's never mentioned it! I've read they can be helpful for getting a horse lighter on the forehand, and I've got a pony who could use some work on that.
What's a half halt and how do you do one?
It's a dressage term, so maybe that accounts for why you have not heard it before.
I think it means that you ask the horse to make some shifts in it's way of carrying itself, as if he were being asked to halt, but you do not halt the horse. instead, you take the hrose, who has rebalanced himself ever so slightly as if about to halt, and you ask for a change of some kind, such as go faster, come down a gait, step under more, bend more.
So, it' used as a way to keep the horse ready and responsive to the next cue the rider will give.
I will let others explain how it' done.
Without getting fully detailed in it and how to do it, it's sitting the horse down on their hind end and getting them to power back up through their hind end. It's used to help rebalance the horse and get them lighter on the forehand.
I took a few clinic lessons this summer with a great gold medalist trainer from Cali and he explained in such a way while I was riding that when we worked on it together on a 15 meter circle it made the biggest difference in how my horse was going, wasn't so wiggly under me and was more consistent in our trot rythem.
I'm sure someone will be able to explain all the parts to the half halt to you much better, I am hoping to find a video from my last clinic lesson that shows just that!
Yes, ^^^^ as the above poster mentioned and as Sally Swift wrote in 'Centered Riding' , a half halt rebalances the horse. And then there is about 100 more pages of infinite detail that could be written about it (books have been written just about half halts) and another 100 pages of opinion on it...LOL!:D
My former trainer used to say that a half halt acts somewhat like an orange light. It prepares the horse for lead, direction changes, manoevers, is the step before the full halt.
To me, it has always been like saying: "Pay attention, something is happening!" I always make sure my horses respect half halts and consistent use makes them more responsive and loosens them up like mentioned before.
The actual "act" is squeezing the rein with your fingers as if it was a wet sponge, leightly though, no pulling and preferrably on the side that stuff will be going on. And not as much squeezing as if it was a full halt. Practise =) It's hard to explain how it feels.
Have a read through this thread if you're really keen to learn about half halts.
They are not as simple as tugging on the reins to slow the horse down, then kicking them forward again ;)
Easiest way to explain it - it is used mainly in english riding. You get your horse going along at a good pace in walk then you 'ask' him to stop i.e. squeeze slightly on the reins and pull in your abdominal muscles towards your spine (horse feels this through your seat and he will start to move his body into a halt) but half way through the move 'you change your mind' and ask him to keep going instead. It takes a bit of practice. ONLY USE A HALF HALT IN WALK otherwise you could end up with problems.
A half halt can be used in any pace, not just in a walk. It is not done by closing the hand then kicking the horse on. If you read the thread that was posted, it becomes much clearer how intricate it really is.
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