Half Halt Help Please
:-? I am having some trouble getting my head around the half halt. Can you please explain it so I can use it properly.
Okay, I'll take a stab at it. Let's say your horse trotting around on his forehand all strung out. What a half halt does is create more energy from behind while at the same time containing it up front, resulting in a shorter horse frame, better balance and contained energy. You get the energy from behind by closing your leg to ask for more impulsion. You contain it in the outside rein while maintaining a soft following elbow. That make any sense?
To add on
When you use your leg on the horse to send them forward, there is a surge from their hind legs that you DO want, but you don't necssarily want them to go faster, just have more energy. So you capture that surge in your outside rein by closing your hand on it and then follow with your inside rein as normal.
By closing your hand, you aren't pulling backwards (wrong) or twiddling with the reins.
Two great, clear explanations here. The only thing I would add is that the half-halt doesn't last very long. It only takes a second. It's often invisible to someone watching, but you sure can feel it from the back. You can feel the horse gathering its power underneath you, then when you release the half-halt and give the cue for the next thing, that power goes into whatever you're asking. The first time you do it correctly, it will be very obvious to you (light-bulb moment).
Are we allowed to link to youtube videos that aren't our own? I'll take a chance:
This video helped a friend of mine understand it better.
Sounds like you need to get a consistent forward response from her before working on half halts. If you close your legs around her like you're bear hugging her, she should shoot forward like a tube of toothpaste. The actual half halt is a much more subtle aid, but get the "forward" part down first. Ask her nicely by closing your legs. If she blows you off, pop her behind your leg with your crop to send her forward. Then go back and ask her again nicely with your leg until you're getting a response from her every time. Make sure you're not in her face when you do this exercise. The only goal is forward.
Once you've got the forward down, then you can try half halts. It's worth mentioning the "lazy person's" half halt is a quick trot/walk/trot transition. Do a few dozen of those and gradually decrease the amount of walk steps until you're not quite dropping down to a walk anymore. Each time you do that transition, you should find the reins mysteriously more slack (because her frame has shortened a bit) and you will feel more energy behind you.
She is a 14.2 hand Arab/Welsh 8yr old mare. She has no problem going forward. The going forward part is not the problem I think. I wrap my legs around her and she is off like a shot. I believe it to be me. Now that I have the concept, I will put it into practice.
My goodness that is the truth!
I've never used a full half halt the way it was meant to be used (for collection/transition) as I was only taught the hands and not the use of seat leg. I used it yesterday for the first time WITH leg. HOLY TOLEDO. definitely a light bulb moment!
(just learning how to control a horse's body - this is all new to me - that riding isn't me sitting up there riding around. it's controlling the energy allowing/helping my horse maintain their stride, balance and gait. woo hoo!)
Just wanted to add..think of closing your hand like you're squeezing a sponge. That's how I was taught it.
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