The half-halt is a specific riding aid 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.

What the half-halt’s can be used for:
  1. Before changes of reins.
  2. Before riding figures (serpentines, etc).
  3. Before changes of gaits (transitions).
  4. Balancing your horse.
  5. Helps get your horse listening to you.
half halt aids

Before your horse can learn how to half - halt, he must readily move forwards from your leg aids. If he doest react immediately to these aids, improve his obedience first by riding transitions.

As you ask for the half halt, apply your leg aids, wrapping your legs around your horse (imagine you are sitting on a barrel and trying to pick it up with your legs)

This creates the energy, remember you can use aids of different strengths - if you already have plenty of impulsion, a light aid from your leg will maintain it; if you don't have enough you must use a stronger aid to create more.

 Picture from: www.sustainabledressage.net
Half Halt Tips

1) Its not only you who is learning how to perform a half - halt - your horse is too. Unless he is already well schooled,
don't expect the half-halt to work miracles on the first few occasions that you try it. Ask for only a small difference at first,
keepingyour rein aids soft and rewarding your horse for responding.
2) If you have problems achieving the half-halt with your horse, have a lesson on an experienced horse that is used to
 as this will show you which aidswork and what a half halt should feel like. You will then be in a much better position to ride the movement on your own horse.                                  
1. Your horse will find it easier to learn how to half-halt in trot.
2. If your horse doesn't want to go forwards into a stronger contact he will evade the movement by hollowing his
neck and back, setting his jaw
 against you or swinging his quarters to one side, this may mean that you are using too harsh a
rein aid
or that you are not creating enough impulsion with you legs. It could also indicate that your horse is not ready for the exercise
- improve his transitions
 before you try again.   
3. Tighten your tummy and back muscles and stretch your body upwards, this will help reinforce your rein aids.
Remember you are tightening your muscles, not tensing them - This will lighten your seat.
4. Because the half-halt asks for more contained impulsion, it engages the hind legs. As a result, your horse will
carry more of his weight on his quarters, lightening his forehand and improving his balance - and is so much
more likely to maintain his rhythm.  
For more flatwork exercises to help you improve your riding click here