The mysterious half halt...
So my lease owner has been teaching me how to half halt and collect Titan, and get him using his butt. Last wednesday we got to do that, and it felt SO COOL. Anyway. This was the first time that I have really learned the "correct?" way of doing a half halt. Because I've always imagined/told to do it a different way.
Lease owner says, if you are say going in a circle counter clockwise, you give a little bit more reign contact on the outside reign and press into the horse with the opposite leg, and drive with your seat.
My instructor, says when doing half halts, you do two quick successive "taps" or so backwards on the horse's mouth, while engaging your seat/core.
On the ground, if we're jogging in hand, I do two quick successive taps on the lead line before cuing for a halt. I have had success with this method on the ground with my ground cuing, but not my instructor's with truly collecting a horse under saddle... But when I explained my LO's method, he said that that was better suited for collection in mind, rather than alerting the horse that something new was happening, which is when he tells us to use his half halt.
So... I'm confused.
The thing about half halts before transitions, is that they're to do both, get the horse on his hocks, and alert him to a change. A half halt isn't just a quick tug in the mouth. It's your body, weight, posture, and hand all telling the horse for a brief moment "put yourself together" or "sit on your hind". You do this before a transition because you want the horse to hold himself through the transition; no falling on the forehand, balance on your hand, or hollowing out. Similarly when asking for something like a leg yield, you would half halt so he steps under himself with him hind end, using his whole body and not just running through his shoulder.
So while a half halt does alter the horse something is about to happen, it's really just setting him up to do it properly and together.
You're riding with something that has a manual transition, the half halt is your clutch.
Right. I understand that, I was wondering if perhaps there were two versions of it? Or if perhaps my instructor was taught differently
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The LO owner's method is a cue to the horse to get back on the bit and shift the weight back, your instructor's method kind of sounds the same but with with two tugs backwards. Neither is how I do a half halt but I am not your instructor or the owner of the horse.
I notice a lot of people learn a lot of different ways to do a half halt, but generally the result tends to be about the same in the end.
I like that analogy of the clutch... there's a lot of truth to that.
A true HH does not involve any backwards pulling of the reins.
The legs drive forward, the back and seat resist and the contact and connection strengthen as the horse shifts weight back and activates the hindlegs. Often times simply changing the position of the rider in the tack is the only HH that is needed. Ie that most riders are too far tipped forward with a sunken core and using the reins to pull the horse. Sitting up and back pressing your stomach out, your chest up and then using your back to restrict the motion, while your legs ask for more impulsion is a true HH.
In teaching the HH sometimes a stronger aid is needed, or some horses are more responsive to the demi arret. DA is simply raising the hands, one or either, still with no backwards motion. I am not a fan of using this one so often as it back the horse off of the contact, and use it more as a correction.
To aid in a correct HH it can also be helpful to tap the horse on the croup very lightly to encourage an increase in the bend of the hindlegs.
Here is an example of a HH before a transition on a young 4 year old horse learning about the aids. Notice it is only a slight rebalancing - and that the connection and contact becomes stronger before the transition. There is no backwards motion of the hands or "taps" on the mouth (put a metal bit in your mouth and then "tap" with the reins - OUCH!).
Chocolat June 25, 2010 - YouTube
Here on an advanced horse beginning the 2 tempis there are very exaggerated half halts with the body and the stride is very visibly shorter to keep the horse under the riders thumb.
Rowan FEI Intermediare I April 15, 2012 - YouTube
And months later able to be ridden more forward, with invisible half halts (yes there is a mistake - that is a missed HH).
Rowan FEI Intermediare I CDI2* June 30, 2012 - YouTube
Thanks for that Anebel.. Is see I still have much to learn. I was doing the back and seat aids.. but didn't know about puffing the tummy out nor that I shouldn't use rein aids like sponging the rein, etc.
The contact is still always active in conversation - however it is not as a part of a half halt. Half halt and suppling/contact are two separate things.
Think more about the birds in your hands and keeping the contact active, not so much sponging as a hh.
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