"One rein stop is cruel/Not for English riders?" - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 52 Old 03-31-2019, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I liked the way this lady explained it. https://www.crktrainingblog.com/bett...alt-explained/
This got me thinking. I do that all the time without putting a name to it. I'm not a sophisticated rider, I just trail ride for pleasure, but one thing I do when I half-halt (now I have a name for it!) is I say "easyyyyyy" and then release when I get the speed I want. Does anyone else do that? I guess that's not what you'd want for showing purposes, but for me, I pretty much always give that verbal cue with it.

I use it if my horse is in a hurry going back home.......rein contact, stiffen my body and "easyyyyy." Then release when she slows to the speed I want. I do something similar if we are going through a ravine or other obstacles and I feel like the horse isn't pay attention to their footing like they should, to hopefully get their attention on where they are placing their feet.

Would it be fair to say that a half-halt is like tapping the breaks? That's how I think of it. Sometimes if I'm in a car with someone else driving and I think they should slow down I think "easyyy."

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post #32 of 52 Old 03-31-2019, 04:00 PM
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"...to re-balance or slightly slow the horse...he starts to slow down and get on his hind end because he's slowing and then you say not to stop...really sitting deep and taking feel of the reins or....slow down, almost stop, nope, walk forward...use before and after transitions..." - from the video linked above

"There is one generic, “over-the-counter” half halt. It consists of the momentary closure of seat, legs, and hands."


"The half-halt is a specific riding aid given by an equestrian to his horse, in which the driving aids and restraining aids are applied in quick succession. It is sometimes thought of as an "almost halt," asking the horse to prepare to halt in balance, before pushing it onward to continue in its gait. The main purpose of the half-halt is to rebalance the horse, asking it to carry its weight slightly more on his hindquarters and less on its forehand." - Wiki

"For me a half-halt rebalances the horse; therefore, any action by the rider that rebalances the horse is a half-halt. This could be as simple as taking a deep breath if your horse responds. Another way to look at a half-halt is that it is half of a halt. You don’t want the horse to stop, but you want him to act as if he might stop so that he can get his hindquarters underneath him and reorganize his balance."


As I said, I have never ridden a horse trained to do a half-halt. Although if ANY action that helps the horse to regain balance is a half-halt, then I do. But that definition is so broad that it can cover leaning forward, and thus to me becomes meaningless. I specified an English half-halt because English riding tends to have more defined terms.

From the last link: "When ridden correctly half-halts prepare the horse for an action: stopping, going, turning, jumping a transition within the gait or simply to listen a little more carefully to what is going to happen next. I think of it as the “and” in the sentence, “and walk, and trot, and canter” etc. It lets the horse know something is going to happen, to prepare for that action and prepare to perform the action that is going to be requested."

I never do these. I do not ride where I need my horse to do a specific transition at an exact point in space. For example, on my last ride, our trot to canter transitions went thus: We trotted briskly with me in two point. I sat down without asking him to slow. Bandit has learned by experience that this means I'm about to ask for a canter and he sees no reason to wait, so I sat and he transitioned to a canter. Our walk-canter transitions consisted of my leaning forward and kissing loudly, sometimes with a little squeeze or a "Come on!" But if he needs an extra stride at the slower gait to make it work, that is his business. Not mine.

We spend a lot of time threading our way between cactus. If I spot one I think he missed, I need a turn ASAP and I just ask for one. I don't have the reason or the time to say, "We are about to change directions. Rebalance, ready, set, GO!"

From the last link: "When we fail to give the horse a signal that something is going to happen we surprise him and create tension and stiffness."

Not in any horse I've ever ridden. Tension, in my experience, comes from expecting instant obedience from a horse when the horse sees no reason for it. The ranch horses I've ridden are the same way. When you need a canter, ask. When the horse can give it, he will. And since the ground is rarely level and rarely smooth, they are expected to deal with their own balance. My job is to stay out of their way.

That approach is certainly not universal in western riding. But a little jiggle of the reins on a nervous horse to say, "Hey, I'm here, we'll deal with this as a team!" is not really a "half-halt". Neither is taking a deep breath, or sitting up straight or leaning forward. If the horse is rushing somewhere, I tell them, "No, wrong answer, try again" - which is not a half-halt.

If you apply a quick succession of "Driving aids" and "restraining aids" on my of my horses, they'll get upset and expect you to decide WHICH one you want. If you did both at the same time, they'd think you were stupid. They simply are not trained to do a half-halt.
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Last edited by bsms; 03-31-2019 at 04:05 PM.
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post #33 of 52 Old 03-31-2019, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post

If you apply a quick succession of "Driving aids" and "restraining aids" on my of my horses, they'll get upset and expect you to decide WHICH one you want. If you did both at the same time, they'd think you were stupid. Mine too, lol! They simply are not trained to do a half-halt.

I missed the part about "driving aids" having anything to do with it. That sounds more like a momentary "collection." I don't do that either.......collect a horse before asking for a different gait.

But to simply tap the brakes before letting them go again, to temporarily gather them up if they are strung out or wanting to go faster than you would like, I definitely do that. And that's what I thought the girl in the video was saying. Anyway, I can just call it tapping the brakes.
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post #34 of 52 Old 03-31-2019, 04:27 PM
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I've "tapped the brakes" often enough, @trailhorserider . Beats trying to ride the brakes...which I've done too!
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post #35 of 52 Old 03-31-2019, 06:07 PM
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There are way too many new names appearing on the scene for me to want to encourage any more!
Its pointless telling someone to do a 1 rein stop if they don't know what it means, how to train a horse to respond correctly or when its safe to do it.
My DH has never got into any of the western terminologies because he's had no real contact at all with any western riders since we've been here. Our mare K can get very stressed about certain things (not spooky) and if you can't defuse her quickly she would panic bolt. If I told him to do a 1 rein stop he'd look at me like I was talking Chinese, if I told him to 'bring her head around' he'd know exactly what to do
If you went back a few years you'd never hear the 'half halt' because riders who were working horses that needed to be 'gathered and balanced' would have been taught how to use the cues without needing a name for it

Same applies to 'crest release', if I asked any of my UK friends who jump their horses what that was I'd say that over 90% of them wouldn't know what it meant. The 10% that would are people who frequent US forums.

I would never call a 'half halt' tapping the brakes - that would result in the horse losing forward impulsion. You don't want that to happen.
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post #36 of 52 Old 03-31-2019, 06:19 PM
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I think of half halts as separate from slowing down. It's more of a gathering up. "Tapping the brakes" is something I do from a loose rein on a trail.

Half halts feel more like containing the horse more between my seat and my wrists. As it was explained to me, it should happen mainly by tightening your core, and your forearm muscles and sitting deeper. At least, my horse seems to understand me best when I focus on those. With half halts I don't usually want her to go slower I just want her to get off her forehand because we're going to be doing something different. Does that make sense?
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post #37 of 52 Old 03-31-2019, 11:42 PM
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Please tell your friend not to jump off or bail if she gets bolted with. I know someone who bailed instead of trying to stay on. She broke her ribs. I had to drive her to the hospital. Do not bail unless your horse is headed for a cliff or highway.

As for the one rein stop, I'm a huge fan. My paso knew nothing when I got him other than abuse. He was super explosive under saddle. We started in the round pen and circled him down. Half halts or pulling back on the reins didn't work. He would pull right back and blow right through them. Your options for stopping were to aim at the fence- that worked until he started pivoting, nearly taking my leg off on the fence.

We circled down. That was the only way to get him to stop safely. Circle, circle, circle, circle...and stop eventually. Even slowing to a walk was progress.

Now that he is farther in his training, you can either half halt and release, or use your seat to slow him. Sometimes he still ignores the aids but he is doing so much better. We are just starting to do canter-whoa transitions on the trail.

I feel confident riding him. I do not worry about run aways because we have communication, and tools for stopping that.

Back when I was a child, with my spook and bolt thoroughbred- I sure wish I knew about one rein stops! She could bolt a quarter mile before you could stop her.
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post #38 of 52 Old 04-01-2019, 12:14 AM
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So what you guys are saying is that half-halts are more like momentary collection?

I have never had the urge to bail off a horse, even a spooking one. Because I hate hitting the ground! It almost always hurts and sometimes results in injury. So I never understood why someone would bail on purpose. Isn't that what makes bolting so scary, is that you might fall off and get hurt? So why do that on purpose. I usually hang on for dear life. Last time I came off I hurt my shoulder from trying to stay ON. Maybe in hindsight I should have let go quicker.
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post #39 of 52 Old 04-01-2019, 12:28 AM
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have not read all the responses. Sorry. some good stuff.

Really, a horse does not recognize a ORS as something unique. The horse is trained to recognize meaningful contact on EACH rein, independently. So, to the horse, it is just MORE of that meaningful contact.

The whole cultural difference , I think, is that this use of the ORS is a branch of using independent reins, ALL THE TIME. This is a real focus on building real meaning into any rein contact. And, for that to work, there has to be periods of time when there is NO CONTACT , NONE AT ALL, from any given rein.

It's more of a 'rein on . . . . . . rein off' kind of communications.

Whereas, the English hunting tradition has both reins 'on' in some sort of manner, all the time. One rein may be more active than the other, but there is no time time when both reins are not 'there, supporting the hrose' .

The horse learns to go forward, and jump , and run hell bent for leather, over the countryside, with a constant (and supporting) contact on both sides. it might vary a bit, but the horse learns to push INTO the contact, rather than back off of it. It means that horses expect there to be some 'pull' on the reins, and they might ignore it for quite some time. Teaching the ORS is also about teaching a hore that each rein, used independently, MEANS SOMETHING, and to not ignore it and just carry on.
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post #40 of 52 Old 04-01-2019, 02:23 AM
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ORS is used by English riders here in Australia. It's an awful lot of people's go-to for any and all misbehaviour.

I only use it to shut down rearing, IF I CAN USE IT FAST ENOUGH. Once the front feet are off the ground you're too late.

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